29 Oct 2022
5 min read
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Georgia Taylor-Brown’s memorable year has continued today in NEOM, Saudi Arabia, with the British superstar taking the 2022 Super League Triathlon Championship Series ahead of the United States’ Taylor Spivey.
Taylor-Brown, 28, went into today’s finale at the Red Sea location level on 56 series points with Spivey, and it came down to a straight shootout on the final run leg to decide where the Championship title would be heading. That run leg saw Taylor-Brown break the heart of her great friend, fellow Brit Sophie Coldwell, with 200m to go to add the SLT Championship to her ITU World Sprint Championship in 2022 (she’s also currently leading the ITU World Championship standings).
Coldwell would hold onto second to secure Championship bronze, with Potter finishing third on the day (fourth overall in the series), Spivey fourth and New Zealand’s Nicole Van der Kaay in fifth. In the midst of emotional scenes, Non Stanford would come home in 12th in the final elite race of her storied career.
The series win means an awful lot to me, It’s been a long season but we’ve had five incredible series races and I’m so happy to have come out on top. You never know what to expect with Super League as it’s always changing. Sometimes it’s down to pure luck, but I’ve kept my head down and given my all in every race.Georgia Taylor Brown
The series win means an awful lot to me, It’s been a long season but we’ve had five incredible series races and I’m so happy to have come out on top. You never know what to expect with Super League as it’s always changing. Sometimes it’s down to pure luck, but I’ve kept my head down and given my all in every race.
The win saw Taylor-Brown secure a bumper prize cheque in excess of $130,000 (it could be $160,000 depending on how her Scorpion’s team fare in the men’s race later this afternoon).
Today’s format was the famous Super League three-stage Enduro, the mighty mix of endurance and speed last used in Munich, Germany, in Round 2, where Taylor-Brown was the convincing winner.
The three back-to-back stages tasked athletes with a 300m swim in the warm, salty and buoyant Red Sea, before a single lap 4km bike leg on a mix of gravel and asphalt surfaces, before a final 1.6km run.
French star Cassandre Beaugrand was straight to the front in the turquoise waters of the Red Sea, with facing currents part of the battle to reach the first buoy. The pack split with the shore approaching, with Aussie swim star Emma Jeffcoat once again making the right move and picking up both points and the Short Chute for the Scorpions ahead of Coldwell and Beaugrand. Spivey was 22secs in arrears.
Jeffcoat flew out of T1 and was instantly utilising the tri-bars into the headwinds of the exposed Saudi Arabian desert course with gravel under her wheels. Coldwell would soon push to the front and power away from Jeffcoat – Taylor-Brown led the first chase group but riders were reluctant to share the front of the pack. Coldwell was first into and out of T2 to pick up a Short Chute for the Cheetahs, 5secs ahead of fellow Brit Kate Waugh but with Taylor-Brown and Spivey only separated by 6secs.
Coldwell entered the 1.6km out-and-back run first, again taking place on a mixed terrain surface with nothing but desert and dunes as the backdrop on a course like no other. Potter, Taylor-Brown and Spivey pushed to close the gap, with the sight of Coldwell running in her goggles and Potter close behind in her swim cap at the end of the run highlighting the Enduro’s frenetic racing mix.
The Brit 1-2-3 of Coldwell, Potter and Taylor-Brown led the swim with Spivey soon on the heels of her Championship rival. The field had severely split at this juncture, with athletes already falling foul of the Elimination flag by falling 90secs behind the leaders. Coldwell still led into T1 ahead of Potter, Taylor-Brown and Spivey.
A swift transition by Potter saw the Scot take the lead onto the second bike leg of the day, with the chasers in hot pursuit. Potter still in the lead at the halfway point and maintained that advantage into T2 after a brilliant bike leg for the Brit.
The formidable runner Potter was first onto Stage 2’s run leg, 5secs ahead of the chasers led by Coldwell who slowly ate into Potter’s lead. In the midst of the action, the surprise decision of the Scorpion’s Short Chute going to Beaugrand and not Taylor-Brown broke, meaning the run would come down to a straight shootout between the two Taylors.
With field now whittled down to 15 racers, Kiwi Nicole Van der Kaay made it a fantastic five at the front early on the day’s final swim leg. Yet it was Coldwell who was first out of the water followed by Potter and Spivey, with just 3secs separating the leaders.
Spivey surged to the front of the bike leg as the tactical game came into play, with Taylor-Brown cleverly sitting within the pack to save energy and exposure to the crosswinds. Coldwell again would be first into T2 ahead of Taylor-Brown and Spivey.
After five international dates in London, Munich, Malibu and Toulouse, the fate of the Championship would come down to just 1.6km and the final run of the series. Taylor-Brown versus Spivey were still vying for the overall win, with Coldwell and Potter battling for bronze. And early Short Chute saw Coldwell increase her advantage at the front, but the familiar stride of Taylor-Brown was soon chasing down her NEOM roommate to secure the Championship victory, her third stage win of 2022, and plenty of points for her Scorpion squad in the team title tussle.
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