American professional middle-distance star and IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion Taylor Knibb managed to hold it together at the second edition of the PTO Tour US Open, where she got the better of PTO Queen Ashleigh Gentle for a famous victory.
Knibb, who was on the front foot all day in Milwaukee after coming out of the water near the leaders, took control of the race on the bike. She then maintained her advantage on the run, putting together the perfect race to stay ahead of a world-class field which included 2022 US Open winner Ashleigh Gentle Canadian star Paula Findlay.
Winning her first PTO Tour event, Knibb proved her versatility over every trip from sprint up to the middle distance, as she took the tape in utterly dominant fashion in Wisconsin to go one better than her US Open result in 2022.
Swim – Brandon leads the way
Out of the water, American Lauren Brandon led the way, as the PTO World #55 put her mark on the race early on and opened up a gap of close to +0:30 over Knibb and Kiwi Rebecca Clarke.
American Haley Chura and Boulder-based Brit Holly Lawrence were out of the water at +0:43 and +0:57 respectively, as Aussies Gentle and Ellie Salthouse plus Canadian Paula Findlay and Brits India Lee and Lucy Byram were the only other athletes within two minutes of the front.
Further back, British superstar Kat Matthews and the fastest runner in the sport Tamara Jewett were around +2:30 back, with other dangerous runners such as South African Jeanni Metzler and World Long Course Champion Marjolaine Pierre coming into transition on the shoulder of Matthews and Jewett.
Bike – Knibb dominant
Out of T1, Knibb wasted no time in making her way to the front of the race, as the Trek-Segafredo Team rider promptly caught and passed Brandon.
As the bike leg progressed, Knibb opened her lead over the chase pack, which was initially led by Findlay and driven by Salthouse and Gentle.
Further back, Britain’s Lucy Byram flew by the chase pack and put herself into pole position to challenge some of the most established athletes on the start list, with the British youngster taking the race by the scruff of the neck and getting the jump over the likes of Findlay and Gentle.
Into T2, Knibb was +1:27 ahead of Byram and +1:35 ahead of Findlay, with pre-race favourite Gentle only +2:48 behind the lead. Lee and Salthouse were also within three minutes of Knibb as they headed out on to the run.
Run – Taylor keeps it all together
Out on the run course, and after setting a solid tempo initially, Knibb managed to hold out for a gap of over +1:15 ahead of the rest of the field, as Findlay moved herself clear and secured her spot on the podium in third.
Byram trailed further back, with Aussie and former PTO Tour US Open winner Gentle facing a challenging deficit by the time she got out on to the run leg.
Knibb held on in terrific fashion to secure her first ever PTO Tour win as she held off Gentle by a comfortable 51 seconds. Findlay was the best of the rest in third place, more than four minutes behind the new US Open champion.
PTO Tour US Open Women’s Results 2023
Saturday August 5, 2023, Milwaukee (USA):
- 1. Taylor Knibb (USA) – 3:32:58
- 2. Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) – 3:33:49
- 3. Paula Findlay (CAN) – 3:37:43
- 4. Lucy Byram (GBR) – 3:39:53
- 5. Holly Lawrence (GBR) – 3:40:09