Abu Dhabi: World No. 2 Katie Zaferes of the US claimed top honours in the women’s category with a time of 51:31 at the Daman World Triathlon Abu Dhabi, the first of the ITU’s Global World Triathlon Series at the Yas Marina Circuit, on Friday.
Zaferes’ compatriot Taylor Spivey was second and Jessica Learmonth of Great Britain made sure that the US didn’t make a clean sweep by finishing third ahead of Taylor Knibb.
“I’m excited with the win,” said Zaferes. “My muscles got a bit tight but the race went as perfectly as it could. I was surprised that Jess (Learmonth) lined up next to me and we had a perfect swim. All strong people were there on the bike working together. So then in the run I tried to stay in the front.”
Zaferes, who missed out on the overall title to Vicky Holland of Great Britain last season in a very tight finish in the last race of the series, added: “It is a great start for getting to the World crown and I just want to keep getting better as the season progresses and finishing second just by a small margin last season drove me to what to do this year.”
Holland was far from her best and finished the race in eighth once after she struggled in the swim, which left her down in 24th spot.
Learmonth was first out of the water followed by Summer Rappaport, Zaferes and Spivey.
Some aggressive riding in the bike saw seven riders pull away from the chasing pack. First to line ahead of the run was Zaferes followed by Netherland’s Rachel Kingma, Learmonth, Spivey, Knibb and Norway’s Lotte Miller.
Zaferes led the run with her countrymate Spivey following and Britain’s Learmonth ahead of Knibb. It stayed that way until the end as Zaferes pulled away to the tape unchallenged — 26 seconds ahead of Spivey and 36 seconds ahead of Learmonth.
“That race couldn’t have got better for me and I gave myself an opportunity to finally finish on the podium here. It was hard to tell in the first two lap of the bike but it was reassuring once we saw the time differences at the side,” said Spivey.
Learmonth was delighted that she didn’t allow a whitewash by United States, saying: “Knibb kept pushing me and I was like ‘Oh God she is hanging on’. I felt it will come to a sprint finish. She is a young buck, I thought she will get me so I pushed hard.”