Canada’s Stefan Daniel punched the tape as he crossed the finish line first, while the home crowd cheered on Emily Tapp to victory as 12 world champions were crowned on a busy Saturday (15 September) at the 2018 World Triathlon Grand Final in Gold Coast, Australia.
Rebound from Rio
Stefan Daniel (57:43) produced a brilliant run in the men’s PTS5 class to earn the third world title of his career. He held off German rival and Rio 2016 Paralympic gold medallist Martin Schulz by a minute. Great Britain’s George Peasgood followed Schulz 30 seconds later for bronze.
It was a tremendous battle between the trio, with Peasgood leading the men out of the water and staying out front off the bike. But with 2km to go, Daniel made the breakaway to cross the finish line first.
“This title is a bit more special than the others,” Daniel said. “I have faced quite a bit this year and haven’t raced well until now so it is a big relief more than anything. I didn’t really expect it today. In mid-July I sat down with my coaches and my parents and I just tried to find the love of the sport again. I had been struggling, so I have just taken every day and enjoyed it and putting less pressure on myself going into races has made a big difference.”
Great Britain’s Lauren Steadman (1:07:27) won the women’s PTS5 to cap a brilliant year. The new world champion went one better than her silver in Rotterdam, Netherlands a year ago, thanks to a superb bike stage that saw her take charge of the race. Claire Cashmore completed a one-two British finish. The USA’s 2017 world champion Grace Norman came in third, with about a minute separating the top three.
“I’ve had a really hard couple of years since Rio and I felt like I was written off by everyone,” Steadman said. “With my new coach I have achieved consistency and nailed everything this year. I wasn’t expecting to win but I knew I would try my best and it was enough. … There is still more to come and I have more technique work to do, but I’m really chuffed and just want to say thanks to everyone who has helped me get here.”
Home atmosphere an extra boost
Australia’s Emily Tapp (1:08:58) mastered the course to claim the women’s PTWC gold medal, going one better than her Commonwealth Games silver earlier in the year.
“I have targeted this for a while so to put it all together makes me so happy,” Tapp said.
“This is the athlete that I would have hoped to have been at the Commonwealth Games but to do it at a World Championship and defend my title was my focus.”
Despite a quicker final section, Japan’s Wakako Tsuchida could not make up the ground on Tapp, crossing the line second a minute later and three minutes ahead of another Australian, Lauren Parker.
Jetze Plat (57:03) again displayed his dominant form in the men’s PTWC. The Dutchman collected his third world title after a phenomenal race that he dominated from beginning to the end.
The Paralympic gold medallist was first out of the water to then ride solo for the 20km on the handbike. When it finally came to the racing wheelchair, Plat had just over a minute over his teammate Geert Schipper, who came in second. British Marine Commando Joe Townsend won the battle for third.
“I’m really happy, it’s nice to take the win and a third title - and outside of Holland,” said Plat.
Allysa Seely (1:17:54) crowned a near-flawless 2018 with the world title, as the US Paralympic champion held off a stiff challenge from Britain’s Fran Brown to go one better than her silver in Rotterdam in the women’s PTS2. Brown, too, improved by a place on her last Grand Final performance, finishing a minute ahead of another US triathlete Hailey Danz.
“I was looking for redemption from second place last year,” Seely said.
"It is incredible to now have a third World Championship title, it is something I never dreamed or imagined, and it is a really good step towards Tokyo because that is the end goal here.”
Mark Barr (1:06:35) gave the US another title after carving out over a minute lead in the water in the men’s event. Great Britain’s Andy Lewis made significant headway on that gap across the duration of the 20km bike and again on the run, but ultimately ran out of track and settled silver. France’s Jules Ribstein was third.
“You have to race scared when you have a world champion and gold medallist on your heels and people were coming hard on the bike and closing ground on me but you just hammer as much as you can,” Barr said.
Spain’s Susana Rodriguez (1:06:32) and Great Britain’s Dave Ellis (59:51) captured the women and men’s PTVI titles, respectively
In the women’s race, Rodriguez and Great Britain’s Alison Patrick emerged from the water together but it was a swift transition from the Spaniard that gave her the advantage and a precious lead that she was able to build upon to ensure her second world title. Australia’s Katie Kelly took bronze.
“Our last title was in 2012 but since then Para triathlon has grown a lot and the competition increased,” Rodriguez said with her guide Paula Godino. “It is our first year together training and it’s difficult to manage our schedules as she has a young baby so I’m very pleased to win this.”
Ellis had led through the swim but was caught by Australia’s Aaron Scheidies over a technical bike course during which Spain’s Hector Catala also gained ground. But by the time Ellis had found his way out of transition and kicked through an impressive first of the 5km on foot, his title of world champion looked assured. Scheidies and Catala finished second and third, respectively.
Good day for Great Britain
Hannah Moore (1:13:23) continued the British Grand Final success as she became the women’s PTS4 world champion. A strong swim set her well on course for victory before she opened up an unassailable lead on the bike despite the best efforts of Sally Pilbeam. The Australian crossed the line for silver thanks to a brilliant run that saw Japan’s 2017 world champion Mami Tani pushed down into bronze.
In the men’s race, France’s Alexis Hanquinquant (1:01:15) took the tape well ahead of Spain’s Alejandro Palomero. Haninquant managed to get 45 seconds of daylight between himself and the Spaniard during the swim. Luxembourg’s Joe Kurt took bronze.
In the women’s PTS3, Russia’s Anna Plotnikova* (1:20:32) was able to gain revenge on France’s Elise Marc as she wrestled the title of world champion from the woman who beat her a year ago in Rotterdam. Ireland’s Cassie Cava completed the podium.
In the men’s race, Spain’s Daniel Molina (1:07:30) claimed his second world title in a row after a consistent performance that saw him lead from beginning to end. Behind him, British Ryan Taylor claimed the silver medal, while German Max Gelhaar finished in third.
Complete results of the 2018 World Triathlon Grand Final are available on the International Triathlon Union (ITU) website.
*Editor's note: The International Paralympic Committee suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee on 7 August 2016 for its inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code (to which it is also a signatory). As a result of the suspension, Russian athletes cannot enter IPC sanctioned events or competitions, including the Paralympic Games.