Beth Potter from Britain had a remarkable start to her new season as she won the World Triathlon Championship Series Abu Dhabi on Friday afternoon. It was her first-ever gold at the highest level of the competition.
After a great swim, Potter rode in a six-deep break on the bike along with her teammate Sophie Coldwell. They both pulled clear of their rivals over the 5km finale. Potter made her decisive move on the last climb of the run, and Coldwell finished with silver ahead of USA’s Taylor Spivey.
The Big Picture: Sophie Coldwell had a magnificent swim that set the 2023 season on its way, not even a 10-second penalty for a false start stopping her joining Potter, American duo Summer Rappaport and Taylor Spivey, Lena Meissner (GER) and Luisa Baptista (BRA) in a six-deep breakaway.
It was a surprise not to see number one Georgia Taylor-Brown with them as she was out of the water 30 seconds back, and the returning Katie Zaferes was 40 seconds off the leaders. That left the two former world champions battling to organise a huge chase pack that merged over the first two laps.
What They Are Saying “It’s always a bit of an unknown the first race of the season, but I’ve been training well, and Johnny (Brownlee) texted me last night and said ‘you’re gonna win’ and I couldn’t believe it!” said a thrilled Potter. “I just wanted to do my best having worked not just on the physical side but also the mental. I feel much more calm, positive, and aggressive racing. I knew I could potentially attack and run hard over the top of the hill, so it was back to my cross country days there!”.
“To be honest, I wasn’t even planning on racing here, so to come second was amazing, I’m lost for words,” said Coldwell. “I was just too keen to get the season started! As soon as I dived in, I thought I’d gone early, so just wanted to keep my head down and relax. It was a really strong group on the bike. I didn’t really think it was a breakaway course so I was surprised we managed to get it going and surprised the gap went out to nearly 50 seconds but I can’t complain - I love a breakaway!”
Aussie Athletes: No Aussies finsihed in the top 10, with Emma Jackson being the best-placed athlete in 14th position, finishing two minutes and 14 seconds behind the winner. Jaz Hedgeland and Ashleigh Gentle finished in 15th and 16th position, respectively.
The Bottom Line: Beth Potter’s impressive win at the World Triathlon Championship Series Abu Dhabi shows that she is a force to be reckoned with this season. With the mental and physical preparation she has put in, her performance was nothing short of spectacular.