Duffy takes Super League Malibu, Taylor-Brown takes the Championship

Georgia Taylor-Brown topped the prize money standings at the Super League Triathlon Championship Series. Photo: Super League Triathlon Facebook

It promised to be an exciting day and it certainly was – the two wildcard additions to the final leg of the Super League Championship Series in Malibu added some excitement to the mix, not to mention that just one point separated the top two women for the overall title as Georgia Taylor-Brown was able to move ahead of her friend and series leader Jessica Learmonth.

It was hardly a surprise to see super-swimmer Lucy Charles-Barclay lead the way out of the water at the end of the first race, which earned her a “short chute,” but a bobble coming out of transition on the bike set the stage for the rest of her day – she wasn’t able to get in the breakaway group of Flora Duffy, Learmonth and Vittoria Lopes. Duffy would power through to take second “short chute” by leading after the bike of the first race, then remained out in front to take the first race ahead of Taylor-Brown, Learmonth and Charles-Barclay.

In the second race it was Duffy who led out of the water and once again Charles-Barclay wasn’t able to join up with the front group on the bike and had to watch Learmonth and Duffy ride away again. Those two cruised through the second run as Taylor-Brown ran her way to third in the second race, with Duffy once again leading across the finish line.

That set up an exciting final race that saw Duffy lose her swim lead at the last minute as Charles-Barclay managed to catch a huge wave to surge to the front once again. Once again the British 70.3 world champion wasn’t able to stay with the lead group on the bike as Duffy and Learmonth were joined by Taylor-Brown and American Katie Zaferes. Those four were able to pull well clear of the rest of the field, setting up an exciting final battle for both the overall race and the championship.

Duffy led into T2 and was in front starting the run along with Taylor-Brown and Zaferes. Rather than wait until the final opportunity to use the “short chute,” Duffy took it early, which put her ahead of Zaferes and Taylor-Brown, a lead that she wouldn’t surrender through the rest of the race. She would take the race win, with Taylor-Brown nailing second and Zaferes rounding out the podium. Learmonth needed to be only one spot behind her friend to take the title, but with Zaferes between the two it meant that she finished one point behind in the overall standings. Zaferes, who had been in a three-way tie for third in the standings nailed the final spot on the podium for both the day and the championship.

Photo: Super League Triathlon Facebook