GB’s Georgia Taylor-Brown took a home win today in Leeds at the fourth round of the World Triathlon Series. The 25-year-old Leeds resident held off strong competition from the series leader, Katie Zaferes, to claim her first-ever WTS win while teammate Jess Learmonth made it a GB sandwich to finish third on the podium.
Coming into today’s race, America’s Zaferes was the woman to beat, having won the first three rounds of the series and with her sights set on matching Flora Duffy’s record of four consecutive WTS wins in a season.
The GB team also had a strong line-up with six of the world’s best athletes on the start line – Vicky Holland, Learmonth, Taylor-Brown, Non Stanford, Jodie Stimpson and Sophie Coldwell. Despite a sub-par start to the year – 8thin Abu Dhabi and 15thin Bermuda – the reigning world champ Holland was back on home soil and in a race she won last year.
No surprise out of the 1.5km swim as Learmonth led the pack with Coldwell, Zaferes and America’s Spivey on her feet. Although 11secs back into T1, Taylor-Brown also comfortably made the front group. But out of transition, it was Coldwell and Zaferes who formed the first group as they took to Leeds’ streets on the 12km journey into the city centre.
Learmonth, Taylor-Brown, Spivey, Cassandre Beaugrand (FRA) and Lopes (BRA) were just behind in the chase group, while Holland, Stanford and Stimson were 30secs down in the third group,
After 8km the two groups had joined to make seven, before dropping Beaugrand on lap two to leave six chasing for the podium. Over the next 20km, the lead group stretched its lead to 1:40secs by the bell lap.
Out of T2, it was the series leader who took the helm of the 10km run. But Taylor-Brown wasn’t ready to let her go, looking comfortable on the American’s shoulder. Meanwhile the battle for bronze was between Coldwell and Learmonth, with Spivey hanging on for fifth.
Taylor-Brown, who going into the fourth round had a 9thand two 5ths to her name to see her in fourth place in the series overall, pulled ahead with 8km to go. After the first lap, the gap was 5secs. By lap 2 that had more than doubled to 13secs.
At halfway on the run, Learmonth, nearly 1min behind her teammate Taylor-Brown, made her move for third, leaving Coldwell in the clutches of Spivey who took her on lap three of four. Next up, Learmonth.
Keeping Zaferes at bay, Taylor-Brown crossed the line after 1:55:46 to take her first World Tri Series win in her young career. Zaferes crossed for second some 11secs behind to retain the title lead, before Learmonth ran through 1:25mins later for bronze.
Spivey took fourth, Stanford, who clocked the second fastest run with a 34:41, fifth, Holland seventh, Coldwell ninth and Stimpson 15th.