Vicky Holland won her first WTS race in three years while Flora Duffy sat out due to a lingering foot injury.
Holland topped fellow Brit Georgia Taylor Brown by 17 seconds to take her first WTS win since 2015 and gave her best performance since her bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Holland continued a 2018 hot streak in which she finished 2nd at WTS Bermuda and 4th at the Commonwealth Games.
“That was the toughest podium so far for me," Holland told ITU media. "It was a yo-yo of a race and I don’t really know how but I managed to end up on top.”
Holland got off to a difficult start as she struggled during the second part of the 1500m swim, then had problems placing her feet in the clip-in pedals at the start of the bike leg. "I can't believe I won that race - it was so brutal," she told BBC Sport. “And on the bike I felt like I just had to hang on in there. It took me a full lap on the run to find my legs.”
Holland began her day with a 5th-best 18:20 swim that put her 18 seconds behind swim leader Jessica Learmonth and 14 to 11 seconds behind U.S. competitors Katie Zaferes, Taylor Spivey and Summer Cook. After a bike leg where she stayed in the front pack, Holland arrived in T2 in 9th place, 4 seconds back of bike leader Sophie Coldwell, Taylor-Brown, Spivey and Zaferes.
Holland soon took charge of the run as she cruised to a race-best 35:21 split for the 10k run, which brought her to the finish in 1:56:32 with a 17 seconds margin of victory over British compatriot Georgia Taylor-Brown (35:43 run) and 30 seconds on 3rd place finisher Katie Zaferes of the U.S. (35:50 run).
“That was amazing," Taylor-Brown told ITU media about her first WTS podium. "So tough, but the crowd was amazing and I just wanted to do well for them."
“I think that was my toughest podium yet for sure,” Katie Zaferes said afterwards. “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!”
Citing a lingering leg injury, Bermuda’s Flora Duffy did not start and thus surrendered her WTS points lead. After Leeds, Katie Zaferes of the U.S. took over the 2018 lead with 2673 points earned in three races including her 3rd place today. Holland advanced to 2nd place with 2384 points in 3 races. Rachel Klamer of Netherlands took 3rd place with 2215 points in 3 races and Duffy fell to 4th place with 2000 points earned with her two victories at Bermuda and Yokohama.
“I’ve a foot issue that I’ve been managing for the last couple of months,” Duffy told The Royal Gazette. “[WTS] Yokohama was one step too far; it started screaming at me halfway through the 10K and has unfortunately been pretty sore ever since. I’m doing everything I can to get it right and get back to full training. I really want to defend my title and be back in Hamburg and bring my ‘A’ game there.”
World Triathlon Series Leeds
Leeds, Great Britain
June 10, 2018
S 1.5k / B 40k / R 10k
1. Vicky Holland (GBR) 1:56:32
2. Georgia Taylor Brown (GBR) 1:56:49
3. Katie Zaferes (USA) 1:57:02
4. Rachel Klamer (NED) 1:57:24
5. Leonie Periault (FRA) 1:57:24
6. Rebecca Spence (NZL) 1:57:37
7. Taylor Spivey (USA) 1:57:50
8. Jessica Learmonth (GBR) 1:57:55
9. Nicole Van Der Kay (NZL) 1:58:06
10. Yuko Takahashi (JPN) 1:58:20
19. Chelsea Burns (USA) 2:00:25
21. Taylor Knibb (USA) 2:00:52
24. Kirsten Kasper (USA) 2:03:31
DNF Summer Cook (USA)
WTS Women's 2018 Point Standings
1. Katie Zaferes (USA) 2637 points 3 races
2. Vicky Holland (GBR) 2384 points 3 races
3. Rachel Klamer (NED) 2215 points 3 races
4. Flora Duffy (BER) 2000 points 2 races
5. Yuko Takahashi (JPN) 1988 points 4 races
7. Kirsten Kasper 1748 points 3 races
9. Taylor Spivey (USA) 1574 points 4 races