USA Triathlon News Articles Spivey Takes Fourth,...

Spivey Takes Fourth, Zaferes Fifth at Hamburg ITU Triathlon World Championships

By USA Triathlon | Sept. 05, 2020, 2:13 p.m. (ET)

HAMBURG, Germany — U.S. National Team member Taylor Spivey (Huntington Beach, Calif.) finished fourth and defending world champion Katie Zaferes (Santa Cruz, Calif,) took fifth Saturday at the ITU Triathlon World Championships in Hamburg, Germany. The race was the first elite international competition of 2020 for most athletes, with the bulk of the season canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Great Britain’s Georgia Taylor-Brown took the gold medal, followed by Bermuda’s Flora Duffy with silver and hometown favorite Laura Lindemann of Germany taking bronze. Spivey matched her world ranking from the close of the 2019 season, while Zaferes showed elements of her 2019 world champion form — with only a minor mistake in transition causing her to fall out of podium contention.

This weekend’s events also include the ITU Mixed Relay World Championships, scheduled for Sunday at 7:31 a.m. ET (1:31 p.m. local time). The Hamburg races were initially scheduled to take place July 11-12, before being rescheduled to Sept. 5-6 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Saturday’s individual event was originally designated as a regular-season stop on the six-race ITU World Triathlon Series calendar, while Sunday’s mixed relay event had always been designated as the World Championships. 

After all other WTS events in 2020 were canceled due to COVID-19, the ITU announced last week that the individual race in Hamburg — a sprint-distance course covering a 750-meter swim, 18.9-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run — would now also crown the individual world champions.

Hamburg is a longtime host of ITU World Triathlon Series events, but this weekend’s races are taking place outside of the main city and without spectators. The main venue is Lake Stadtpark, a small island located about 10 kilometers from Hamburg’s central square. Several other safety measures are in place throughout the weekend to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including face coverings in all event areas when not actively racing; contact reduction for athletes, staff and volunteers; and COVID-19 testing before and after travel.

In the women’s race, Spivey and Zaferes both swam well — exiting the water in fourth and eighth place, respectively. While Great Britain’s Jessica Learmonth and Austria’s Therese Feuersinger made an early breakaway on the bike, they were soon caught by an 18-strong group that included Zaferes, Spivey, Duffy, Taylor-Brown, Lindemann, the Netherlands’ Rachel Klamer, Norway’s Lotte Miller, France’s Cassandre Beaugrand and several other top contenders. 

In the second transition, Zaferes struggled with her running shoe — and while she fell behind the leaders by only a few seconds, she would have to work for most of the 5k run to catch back up. 

Taylor-Brown, Duffy and Learmonth pulled away early on the run, with Taylor-Brown grabbing a decisive lead by the halfway point. Duffy held steady in second place, as Spivey and Lindemann chipped away at the gap to Learmonth. The American and the German ran shoulder-to-shoulder for most of the final 2.5k, before Lindemann pulled into the bronze-medal position in the final stretch. Meanwhile, Zaferes moved up the pack to fifth place but didn’t have enough ground to get back into podium contention.

Taylor-Brown ultimately took the tape in 54 minutes, 16 seconds, followed by Duffy in 54:25 and Lindemann in 54:39. Spivey was just off the podium with a time of 54:47, and Zaferes rounded out the top-five in 54:50.

Also racing for the U.S. were Erika Ackerlund (Missoula, Mont.), who took 14th in 55:48; Tokyo U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team Qualifier Summer Rappaport (Thornton, Colo.), 17th in 56:01; Sophie Watts (née Chase, Burke, Va.,), 26th in 56:21; and Renée Tomlin (Ocean City, N.J.), 55th in 58:26.

In the men’s race, France’s Vincent Luis successfully defended his 2019 world title, sharing the podium with Portugal’s Vasco Vilaca in second and fellow Frenchman Léo Bergere in third. Morgan Pearson (Boulder, Colo.) was the top American man in eighth place, just two spots off his WTS career best. 

Luis was third out of the water and joined the lead pack on the bike, which included fellow France’s Bergere and Dorian Coninx, Portugal’s Vilaca, Great Britain’s Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, Germany’s Justus Nieschlag and Hungary’s Mark Devay.

By the time the leaders hit the second transition, they had a modest 15-second gap on the chase pack. Luis, Vilaca and Bergere quickly separated themselves from the rest of the field on the run, and by the final kilometer, only the order of the podium was left to be decided. Luis used his finishing kick to break away from the others and take the tape in 49:13. Vilaca finished two seconds later in 49:15, and Bergere took the bronze in 49:18.

Pearson finished near the front of the chase pack, crossing in 49:32. Kevin McDowell (Phoenix, Ariz.) was the next American across the line in 18th (50:02), followed by Matt McElroy in 33rd (50:36) and Seth Rider in 39th (51:21). Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.) rounded out the U.S. contingent in 48th (52:08).

The action in Hamburg continues Sunday with the ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships, which will be livestreamed on the Olympic Channel. Four-person teams from 20 countries are set to compete. Full team rosters will be announced this afternoon.

2020 Hamburg Wasser ITU Triathlon World Championships
750m swim, 18.9k bike, 5k run

Elite Women – Complete Results

1. Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR), 54:16
2. Flora Duffy (BER), 54:25
3. Laura Lindemann (GER), 54:39

U.S. Finishers

4. Taylor Spivey (Huntington Beach, Calif.), 54:47
5. Katie Zaferes (Santa Cruz, Calif.), 54:50
14. Erika Ackerlund (Missoula, Mont.), 55:48
17. Summer Rappaport (Thornton, Colo.), 56:01
26. Sophie Watts (Burke, Va.), 56:21
55. Renée Tomlin (Ocean City, N.J.), 58:26

Elite Men – Complete Results
1. Vincent Luis (FRA), 49:13
2. Vasco Vilaca (POR), 49:15
3. Léo Bergere (FRA), 49:18

U.S. Finishers
8. Morgan Pearson (Boulder, Colo.), 49:32
18. Kevin McDowell (Phoenix, Ariz.), 50:02
33. Matt McElroy (Huntington Beach, Calif.), 50:36
39. Seth Rider (Germantown, Tenn.), 51:21
48. Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.), 52:08

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 at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation — 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 & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).

Related Athletes

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Morgan Pearson

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Kevin McDowell

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Katie Zaferes

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Taylor Spivey

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Summer Rappaport