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Career firsts for Birtwhistle and Taylor-Brown at WTS Leeds

On June 9th, Jacob Birtwhistle (AUS) and Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR) took their first win on the World Triathlon Series in Leeds, UK.

On the men’s side, Birtwhistle took down one of the strongest men’s field in recent history with the “super seven” – Alistair Brownlee, Jonny Brownlee, Vincent Luis, Henri Schoeman, Richard Murray, Javier Gomez and Mario Mola – all on the line for the first time since the 2014 Worlds in Edmonton.

It would be a tough day for the Brownlee brothers. Both Jonny and Alistair animated the bike course with attacks, but nothing managed to stick going into T2. So, it came down to a 10K race to decide the final podium positions. An early surge by Jonas Schomberg (GER) split the group and put those hanging on into difficulty. Alistair was unable to follow and fell back.

In the final 5K, Schomberg found himself going backwards as Schoeman led the charge. However, it would be Birtwhistle’s last kick that would take him to the top step of the podium. Schoeman slipped to fourth, while Matthew McElroy (USA) and Gomez finished second and third. Full results can be found at Triathlon.org.

On the women’s side, everyone was trying to slow down American Katie Zaferes, who had won all three WTS races in 2019 heading into Leeds. It would end up being Taylor Brown who would take the win. The 25-year-old stayed in the hunt during the 1.5K swim and 40K bike, before making her move in the 10K run.

During the first lap of the run, Taylor-Brown and Zaferes separated themselves from the rest of the group. Then in the second lap, the young Brit made her move and didn’t look back. Taylor-Brown would end up crossing the line 11 seconds ahead of Zaferes. Jessica Learmonth (GBR) finished third. Full results can be found at Triathlon.org.