For the fourth time in WTS history, the U.S. women filled the podium with Katie Zaferes leading countrywomen Summer Rappaport and Taylor Spivey across the line at Yokohama. In previous years, U.S. women filled WTS podiums in London, Gold Coast and Edmonton with Zaferes part of all the sweeps.
For Zaferes, who finished a close second in the WTS World Championship standings last year, it was her third straight win to start the 2019 season. Yokohama gives her a big lead in her quest to finally achieve a world title – and follow in the footsteps of recently retired U.S. multiple WTS champion Gwen Jorgensen.
In choppy waters, Jessica Learmonth of Great Britain led the way in the 1500-meter course with an 18:39 clocking, followed closely by Maya Kingma of Netherlands and U.S. stars Spivey and Zaferes. After reaching transition, they were joined by Yuko Takahashi of Japan, Rappaport and Lotte Miller of Norway.
After 3 of the 9 laps of the 40-kilometer bike leg, the seven leaders built a 30 seconds lead on the chasers who included Non Stanford and Georgia Taylor-Brown of Great Britain, Emma Jeffcoat and Natalie Van Coevorden of Australia, Alice Betto of Italy and Tamara Gorman of the U.S. By the end of the ride, the top seven increased their lead to one minute.
At the start of the 10-kilometer run, Zaferes and Rappaport charged into a lead, quickly dropping Learmonth, Miller and Kingma, and then Spivey and Takahashi who were joined in a battle for the final spot on the podium. On her way to a race-best 34:07 split for the run, Zaferes crossed the line in 1:52:12 with a 21 seconds margin of victory on Rappaport and 1:17 on 3rd place finisher Spivey, who outran Takahashi by 9 seconds. Takahashi’s 4th place was the top finish by a Japanese woman at Yokohama in years and Maya Kingma’s 5th place was her best-ever WTS finish.
“Summer pushed me on the run the whole entire time,” Zaferes told ITU media. “In the bike we had a committed group, pushing every single lap of the race just trying to get more time on the other ones. On the run I tried to be more tactical with little pushes and that last lap, I just really pushed the hill, got a break but decided to keep pushing because I didn’t know if [Summer] was coming up behind me.”
With her third straight 2019 victory to start her WTS season, Zaferes leads the WTS standings by more than 500 points over Jessica Learmonth. “Every time I think this has got to end sometime, but I go for it each time,” said Zaferes. “[This year] I am using a more risky mindset where I am trying different things and I think it makes it more fun and it’s going well.”
Rappaport was emotional at claiming the second WTS podium of her career. “I had a really difficult 2018 and my first WTS this year in Abu Dhabi didn’t go as I hoped,” Rappaport told ITU media. “I have been doing my best training for a while but I just couldn’t put it together and it was so difficult and discouraging. You have no idea how much I have prepared and trained for improving my bike skills. It wasn’t necessarily that I couldn’t do it. I had focus issues where I couldn’t get myself to hold on in race situations. Today I was able to figure it out.”
Spivey dueled with training partner Takahashi for most of the run, before edging her in the final meters. “I wouldn’t say it was a battle with Yuko,” said Spivey. “I train with her every day and I was so happy to see her in podium contention. We worked together, I told her to sit on my hip and she did and I am so proud of her.”
May 18, 2019
S 1.5k / B 40k / R 10k
Pro Women Results
1. Katie Zaferes (USA) 1:52:12 S 18:46 T1 00:54 B 58:06 T2 00:22 R 34:07
2. Summer Rappaport (USA) 1:52:33 S 18:47 T1 00:57 B 58:03 T2 00:22 R 34:25
3. Taylor Spivey (USA) 1:53:29 S 18:43 T1 00:58 B 58:04 T2 00:26 R 35:19
4. Yuko Takahashi (JPN) 1:53:38 S 18:49 T1 00:56 B 58:01 T2 00:21 R 35:32
5. Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR) 1:54:25 S 18:58 T1 00:56 B 59:55 T2 00:24 R 34:14
6. Jessica Learmonth (GBR) 1:54:52 S 18:39 T1 00:59 B 58:07 T2 00:26 R 36:43
7. Maya Kingma (NED) 1:54:59 S 18:41 T1 1:01 B 58:05 T2 00:26 R 36:48
8. Non Stanford (GBR) 1:55:10 S 18:56 T1 00:57 B 59:56 T2 00:24 R 34:59
9. Tamara Gorman (USA) 1:55:35 S 18:56 T1 00:59 B 69:56 T2 00:23 R 35:24
10. Laura Lindemann (GER) 1:55:43 S 19:39 T1 00:57 B 1:00:12 T2 00:23 R 34:34
13. Chelsea Burns (USA) 1:56:18 S 19:09 T1 1:00 B 1:00:41 T2 00:24 E 35:05
28. Renee Tomlin (USA) 1:59:32 S 19:51 T1 00:59 B 1:01:40 T2 00:27 R 36:37
39. Sophie Chase (USA) 2:05:37 S 19:54 T1 00:58 B 1:02:24 T2 00:27 R 41:56
Season WTS Rankings
1. Katie Zaferes (USA) 3000
2. Jessica Learmonth (GBR) 2458
3. Taylor Spivey (USA) 2458
4. Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR) 2000
5. Lotte Miller (NOR) 1715
6. Non Stanford (GBR) 1703
7. Summer Rappaport (USA) 1420
8. Joanna Brown (CAN) 1192
9. Lisa Perterer (AUT) 11:37
10. Yuko Takahashi (JPN) 1077
12. Chelsea Burns (USA) 969
19. Taylor Knibb (USA) 791
29. Tamara Gorman (USA) 536
46. Renee Tomlin (USA) 122