In a dominating performance showcasing once again her power on the bike, USA’s Taylor Knibb claimed a repeat junior women’s title at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Rotterdam.
Despite not racing much due to her focusing on her first year of University, Knibb competed in select World Triathlon Series races at the elite level, where her talent and improvement from those races was highlighted today out on the junior stage.
Hammering away on the bike in order to break away from a chase pack, saw Knibb riding solo for almost all of the 20-kilometre bike course, before finishing the five-kilometre run untouched to walk away with the second consecutive junior world title.
Knibb said about winning her second title, “Yes, it is a bit of a surprise, I didn’t know it was going to happen in the race, so I am just really grateful.”
“I saw that Kate (Waugh) was closing the gap on me so I freaked out and ran hard, so it really made me earn it. I was a great race and she (Waugh) had an amazing race,” Knibb said.
Claiming the silver and stepping on her first world championship podium was Great Britain’s Kate Waugh, while the bronze went to Japan’s Fuka Sega who had a breakthrough race from start to finish.
Filling almost the entire dive pontoon, a large roster of 70 women lined up to partake in the quest for the junior world crown. With a slight chop in the Mass river, Japan’s Sega managed to get the edge and exit the waters first. Just a short 12 seconds behind saw the likes of a huge pack of women charging through the first transition to start the bike leg.
While Knibb found herself among the shuffle after the swim, it took only a matter of moments before she worked her way up to Sega to ride as a leading twosome for the first lap. However, Knibb has worked in power duos in the past, such as elite bike powerhouse Flora Duffy so it came as no surprise when she then exceeded past Sega on the second lap to pull out in the lead.
Knibb held onto the top spot through the rest of the bike leg, despite a small pack of women trailing her that contained the likes of Waugh, Sega, Therese Feuersinger (AUT), Hannah Knighton (NZL) and Olivia Mathias (GBR).
Heading into the second transition, Knibb’s lead was around 30 seconds. However, the women in the first chase group had some strong running legs and Waugh managed to scare the gap down to about 20 seconds.
Knibb’s lead maintained and she entered the finish chute smiling as she grabbed the tape for the second straight year. Waugh then followed 16 seconds later, while Sega was about another 30 seconds from that to claim the bronze.