Bahrain Endurance 13 athletes raced on two continents last weekend, with wins in both individual and team events.
WTCS Montreal featured a gruelling two-day Eliminator format through which Taylor-Brown and teammates Cassandre Beaugrand, Vincent Luis, and Tyler Mislawchuk progressed into the final. The qualifier races had been converted into duathlon format due to heavy rain, but the finals were back to swim-bike-run amid rising temperatures.
Through three stages of super-sprint triathlon (300-metre swim, 7.2-kilometre bike, 2-kilometre run) where the last 10 finishers of each stage were eliminated Taylor-Brown and Beaugrand stayed out in front, their Super League Triathlon racing experience in the same format holding them in good stead. In the final stage, the two along with Beth Potter engineered a breakaway on the bike to gain 17 seconds on the field and secure the podium. Taylor-Brown had the best legs of them all leaving no question who would win, while Beaugrand held strong in second.
“It was about staying safe for the first two (stages) and emptying the tank on the final leg,” said Taylor-Brown.”I seemed to get into it as the race went on. My swimming definitely got better or everyone got slower and I stayed the same. We only had a small gap going on the bike and I tried to just motivate the girls… and if we concentrate, it can work and it worked for us today.”
Luis finished sixth among the men, holding strong all the way into the final stage. Mislawchuk withdrew after the first stage, still feeling the effects of his sprint silver finish at the Huatulco World Cup last week as well as a bike crash leading into the weekend’s events.
In the Mixed Relay World Championship the following day, Luis and Beaugrand played a major role for the French retaining their world title as the final two members in the relay.
Luis said, “I was pretty confident that I would get the relay in a good position… After the swim I had a little gap, so I took my chance and tried to leave as much gap for Cassandre and then she just finished the job. It’s another title and a completely different team each time we win. It’s proving that France has a lot of resources and I am really happy to share the podium with these guys. We have a new generation coming and I am looking forward to the relay in Paris (2024).”
Beaugrand added, “They did all the work so I just had to finish it and it was easier because of them – but not very easy because we all had a busy weekend so I just gave it everything I had.”
Taylor-Brown anchored Team Great Britain’s silver medal performance, securing the first qualification spot available for the Paris Olympic Games (as France being the host country are automatically qualified). Mislawchuk kicked off Team Canada’s efforts, with their collective effort clinching fourth place.
Meanwhile, Joe Skipper returned to racing at Ironman France in Nice, three weeks after his heroic sub-7 hour full distance finish in Germany. He made a valiant effort to start the race and completed both the 3.8-kilometre swim and 180-kilometre bike before withdrawing after the fifth kilometre of the marathon.