MONTREAL -- Jelle Geens of Belgium broke away from Canadian Tyler Mislawchuk on the final stretch to win the men's ITU World Series triathlon on Saturday under torrential rain and thunder in Montreal.

Mario Mola of Spain finished second while Mislawchuk, from Winnipeg, was third, just five seconds behind Geens.

Geens finished the 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre cycle and five-kilometre run in 53 minutes 49 seconds. Mola, the defending champion in Montreal, was two seconds behind him.

Twenty-nine triathletes were bunched together at the end of the cycling portion of the event, with 10 of those breaking away on the final lap of the run before Geens, Mola and Mislawchuk took the definitive lead as rain began coming down.

The three other Canadians in the race finished well off the leaders.

Montreal's Alexis Lepage was 36th, just ahead of Victoria's Matthew Sharpe in 37th. Michael Lori of of Tecumseh, Ont., finished 44th.

Earlier on Saturday, American Katie Zaferes narrowly edged out Britain's Georgia Taylor-Brown to win the women's triathlon in 58:15 for her fourth victory of the season.

It all came down to the final stretch in the run as Zaferes pulled away and crossed the finish line 11 seconds ahead of Taylor-Brown.

Zaferes was in the lead group out of the water and throughout the cycling portion. The American increased her lead atop the world series standings with the victory.

Jessica Learmonth of Britain came in third, 34 seconds behind Zaferes. Alice Betto of Italy was fourth.

Canadian Joanna Brown of Carp, Ont., crossed the finish line 12th, 1:50 behind the leader. Brown finished fourth in Montreal last year and the year before as well.

"I started really well, I swam well and was close to the lead," said the 26-year-old Brown. "But the bike was so difficult and I found myself falling behind. I just couldn't find that rhythm. I wanted to finish fourth again this year, or maybe even a podium.

"It's so great having fans here today. They're cheering for me but they're cheering for everyone else too."

Brown emerged from the water in 16th spot and began gaining ground on the leaders on the bike. She jumped into 10th spot after the first lap and was eighth when she started her run, one minute behind Zaferes and Taylor-Brown.

"You never know how you're going to feel after the bike," said Brown, who bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Australia last year. "Once the run started, I was exhausted. Not my best run today. Normally that's a strength for me but I fell pretty flat. Can't be your day every day."

The Montreal triathlon -- the fifth in a series of eight events -- took place on a brand-new course this year. The swim portion was held in the Alexandra Basin. The bike course began in the Old Port and moved through the downtown area, including a steep ride up Beaver Hall. The five-kilometre run took place along the Lachine Canal.

The next triathlon in the ITU World Series is in Hamburg, Germany on July 6-7.