Australian Emma Jackson took advantage of the absence of the top-ranked contenders to register her first triumph in the World Triathlon Series.
The 27-year-old, who hadn’t been on a WTS podium since 2014, out-sprinted the USA’s Summer Rappaport with fellow Aussie Ashleigh Gentle in third.
Scotland’s Beth Potter, the reigning European champion, who was making her first World Series start, ran through the field to finish 13th, with fellow Brit Sophie Coldwell in 15th.
Edmonton in Canada played host to the penultimate WTS event of the eight-race season, with only the Grand Final in Lausanne still to come.
With the series darting from Montreal to Hamburg and then back to North America in recent weeks, and with triathletes prioritising the Tokyo test event next month, there was a reduced field of 42 women starting, with the top three-ranked triathletes, Katie Zafares, Jessica Learmonth and Georgia Taylor-Brown all absent.
Also missing was last year’s Edmonton winner and reigning world champion Vicky Holland, who after dealing with a troublesome Achilles injury was hit with a stomach bug.
Spain’s Sara Perez Sala was closely followed by Coldwell and Rappaport for the early stages of the non-wetsuit 750m lake swim, before the American took charge to lead out of the water and run up into T1.
Rappaport and Coldwell were slickest through transition and were joined by Taylor Spivey – the highest ranked athlete in the field – to open a 16sec gap on the field by the end of the first of five bike laps.
However, by the time they swept back through Hawrelak Park for the end of lap two they’d been hauled back to form a lead group of 19 triathletes, with Potter in the chasing group, 33sec adrift.
In a largely uneventful 22km bike leg, it was a surprise was to see World Under-23 champion Taylor Knibb, fourth in Abu Dhabi and fifth in Montreal and a renowned cyclist in triathlon, slip off the pace.
Knowing she was unlikely to contend on the run, Coldwell remained the main aggressor on the bike and was first to dismount ahead of T2, but it was Australian Jaz Hedgeland who struck out first on the 5km run.
Rappaport then pushed through to the front, before Gentle eased alongside with Belgian Clare Michel and Jackson also in close attendance.
It came down to a battle between the four in the final mile and although Jackson looked to be flagging at times, she held strong enough to take the tape.
It was also another success for the Joel Filliol trained group of athletes, adding to Non Stanford and Jake Birtwhistle’s wins in Hamburg in the previous round of WTS racing.
“It’s quite emotional wining my first WTS,” Jackson said. “I had good run in Montreal and Hamburg but had been in the chasing [bike] pack and hadn’t been able to show what I’m capable off. To be here today and actually win is quite unbelievable.”
With five races plus the Grand Final counting, Zafares – who narrowly missed out to Holland last year – will be assured of winning the world title provided she finishes no lower than 12th.