Periault sparkles in WTCS Yokohama to add another French pearl to the Paris puzzle

by on 11 May, 2024 03:38 • Español
Periault sparkles in WTCS Yokohama to add another French pearl to the Paris puzzle

In a race full of stories and Olympic consequence on Saturday morning in Yokohama, it was a French star with renewed designs on the biggest prize in Paris who shone brightest, Leonie Periault pulling out a run for the ages to seal a second World Triathlon Championship Series gold of her career.

The pace had been on from the very start of the swim as Taylor Knibb looked to test those around her, fellow Americans Taylor Spivey, Kirsten Kasper and Gwen Jorgensen knowing a podium here would seal their own ambitions of an Olympic start. A large bike pack formed powered on by the returning Flora Duffy and Netherlands Maya Kingma, but once out onto the run there was nobody that could hold a candle to Periault.

Teammate Emma Lombardi was able to stay closest for the longest, but from early on the second lap of four, the results rarely looked in any doubt, Periault taking the gold by over 30 seconds from Knibb, Lombardi with the bronze.

“I am very happy, I don’t understand the performance”, said Periault. “It’s a good start for me after the winter, with my new coaches, I am happy but I don’t understand the result!”

Spivey and Kasper finished tantalisingly close to their podium goal in fourth and fifth, a brilliant Ana Godoy Contreras display saw the Spaniard home in sixth one place ahead of Duffy, Brazil’s Djenyfer Arnold, German Laura Lindemann and GB’s Kate Waugh rounded out the top 10, Jorgensen eventually home in 15th.

Onto the pontoon it was numbers one to ten - Lombardi to Knibb - lined up in order from the right, Kirsten Kasper far left, and Knibb was on the pace first and pulling away as the buoy came into sight after 300m.

Jorgensen started middle-left, Duffy right in the middle with Vicky Holland, and Bermuda’s Olympic Champion was 20 seconds back after the first swim lap, Knibb first out and back in with Kingma and Kasper, Jorgensen 22 seconds off the pace.

Duffy flew through lap two though to haul her way into 6th place by the exit, Lombardi and Spivey for company, Natalie Van Coevorden just 13 seconds off the front.

Over the mount line it was Lombardi first onto the bike, Vittoria Lopes, Kingma, Kasper and Summer Rappaport +15s, Tilda Mansson +20s, Nina Eim of Germany +33s, Jorgensen +44 seconds.

It was small groups everywhere early on but 10 came together up front with Kate Waugh having a great T1 while Knibb was 10s slower in transition but was quickly back on the group.

It was the familiar form of Flora Duffy onto the front, Derron in a small group 15s back with Rappaport hanging on to them, Van Coevorden, Jeanne Lehair and Eim with them, while Lisa Tertsch was 45s back with Vicky Holland while Jorgensen slipped a minute back with Nicole Van Der Kaay.

Kingma tried to pull away early on lap two and stretch the leaders, but the pack covered it off well. The pace was definitely on as 17 leaders put 30 seconds over the strong quartet of Derron, Eim, Van Coevorden and Lehair, one minute to Rachel Klamer and Tertsch, 80 seconds off the front was Jorgensen and Annika Koch.

Kingma led several more small charges but none of the breaks were able to stick, the Brazilian duo of Arnold and Lopes still going well, Bianca Seregni likewise as Jolien Vermeylen was dropped.

The Eim group was now 50 seconds off them and drifting further away from that formidable bike pack, the third group already 85 seconds off the leaders now with Rappaport among them, 110 seconds to Koch, Jorgensen and Van Der Kaay.

Tilda Mansson’s race ended with the bad luck of a broken seat post while Maya Kingma suffered a puncture at the end of lap four. Suddenly Jorgensen had Kingma for company and the American’s gap was 2 minutes 20 seconds with two laps to go.

Knibb had sat on the back for much of the bike but came to the front on the 7th lap to push things on, and there were 14 together into transition with just over a minute to the first chasers, 2m15s to the second.

Waugh was onto the gas early out of T2 alongside Lombardi, a poor transition hampered Knibb’s progress but she was soon back on track. But once Periault had found her groove there was little anybody else could do about it.

The French star was really pushing the pace on the first lap, Lindemann and Duffy soon trailing by some 10seconds, Spivey and Lindemann 15 seconds back.

Periault was still absolutely flying on lap two while Knibb and Lombardi set about the battle for silver as they hit the halfway point of the run now 22s back.

Spivey and Kasper were 20s back, then Waugh and Duffy 25s back, Alice Betto and Lopes +50s, Eim and Derron locked together 75 seconds back, Jorgensen up into 17th place and picking through the field.

Periault’s lead was out to 35s at the bell, Spivey tantalisingly close 13s off the podium places, Kasper 20 seconds off the battle for medals, but there they would stay, Leonie Periault flying home for gold and the Series lead ahead of another massive race in Cagliari in two weeks’ time.

“I’ve got a lot of transition practice to do but this was the first test after a lot of changes last year, said Knibb. “This is the first time we got to see as a team where I am and they’re probably horrified by how I raced but thats what we’re working with!

“I’m really satisfied, a good third place and my first podium here so i’m very happy,” said Lombardi. “It was good to be back to an Olympic distance and see where I’m at, taking away different things to take to training and be my best at the end of July. It was a good fight with Taylor.

Results and splits available here.

Article gallery
Related Event: 2024 World Triathlon Championship Series Yokohama
11 May, 2024 • event pageall results
Results: Elite Women
1. Leonie Periault FRA 01:52:28
2. Taylor Knibb USA 01:53:04
3. Emma Lombardi FRA 01:53:08
4. Taylor Spivey USA 01:53:25
5. Kirsten Kasper USA 01:53:34
Tracker Pixel for Entry
Latest News
more news →