While Georgia Taylor-Brown was in good position after an excellent swim and bike, she was in seriously ferocious company starting the run for the 2020 World Championship at Hamburg.
On top was 2016 and 2017 World Champion Flora Duffy of Bermuda, back on form after recuperating from injuries. Not far back of Duffy and Jessica Learmonth stood reigning World Champion Katie Zaferes of the U.S. and 2018 World Champion Vicky Holland of Great Britain.
After 500 meters of the run, Duffy and Learmonth broke out front, while Zaferes fell 5 seconds back. At that point, Taylor-Brown looked freshest as she joined the leaders to make a trio at the front.
From 500 meters on, the deck shuffled. While Taylor Spivey of the U.S., Laura Lindemann of Germany, and Rachel Klamer and Maya Kingma of Netherlands scratched hard, they all fell 15 seconds back after 1,000 meters. Meanwhile Taylor-Brown was filled with energy and opened a lead while Learmonth started to fall back. After 2,500 meters, Duffy accelerated into second place, Lindemann and Spivey passed Learmonth, and Zaferes fell 22 seconds from the lead.
Starting the second of two laps of the run, Taylor-Brown opened a 10 second lead while Spivey and Lindemann faded. After a race-best 16:43 run, Taylor-Brown cruised to the finish with 9 seconds lead on silver medalist Duffy (16:54 run) and 23 seconds on Lindemann (16:59 run).
Taylor Spivey of the U.S. took 4th place, 8 seconds behind Lindemann and last year's champion Katie Zaferes of the U.S. finished 5th, 3 seconds behind Spivey.
“I wasn’t confident at all,” Taylor-Brown told ITU media. “I did Super League Arena Games a couple of weeks ago and got some serious lung burn there. I was wondering how it was going to go, I didn’t really expect much from myself. I was grateful to be able to race again. And I am quite shocked at that performance to be honest.”
While every competitor felt a little strange with this one race World Championship finale to a strange year, Taylor-Brown was humble.
“It feels weird saying that I am the World Champion because it’s been an unusual year," she added. "We’re missing a few people as well [New Zealanders, Australians and Canadians were missing due to pandemic interrupted travel] I am the world champion but, in my eyes, Katie (Zaferes) is still the World Champion next year.”
Perhaps most encouraged was the Bermudian, who missed much of 2018 and 2019 with injuries. “This was a huge race for me,” said Duffy. “The back half of 2018 and the first part of 2019 were really difficult. To miss most of this year because of COVID-19, it has a long time since I feel like I am in my stride and hit a podium. I am happy for personal reasons to finish second today; it was a really big step for me. The last few months I have been able to be consistent again for the first time in a really long time.”
Home country favorite Lindemann was on a high with her bronze medal finish. “It’s a home race and home races are always something special to me,” she told ITU media. “There is always extra pressure because I perform better with more pressure, it suits me. I had really bad transitions, after each transition I had to improve my position. It was a hard race from start to finish.”
2020 Hamburg Wasser World Championship Triathlon
September 5, 2020
S 750m / B 20k / R 5k
1. Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR) S 9:08 T1 1:15 B 26:38 T2 00:34 R 16:43 TOT 54:16
2. Flora Duffy (BER) S 9:09 T1 1:12 B 26:39 T2 00:33 R 16:54 TOT 54:25
3. Laura Lindemann (GER) S 9:15 T1 1:13 B 26:35 T2 00:38 R 16:59 TOT 54:39
4. Taylor Spivey (USA) S 9:04 T1 1:11 B 26:48 T2 00:35 R 17:12 TOT 54:47
5. Katie Zaferes (USA) S 9:08 T1 1:09 B 26:48 T2 00:41 R 17:05 TOT 54:50
6. Maya Kingma (NED) S 9:11 T1 1:16 B 26:38 T2 00:34 R 17:16 TOT 54:53
7. Jessica Learmonth (GBR) S 9:01 T1 1:09 B 26:50 T2 00:32 R 17:47 TOT 55:18
8. Rachel Klamer (NED) S 9:15 T1 1:12 B 26:37 T2 00:31 R 17:53 TOT 55:26
9. Lotte Miller (NOR) S 9:08 T1 1:14 B 26:41 T2 00:36 R 17:52 TOT 55:29
10. Therese Feuersinger (AUT) S 9:03 T1 1:09 B 26:49 T2 00:34 R 17:59 TOT 55:32
11. Cassandra Beaugrand (FRA) S 9:02 T1 1:11 B 27:38 T2 00:34 R 17:12 TOT 55:35
14. Erika Ackerlund (USA) S 9:15 T1 1:11 B 27:26 T2 00:32 R 17:26 TOT 55:48
17. Summer Rappaport (USA) S 9:06 T1 1:12 B 28:39 T2 00:38 R 16:28 TOT 56:01
26. Sophie Watts S 9:43 T1 1:13 B 27:59 T2 00:34 R 16:54 TOT 56:21
31. Vicky Holland (GBR) S 9:09 T1 1:12 B 28:29 T2 00:33 R 17:17 TOT 56:38
55. Renee Tomlin (USA) S 9:52 T1 1:14 B 28:30 T2 00:34 R 18:18 TOT 58:26