LEEDS, England — Katie Zaferes (Santa Cruz, Calif.) earned her third consecutive ITU World Triathlon Series medal on Sunday, claiming bronze at the fourth individual stop of the Series in Leeds, England. With that performance, Zaferes now moves into first in the overall WTS rankings.
The Olympic-distance course featured a two-lap, 1,500-meter swim in Waterloo Lake at Roundhay Park, followed by a technical seven-lap, 38.6-kilometer bike and a four-lap, 10-kilometer run that finished in Millennium Square.
In the women’s race, Great Britain’s Jessica Learmonth took the early lead with an 18-minute, 2-second swim split. Zaferes, Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.), and Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.) were right behind her, all exiting the water within seven seconds of the Brit.
Learmonth, Zaferes and Spivey immediately pulled away on the bike, while Cook joined the chase pack. The trio built a lead of more than 50 seconds in the first two laps, but the chasers — which included British standouts Vicky Holland, Sophie Coldwell and Georgia Taylor-Brown — closed that gap over the remainder of the course. Heading into the second transition, the field was back together and it was anyone’s race to win on the run.
Holland and Taylor-Brown both fed off the energy of the hometown crowd, pulling ahead to finish one-two in 1:56:32 and 1:56:49, respectively. Zaferes battled her way to third in 1:57:02, earning her third consecutive WTS medal after a bronze in Hamilton, Bermuda, and a silver in Yokohama, Japan.
Zaferes is now No. 1 in the WTS season rankings with 2,637 points, followed by Holland with 2,384 and the Netherlands’ Rachel Klamer with 2,215. For the complete 2018 WTS rankings, visit wts.triathlon.org.
“I think that was my toughest podium yet, for sure," said Zaferes, who celebrated her birthday yesterday. “There were so many stages that I could have been done. I didn’t feel great on the bike, and the technical sections were hard. My legs felt awful getting off the bike, but coming out as Series number one is a pretty good birthday present!”
Spivey also ran well, finishing seventh with a total time of 1:57:50. Also competing for the U.S. were Chelsea Burns (Seattle, Wash.), who took 19th in 2:00:25, Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.), 21st in 2:00:52, and Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.), 24th in 2:03:31. Cook dropped out of the race after the bike.
In the men’s race, South Africa’s Richard Murray grabbed his first career Olympic-distance WTS victory. Spain’s Mario Mola claimed the silver, and France’s Vincent Luis rounded out the podium with bronze. Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.) led the U.S. contingent with a 20th-place finish.
Spain’s Richard Varga led after the swim, recording a 17:10 split for the 1500m course. Ben Kanute (Phoenix, Ariz.) exited the water just five seconds after Varga, joining a 13-strong lead pack on the bike alongside athletes like Mola, South Africa’s Henri Schoeman and France’s Pierre le Corre. By the second transition, though, the chasers had closed the gap. The medals would have to be decided on the run.
It was Murray who had the legs to win, recording a 30:57 10k en route to breaking the tape in 1:45:51. Mola followed just 10 seconds later, and Luis crossed the line third in 1:46:14.
After biking in the chase pack, Hemming’s 33:49 run split was enough to give him a top-20 finish in 1:48:51. Matt McElroy (Huntington Beach, Calif.) also raced for the U.S. men, taking 34th in 1:52:28.
Kanute and Kevin McDowell (Phoenix, Ariz.) dropped out of the race, while Morgan Pearson (Boulder, Colo.) was lapped out on the bike.
The men’s WTS season leader is now Mola at No. 1 with 3,641 points. Two Frenchmen are No. 2 and No. 3: Luis with 2,208, and Le Corre with 1,999. Click here for the complete Series standings.
The ITU World Triathlon Series continues with a stop in Hamburg, Germany, which includes both an individual WTS race on July 14 and the ITU Mixed Relay World Championships on July 15.
2018 ITU World Triathlon Yokohama
1,500m swim, 38.6k bike, 10k run
Elite Women — Complete Results
1. Vicky Holland (GBR), 1:56:32
2. Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR), 1:56:49
3. Katie Zaferes (Santa Cruz, Calif.), 1:57:02
3. Katie Zaferes (Santa Cruz, Calif.), 1:57:02
7. Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 1:57:50
19. Chelsea Burns (Seattle, Wash.), 2:00:25
21. Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.), 2:00:52
24. Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.), 2:03:31
Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.), DNF
Elite Men — Complete Results
1. Richard Murray (RSA), 1:45:52
2. Mario Mola (ESP), 1:46:01
3. Vincent Luis (FRA), 1:46:14
20. Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.), 1:48:51
34. Matthew McElroy (Huntington Beach, Calif.), 1:52:28
Ben Kanute (Phoenix, Ariz.), DNF
Kevin McDowell (Phoenix, Ariz.), DNF
Morgan Pearson (Boulder, Colo.), LAP
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 events and connects with more than 400,000 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).