LEEDS, England – U.S. triathlete Taylor Spivey won a silver medal and earned her first career ITU World Triathlon Series podium at the Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds on Sunday, while Kirsten Kasper placed fourth to take over the WTS series lead.
Athletes covered a 1,500-meter swim, 38.6-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run course that finished at the city center’s Millennium Square. Bermudan Flora Duffy crossed the line first in 1 hour, 57 minutes, 2 seconds to earn her fourth career WTS victory and second consecutive win of the season. Spivey followed close behind in 1:58:32, more than a minute ahead of third-place finisher Alice Betto of Italy (1:59:36).
Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.) came out of the water in the lead pack and executed a strong bike, breaking away early in a group of four with Duffy, Betto and Maya Kingma of the Netherlands. The four worked together over the technical course, building a 2:30 gap on the chasers heading into the second transition.
Duffy broke away on the run with a race-leading 35:04 10k to secure the gold medal, but Spivey’s 36:32 was enough to keep her in podium position and hold off Betto for the silver.
“I am beyond thrilled, I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Spivey said of her first WTS podium. “I just am so happy that all of my hard work has paid off and it came together today. Making that front pack with Flora was key, she is just so strong and technically amazing. I really had to push to stay on her wheel because I’m not as technically strong as her, but I am just so happy I managed to pull it together today.”
Spivey becomes the seventh U.S. woman to earn a WTS podium, after winning her first career World Cup medal just last weekend with a silver in Madrid. Spivey’s previous best WTS finish was 11th place in Edmonton, Canada, last year.
Kasper (North Andover, Mass.) had a strong swim, exiting the water fifth in 17:53. She just missed the breakaway on the bike, spending the 38.6k course in the chase pack. With a quick second transition, Kasper gave herself space to break away from the group heading into the run. A 36:06 10k was enough to overtake Kingma and secure fourth place.
With her performance, Kasper moves past fellow American Katie Zaferes (Hampstead, Md.) to take the overall WTS series lead. Zaferes, who did not compete in Leeds, is now second in the series, and Ashleigh Gentle of Australia is in third. Spivey’s silver moved her up to ninth in the overall standings.
In the men’s elite race, Jason West was the top U.S. finisher in 27th – an improvement of 19 spots from his first career WTS finish in March in Abu Dhabi. West (State College, Pa.) recorded a finishing time of 1:52:48. Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.) placed 38th in his WTS career debut, crossing the line in 1:55:50.
It was a banner day for brothers Alistair and Jonny Brownlee of Great Britain, who went 1-2 in front of their hometown crowd. Alistair Brownlee defended his 2016 title and crossed first in 1:46:51, just 12 seconds ahead of his brother Jonny. Fernando Alarza of Spain rounded out the men’s podium in third in 1:47:28.
The Brownlee brothers exited the water with the leaders and took immediate control on the bike, forming a four-man breakaway with Pierre Le Corre and Raphael Aurelien of France. The Brownlees took off as a pair just before the halfway point on the bike, and would build a gap of more than a minute on the rest of the field heading onto the run. Alistair Brownlee would ultimately pull away from his brother with about 2.5k to go to secure the win, with Jonny Brownlee following close behind and Alarza running his way into podium position.
Alarza’s bronze moves him into the overall WTS series lead for the men, with fellow Spaniards Mario Mola and Javier Gomez Noya sitting in second and third.
The World Triathlon Series continues with its fifth of nine stops in Hamburg, Germany, on July 16.
2017 ITU World Triathlon Leeds
1,500m swim, 38.6k bike, 10k run
Elite Women – Complete Results
1. Flora Duffy (BER), 1:57:02
2. Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 1:58:32
3. Alice Betto (ITA), 1:59:36
2. Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 1:58:32
4. Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.), 2:00:33
Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.), DNF
Renee Tomlin (Ocean City, N.J.), DNF
Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.), DNS
Elite Men – Complete Results
1. Alistair Brownlee (GBR), 1:46:51
2. Jonathan Brownlee (GBR), 1:47:03
3. Fernando Alarza (ESP), 1:47:28
27. Jason West (State College, Pa.), 1:52:48
38. Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.), 1:55:50
About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).