Strong performances saw British athletes pick up three gold medals in Japan at the World Triathlon Championship Series and World Triathlon Para Series in Yokohama.
George Peasgood was the first Brit to race in the highly contended PTS5 race. The paratriathlon races took place under wet weather in Japan, however Peasgood was able to manage the conditions to bring home the gold.
The Paralympic silver medallist delivered a comprehensive performance, extending a lead by over 30 seconds in the swim, extending a two-minute lead on the bike and comfortably took the gold as he held the lead through the run, with Ronan Cordeiro (BRA) in silver and Bence Mocsari (HUN) taking bronze.
Following Yokohama, the World Triathlon Para Series next heads to Montreal in early July before making its way to Swansea for Britain’s first ever standalone WTPS event on 6 August.
The wet conditions saw a couple of course changes before the women’s race began, with British hopefuls Georgia Taylor-Brown, Beth Potter and Sian Rainsley competing. Without Jess Learmonth or Sophie Coldwell to push the swim, the race had a mixed start before a gap developed in the second lap, with Taylor-Brown and Potter breaking away, with Rainsley in the second group.
Into transition, Taylor-Brown was at the front with all the big hitters, including Flora Duffy (BER), Taylor Knibb (USA), Cassandre Beaugrand (FRA) and Laura Lindemann (GER). The front group split early on because of a crash, seeing Beaugrand out with an injury and Lindemann with a mechanical. Potter and Rainsley were pushing in the second group but by the end of the bike, a gap of around three minutes had been made.
Onto the run, Taylor-Brown built a lead of around seven seconds initially but was pulled back into the race by French duo Leonia Periault and Emma Lombardi. However, Taylor-Brown pushed all the way for an imperious win, the first European woman to win at Yokohama in a decade. Duffy and Periault were second and third respectively, Potter came in at 11th and Rainsley 16th.
Alex Yee and Grant Sheldon were up next in the men’s race, with conditions leading to an increase in water temperature, but the roads were now dry. After the first lap of the swim, world champion Vincent Luis (FRA) was leading the pack.
After initially being behind the first group, Yee soon joined it and despite efforts from Haydon Wilde (NZL) to apply pressure at the front, the group remained close going into the run. Sheldon remained in the second group, with a larger gap being forged.
Yee was in the back third of the lead pack and had to work hard to get up to Léo Bergere (FRA) and Wilde before Yee and Wilde pushed out on their own. Yee had a smart performance, sitting in close on the run before pushing into the front in the final lap. Both athletes were looking strong as they reached the blue carpet together, but Yee was able to sprint ahead, taking the victory. Wilde in second, Bergere third. Sheldon in at 45th
Taylor-Brown now leads the Maurice Lacroix World Triathlon Championship Series Rankings, with attention now turning to AJ Bell 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series Leeds on 11-12 June.
WTCS Leeds provides the opportunity to race on much the same course as the elite athletes with entries closing on 22 May. Bringing the world’s best athletes to Britain also provides a unique opportunity to watch them up-close and personal as they compete over the sprint distance on Saturday 11 June and team up for the mixed relay on Sunday 12 June.
(Images: World Triathlon - Tommy Zaferes / Janos M Schmidt)