Jeanne Lehair was a surprise winner at Super League Triathlon London, as the Luxembourger finished ahead of Britain’s Sophie Coldwell in second and American Taylor Spivey in third as Tim Don‘s Team Santara Tech Eagles clinched the first win of the series.
Racing over the Enduro format, which is made up of three back-to-back triathlons comprising of a 300m swim, 4km bike and 1.6km run, the 2023 Super League Championship Series got underway in London as new teams and new athletes kicked off their campaign.
Racing for individual honours as well as team points, the series will see athletes race across three different continents, with events in London, Toulouse, Malibu and the Grand Final in Neom, Saudi Arabia. Last year, Great Britain’s Georgia Taylor-Brown was the winner of the series, but was absent through injury for the first stage in London.
Stage 1 – Sharks push the pace early on
Leading out of the swim early on, Great Britain’s Coldwell looked to have bounced back from a disappointing race at the Paris Olympic Test Event ten days ago, as the Loughborough based Brit was joined in transition by training partner Olivia Mathias and fellow Brit Kate Waugh.
As Coldwell was first out on the bike, British based Team Sharks earned the first short chute of the season, as all of the main contenders, including American Spivey and Britain’s Test Event winner Beth Potter made it into the front pack, with America’s Kirsten Kasper also making the break.
Team RTS Warriors star Spivey was the the first off the bike, followed closely by Potter, Waugh, Kasper, Mathias, Coldwell and British athlete Jessica Fullagar, before the gaps began to appear further back. As Spivey took the short chute for the Warriors out of T2, Jeanne Lehair was the first of the chase pack into transition, +0:13 back.
Over the course of the first run, Potter made up a small gap to have a healthy lead of a handful of seconds into the second stage, with the rest of the group remaining intact with the addition of Lehair. Rounding out the Top 10 heading into the second swim were Summer Rappaport of the USA and Kiwi Nicole Van Der Kaay, over twenty seconds in arrears.
Stage 2 – Front group splinters as cracks start to show
As Potter made use of her early lead into the water, the rest of the front pack, despite stringing out thanks to the pace set by Spivey in the water, managed to stay together, with eight seconds splitting the front group into transition. Making the most of a quick transition, Spivey jumped on to the back wheel of Potter as the second leg of biking got underway.
The front group of eight, navigating the tight and technical bike course competently, continued to put time into the athletes behind them, as the back markers fell foul to the 90 second rule, which states that any athlete who falls more than a minute and a half behind the front is eliminated from the race.
On to the run for the second time, Spivey and Potter looked to be itching to breakaway from the group, with Coldwell tracking the leading pair throughout the early stages of the second run as Spivey and Coldwell were awarded the short chutes from their team managers. Opening a gap on Fullagar, Kasper and Mathias, a group of five were now at the pointy end of the race, with the addition of Waugh and Lehair to Coldwell, Potter and Spivey.
Stage 3 – Lehair clinches it
Knowing that Potter holds the trump card on the run, Spivey and Coldwell managed to open up a small gap on the Scottish Olympian into transition, as the American started to distance herself from her main rival over the early stages of the bike, with Coldwell seemingly reluctant to breakaway from her teammate Potter.
In a great bit of domestique work, Waugh managed to bridge the gap up to Coldwell and Spivey with Potter on her wheel, as the leading duo become a quartet and left it all to play for on to the run, as remarkably once again Lehair clawed herself back to the front pack after being dropped in the early stages of the swim and bike.
As Potter began to falter, the race seemed to be on between Coldwell, Spivey and Lehair, with the Warriors and Sharks athletes utilising their short chute but unable to shake Lehair, as the Luxembourg Olympic hopeful put together an incredible final lap of the run to claim victory after leaving herself with so much work to do on more than one occasion.
In second place, Coldwell got redemption after her tough day out in Paris and was the best Brit on the day, just out sprinting Spivey who earned the final spot on the podium, having worked so hard throughout the race at the front. In fourth was Potter, followed closely by her teammate Waugh as the RTP Sharks dominated.
Super League Triathlon London 2023 Women’s Results – Sunday August 27
- Jeanne Lehair (LUX) – 49:51
- Sophie Coldwell (GBR) – 49:53
- Taylor Spivey (USA) – 49:54
- Beth Potter (GBR) – 50:02
- Kate Waugh (GBR) – 50:06
- Olivia Mathias (GBR) – 50:44
- Jessica Fullagar (GBR) – 50:50
- Katie Zaferes (USA) – 50:52
- Nicole Van Der Kaay (NZL) – 51:02
- Summer Rappaport (USA) – 51:06