Georgia Taylor-Brown ended the Super League Triathlon Championship Series on top of the podium for the second consecutive year, not only winning back-to-back Super League titles but also the final race in Neom.
The race victory, and subsequent title triumph, headlined a day of British success with Sophie Coldwell and Beth Potter ensuring there was an all British podium in the women’s race, as well as overall bronze for Coldwell. Whilst in the men’s standings, Jonny Brownlee was also on the podium, finishing second in the final race to end the series in third overall.
Taylor-Brown knew victory in the final race would guarantee the overall series win, with the defending champion level on points with the USA’s Taylor Spivey heading to Saudi Arabia, after Taylor-Brown’s win in Toulouse earlier this month.
The final race of the five-event series was raced over the enduro format – swim, bike, run back-to-back three times – and it came down to a head-to-head battle on the final run leg to decide not only the race win but also the overall podium spots.
There were British athletes at the forefront throughout the women’s race with Coldwell and Potter both going solo off the front during the opening two stages, but Taylor-Brown, Spivey and Nicole van der Kaay (NZL) were also not far behind.
With the desert and sand dunes providing the backdrop and the race itself tightly poised, a front group of five - including Coldwell, Potter and Taylor-Brown – were at the head of the action as the race reached the start of the swim for the final time.
As crosswinds hit the bike leg, it was Coldwell who arrived into the final transition at the front, with a small gap to Taylor-Brown, Potter, Spivey and Van der Kaay as the title decider came down to the final 1.6km run.
At the front, it was Coldwell who was able to increase her advantage, boosted by having the short chute, the Loughborough-based athlete had a gap over the rest of the front group. Behind, and in the race for the overall title, it was Taylor-Brown who gained an advantage on Spivey and was in pursuit of Coldwell with Potter also in the podium places.
With just a few hundred metres to go, Taylor-Brown passed Coldwell to secure her third race win of this year's Super League Triathlon Championship Series and in doing so the successful defence of the series title.
Coldwell crossed the line second with Potter finishing third to complete a British one-two-three in Neom.
Kate Waugh was the next British athlete to finish in 10th to also secure a top-10 spot overall. There were emotional scenes as Non Stanford crossed the line with the European champion finishing 12th to bring an end to her elite triathlon career. Sian Rainsley was 14th and Sophia Green 16th.
The win saw Taylor-Brown win the title by six points ahead of Spivey with Coldwell third overall, five points ahead of Potter in fourth.
Speaking to Super League Triathlon after winning the title, Taylor-Brown said: “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.”
In the men’s race that followed, Brownlee was towards the front of the racing, just as he was en-route to claiming silver at World Triathlon Championship Series Cagliari a few weeks ago.
The three-time Olympic medallist ended the first stage first to earn his team a short chute later in the race and it would be Brownlee who would get to use it as the Leeds-based athlete and Australia’s Matthew Hauser raced for the race win.
The pair of Brownlee and Hauser and series champion Hayden Wilde (NZL) were the leading trio heading into the water for the final time and there was only a matter of seconds between them heading onto the bike and then run.
Brownlee and Hauser both used their short chutes to gain a gap on Wilde before Hauser managed to distance Brownlee to take the race win with Brownlee crossing the line second ahead of Wilde.
The result and points gained was significant for Brownlee who moved into third in the overall standings to end the series on the podium. Chris Perham and Dan Dixon were 18th and 19th respectively in Neom.
Perham was part of the winning team with the Bahrain Victorious Scorpions ending the series with the most points, which also included another trip onto the podium for Taylor-Brown, who also picked-up the prize as being the fastest on the bike across the series.
(Images: Super League Triathlon)