Taylor Knibb Impervious In Winning T100 San Francisco

Saturday 08 June 2024

American Taylor Knibb was dominant in winning the San Francisco T100 today on the iconic Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon course today.

She was second out of the water, but quickly took the lead on the bike from Switzerland’s Imogen Simmonds and went on to register an impressive victory by just under 4 minutes.

She was humble speaking afterwards on a performance described by triathlon GOAT Jan Frodeno on the TV commentary as “equanimous’ – calm and composed to you and I.

“It did not feel easy but it is a great course and atmosphere out there – and I was very grateful to do this race today.”

“On the swim I dove in, probably a little late, and the one thing I’d been given advice on was that you dive into the water and everyone disperses and that didn’t happen. But it was like, get to the end, figure it out, and I saw Imogen, she got 30 seconds on everyone, and I thought ‘oh my God’. But I think seeing the men really helped because I was ready for everyone to be there [together].”

“Once I was in the lead [on the bike], I wasn’t descending very well, I wasn’t taking the corners very well but I was trying to be better each lap. So, I think on the fifth lap I finally nailed the one turn into the curb, uphill.”

On her 18km run, she said: “Well I just wanted to execute a good run and run well and see how it was, like see how it was after each lap and make decisions from there.”

Second placed Brit Kat Matthews, who made a late dash to San Francisco after her disqualification in Hamburg last weekend, was pleased with her performance.

“I’m pretty proud. I’m glad to have been able to have given Taylor a training day out before her Olympic prep begins,” she said with a smile on her face.

Asked if she hadn’t got the rub of the green this year so far, Matthews responded:

“I’m not sure I’ve had the luckiest two years to be honest. But I think there was something special about this. I had so much energy for this after my dramas from last weekend and maybe a good long taper actually suits me.”

“This race feels like I’ve just got back level – a redemption of my own personal performance. I’m still now desperate for that personal satisfaction to go more, to go higher.”

How The Race Unfolded

The women’s San Francisco T100 race got underway with a dive from the San Francisco Spirit into icy sea waters known to play host to sharks. As with the men, it was a choppy affair in San Francisco Bay but canny use of the currents saw Imogen Simmonds (SUI) meet dry land in first place, clocking 17:00 in the water – 23 seconds ahead of pre-race favourite and T100 debutant Taylor Knibb (USA).

Despite the challenging gradients of the 80km bike leg, Knibb – recently crowned the US national time trial champion – was soon in the lead and pulling away from every other woman. By halfway into the bike course, Knibb’s lead to second-place Kat Matthews (GBR) was over 2 minutes, the Brit clearly positioning herself as the best of the rest. Laura Philipp (GER), Simmonds and Paula Findlay (CAN) were the only other challengers within 4 minutes of the leader.

From there, Knibb’s inexorable pace on two wheels just continued to pad her advantage in a showing that’s sure to strike fear into her Olympic competitors in both the triathlon and cycling time trial in Paris. 3:45 at 15km to go and 4:45 as she entered a lonely transition area, Knibb was truly showing her once-in-a-generation talent.

With impressive pace for an athlete considered a swim-biker just a couple of years ago, Knibb continued to dominate once she’d laced up her running shoes, lapping athletes over 4km behind her on the course.

Behind, Matthews was running with her usual aplomb while Emma Pallant-Browne (GBR) picked off a couple of places in a fleet-footed performance.

Facing no threat to her maiden T100 victory, Knibb took in the crowd’s adulation on her way to a 3:38:01 finish, earning 35 points and $25,000.

Matthews’ run pedigree shone through, the Brit a minute faster than Knibb on two feet, but was still 3:45 behind when she claimed 2nd to score 28 points and $16,000.

Philipp ran strongly to maintain her podium position, beginning her T100 season with 25 points and $12,000.

Likewise, Simmonds stayed in the 4th place position she’d been holding since T2 for 22 points. Meanwhile, Pallant-Browne put her first 20 points on the board to round out the top 5.

The next T100 race will be in London on 27-28 July.

P.T.O.


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