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Home / News / GB’s Beth Potter crowned 2023 World Triathlon champion

GB’s Beth Potter crowned 2023 World Triathlon champion

Potter wins the Grand Final ahead of teammate Kate Waugh, who collects her first WTCS medal; Cassandre Beaugrand finishes third in the race and runner-up in the series

GB triathlete Beth Potter winning the World Triathlon Grand Final in Pontevedra, Spain, 2023

Great Britain has a new World Triathlon champion. Scotland’s Beth Potter pulled out a near perfect performance in the 2023 Grand Final in Pontevedra, Spain, to claim her first world title.

The victory was the first series-long championship win for Team GB since Vicky Holland in 2018 (Georgia Taylor-Brown won a one-off race title in 2020).

GB’s Kate Waugh had an outstanding race to take silver, her first World Triathlon medal, while pre-race series leader Cassandre Beaugrand of France ran in for bronze.

The result meant Potter – No.2 before the Grand Final – became world champion, Beaugrand finished runner-up and France’s Emma Lombardi took third in the 2023 Series.

Here’s how the race panned out…

What happened in the swim?

Italy’s Bianca Seregni led the group of 59 women out of the water after the first lap in 9:28mins. Just behind was GB’s Olivia Mathias, USA’s Summer Rappaport in third, GB’s Sophie Coldwell in fifth, Taylor Spivey (USA) eighth, Beaugrand ninth, Potter 10th, Lombardi 11th, Gwen Jorgensen 22nd (21secs back) and Katie Zaferes 23secs in arrears.

There was also a race within a race taking place as Team USA was chasing the final two Olympic slots; 70.3 world champion Taylor Knibb – not racing in Pontevedra – having taken the first one at the Paris Test Event. Spivey, Rappaport, Jorgensen, Kirsten Kasper and Zaferes were now all vying to finish as high as possible in the top eight to meet the US criteria.

By the end of the 1.5km swim, it was Mathias into T1 first, bringing Seregni, Maya Kingma (NED), Coldwell, Rappaport, Vittoria Lopes (BRA), Minori Ikeno (JPN), Spivey and Beaugrand.

Potter was 16secs off the pace, alongside Waugh, while Jorgensen lost more time on the second lap to leave the water 32secs back.

What happened on the bike?

An early group of six – Coldwell, Mathias, Lopes, Kingma, Beaugrand and Sophie Linn (AUS) – formed at the front for the eight-lap 40k, but within the same lap the next chasing packs had merged to make 15, meaning Potter, Waugh, Lombardi, Spivey and Laura Lindemann (GER) were all together.

Nearly 30secs back came the one and only chase group, into which Rappaport had dropped after a poor transition.

At the start of lap three, the gap had stretched by 10secs.

Rapapport was the first big name to clock a DNF, the fifth-place athlete in the standings pre-race succumbing to a mechanical.

Two of the strongest runners Potter and Beaugrand played it smart over the 40k, rarely putting in a stint at the front, instead conserving precious leg speed for the final 10km run.

Halfway through and the gap to the chasers had edged up ever so slightly, at 45secs, but another lap in and the deficit was down to 37secs. Soon after, Jorgensen was seen limping off the back of the chase group, a suspected puncture derailing her Olympic ambitions.

The third chase group of 13 – which housed France’s Léonie Périault – was still hanging on, 2:21mins down, while the fourth and final group of seven were ticking on over 3mins behind the leaders.

By the start of the bell lap the gap was down to 25secs, but with Jorgensen swiftly dropping back through the groups there was no one else who could realistically challenge the top contenders on the 10k.

What happened on the run?

Mathias, Coldwell and Waugh made for an arresting sight, the Brit trio running into the T2 side by side.

But Lombardi was the first to strike out, as Potter and Beaugrand joined her at the front alongside a terrifically strong looking Waugh.

Potter soon edged ahead, the technical course playing to her strengths, but Waugh kept her honest as the GB pair played pacers for the French pair of Lombardi and Beaugrand. But the latter was soon seen dropping down to fourth, losing 6secs to the leading trio by the start of lap two.

Beaugrand was now settled in another trio alongside Coldwell and Jeanne Lehair (LUX).

5km in and the top three were unchanged, but Lehair had fallen back, leaving Coldwell and Beaugrand fighting for fourth 13secs behind.

Lap three and Lombardi was dropped by the two the brilliant Brits; Beaugrand a further 8secs behind; Coldwell another nine.

Potter kicked towards the end of lap three to start the bell lap with a gap of 5secs over Waugh. Lombardi was 23secs adrift, Beaugrand just 2secs behind her, while Coldwell now was in eighth.

Beaugrand was soon in third place, but in of no danger to Potter, who by now was racing solo upfront, Waugh unable to stay with her more experienced teammate.

Who won the 2023 World Triathon women’s title?

Potter cruised across the line with a cushion of 18secs over Waugh, who collected her first-ever WTCS medal. Beaugrand followed in for third, securing the runner-up spot in the series.

Germany’s Lisa Tertsch took fourth despite taking a 15sec penalty in the final moments of the 10k, Rachel Klamer (NED) ran in for fifth, Lombardi sixth, Coldwell seventh.

The win secured not only the world title for Potter but also her first Olympic triathlon spot, for Paris 2024, while Lombardi, in only her second season of racing elite, remained in third.

“It’s just been a dream season, I’m lost for words to be honest,” said Potter at the line. “I just believed in all my training and trusted my abilities today. I’m also really happy to see Kate get her first World Series medal.

After pausing to contain her emotions, last year’s U23 world champion Waugh said: “I like to think it’s been a long time coming, my confidence’s just been increasing over the season, I’m just speechless. It’s all happened so quickly, the best year of my career.

Asked about her Paris ambitions: “I’m not going to give up the dream [of qualifying for Paris] until it’s over.”

2023 World Triathlon Grand Final women’s results – top 10

1. Beth Potter, GBR 1:53:19

2. Kate Waugh, GBR 1:53:37

3. Cassandre Beaugrand, FRA 1:53:50

4. Lisa Tertsch, GER 1:54:01

5. Rachel Klamer, NED 1:54:08

6. Emma Lombardi, FRA 1:54:09

7. Sophie Coldwell, GBR 1:54:12

8. Julie Derron, SUI 1:54:14

9. Noelia Juan, ESP 1:54:31

10. Alice Betto, ITA 1:54:35

16. Taylor Spivey, USA

19. Katie Zaferes, USA

28. Laura Lindemann, GER

32. Olivia Mathias, GBR

43. Gwen Jorgensen, USA

2023 World Triathlon Championship Series Women’s Final Standings 

1. Beth Potter, GBR

2. Cassandre Beaugrand, FRA

3. Emma Lombardi, FRA

4. Taylor Spivey, USA

5. Sophie Coldwell, GBR

6. Kate Waugh, GBR

7. Lisa Tertsch, GER

8. Jeanne Lehair, LUX

9. Nina Eim, GER

10. Rosa Maria Tapia Vidal, MEX

Profile image of Liz Barrett Liz Barrett 220 Deputy Editor

About

220 deputy editor Liz Barrett started work on the magazine in 2007 as staff writer. Since then, she’s reported live from almost every major triathlon across the globe, including the Ironman World Championships, 70.3 Worlds, six ITU Worlds, Challenge Roth, the 2014 and 2022 Commonwealths, the London Olympics and the Rio Paralympics, to name but a few. Name a pro and chances are she’ll have interviewed them, so, unsurprisingly, she’s our go-to pro-athlete expert on the team. When not covering races, you’ll find her whipping words into finely-crafted shape for both the magazine and website.