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Australian wins World Triathlon women’s elite race in Edmonton

Emma Jackson of Australia crosses the finish line for the win during the Elite Women's event at the ITU World Triathlon Series in Edmonton on Saturday, July 20, 2019.
Emma Jackson of Australia crosses the finish line for the win during the Elite Women's event at the ITU World Triathlon Series in Edmonton on Saturday, July 20, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Australia’s Emma Jackson came from behind to outduel American Summer Rappaport on the final lap to win the women’s elite event at the ITU World Triathlon Series Saturday.

Jackson recorded a time of one hour, one minute and 23 seconds on the sprint course through Edmonton’s river valley, two seconds up on Rappaport.

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It was the first WTS win for Jackson, who has been dealing with nagging injuries for the last two years to her right foot and left quad.

“It’s been a bit all over the place, but to come back and win my first WTS is definitely amazing,” said Jackson.

“It’s been about three years since I’ve really raced properly.

“There were definitely moments when you think it’s over and [you say to yourself] ‘Why am I doing this?’ But then you get moments like this where it’s all worth it.”

Jackson, 27, said she was behind after the swim portion, but then found her legs on the bike before breaking the tape in the run.

“My swim was definitely bad,” she said.

“It was probably the worst part of the race, but luckily I could just get on the bike and get on a good group of girls who worked hard to catch back up.”

Australian Ashleigh Gentle took bronze, four seconds back, and Belgium’s Claire Michel was fourth, 15 seconds off the pace.

Rappaport, who won gold in Edmonton in 2016, led out of the water, stayed with the lead pack in the cycling portion then duelled Jackson and Gentle for the lead on all three laps of the final run.

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“I was trying to push the pace the whole run to try to see if we could get it down to as few people as possible (in the lead pack)… but Emma got the better of me,” said Rappaport.

It’s the third WTS podium for Rappaport, 27, this season. She won silver in Yokohama and bronze in Hamburg.

American Taylor Spivey, fourth ranked in the WTS series heading to Edmonton, stayed among the leaders after the swim and cycling portions, but fell off in the run to finish fifth, 24 seconds off the pace.

Canadian Amelie Kretz of Blainville, Que. was 38th among the 41 competitors.

The sprint race was a 750-metre swim, a 22-km bike race followed by a 5-km run under sunny skies.

Rappaport and Spivey were the only top-10 ranked WTS triathletes to compete.

The rest, including series leader Katie Zaferes and Canada’s Joanna Brown, took the race off to prepare for next month’s ITU Olympic test event in Tokyo followed by the WTS Grand Final in Lausanne.