With a dominant performance, American Katie Zaferes claims a hat trick in the 2019 World Triathlon Yokohama, with teammates Summer Rappaport and Taylor Spivey accompaniyng her in the podium in the fourth podium sweep for USA in the history of WTS.
On a beautiful morning in Yokohama, the race started to unfold right when the elite women where taking their positions in the pontoon, with Katie Zaferes, wearing the golden number 1 swim cap, going to the left and the Brits and the other Americans heading to the right side. By when the triathletes made it to the first buoy there was a long line of them, with Jessica Learmonth leading.
The 1500 swim in the choppy water in Yokohama ended up with Learmonth leading out of the swim, followed close by Maya Kingma (NED), Spivey and Zaferes. But as soon as the leading females were in transition, they were joined by Yuko Takahashi (JPN), Summer Rappaport (USA) and Lotte Miller (NOR) and the seven of them started to work immediately on building up a lead enough to guarantee them a safe position at the end of the race.
By the third of the 9 laps of the technical and flat bike course, the seven leaders had managed to gain almost 30 seconds over the large group of chasers. Behind them, Non Stanford (GBR), Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR), Emma Jeffcoat (AUS), Natalie Van Coerden (AUS), Alice Betto (ITA) and Tamara Gorman (USA) tried to organise themselves to chase them, but the leading athletes seemed well organised and the efforts of the chasers were in vain. By the time the 40km on the bike were over, the seven female leaders had almost one minute, and new that the fight for the medals was going to be on them.
As soon as the athletes got on their running shoes, Katie Zaferes proved that she is indeed the one to beat this season, and charged hard in the first meters, only to be followed by her teammate Rappaport. The American duo dropped quickly Miller, Kingma and Learmonth first, and then Spivey and Takahashi, who kept running shoulder on shoulder for most part of the 10km run.
Kilometer after kilometer, both duos were testing each other, with Zaferes looking cautiously left and right knowing than Rappaport has a really strong run, while Spivey did the same thing with Takahashi, cheered by the thousands of local spectators gathered in Yokohama since very early in the morning.
Zaferes wait until the last 500 meters to do the final push, and without looking back added an extra gear enough to cross the finish line in first place, getting her first ever victory in Yokohama. Behind her, almost crying, Rappaport, and both of them waited smiling for the third American to cross the finish line, Spivey, who had managed to drop Takahashi also in the last meters of the run.
The clean podium sweep in Yokohama marks the fourth for USA team, with the bars and stripes filling all the steps on the podium also in London, Gold Coast and Edmonton, and with Zaferes being in the podium in all four of them.
Takahashi, extremely happy with her fourth place, claimed the best place for a Japanese athlete in Yokohama in the last years, while Maya Kingma finished in fifth place, her best result ever on a WTS.
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