Taylor-Brown and Coldwell make podium after Yee and Brownlee crash out in Leeds

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Georgia Taylor-Brown and Sophie Coldwell took second and third at the AJ Bell 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series Leeds
Georgia Taylor-Brown and Sophie Coldwell took second and third at the AJ Bell 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series Leeds

Georgia Taylor-Brown led Sophie Coldwell home for a British two-three at the AJ Bell 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series Leeds after home favourites Jonny Brownlee and Alex Yee crashed out in the men’s race, writes Josh Graham.

Olympic silver medallist Taylor-Brown maintained her place at the top of the World Series rankings as she showed her class to recover from a scrappy start to take silver behind France’s eventual winner Cassandre Beaugrand, who survived a late 10-second penalty for mounting her bike before the line.

Taylor-Brown was delighted to share the stage with compatriot Coldwell who matched her efforts from 12 months ago by taking third despite having led for large portions of the race.

Taylor-Brown, 28, said: “It was really, really hard today. I had a really rubbish start, so I just had to make sure that didn’t get to me. I just had to think, ‘Okay we are over that now, let’s move on and just try and work hard throughout.’

“The bike didn’t really get moving but Sophie was incredible at the front, she was just pulling more and more time away. I thought ‘Oh god, that is ridiculous!’

“I’m so proud of Soph today, and it’s so nice to share the podium with another Brit.”

Coldwell skipped Yokohama where Taylor-Brown took gold in May as part of her focus on the Commonwealth Games and said: “It feels pretty epic. I don’t know why I was so nervous coming into this race. I’m so glad to be back racing and to get back on the podium, especially here.

“Once we got on the bike and there was a gap, I thought ‘well I might as well commit to it now.’ So I just gave it everything I’ve got.

“I probably paid a bit for it on the run but it’s one of those things that if I’d got caught in the big pack then I probably wouldn’t have got a medal. So, I thought I better commit now and hope I can get away.”

Britain had three in the top five as Beth Potter joined Taylor-Brown in rampaging through the field on the 5km run, narrowly failing to overhaul American Taylor Spivey in fourth after a sprint finish.

Elsewhere, Sian Rainsley took 15th while debutant Kate Waugh finished 29th on the course three miles from where she lives.

Earlier last year’s winner Yee and local hero Brownlee had their races ended on the bike after a crash at the top of the hill while Tom Bishop, a Leeds resident, took 33rd and Grant Sheldon finished 40th in front of vocal home support.

Eventual race winner Hayden Wilde, who Yee narrowly outsprinted to take the World Series win in Yokohama in May, sportingly took responsibility for the collision and apologised to the British duo after the race.

The New Zealander said: “It’s a bittersweet victory to be honest, there was part of that collision which was probably my fault.

“I just really want to apologise to Jonny Brownlee and Alex Yee, and my team-mate (Dylan McCullough) who I actually collided into a little bit, on the uphill there was a lot of speed going through there and we just caught that momentum and the guys went down behind me.”

Brownlee later revealed on social media that he had broken his elbow while Yee confirmed he escaped serious injury but was left with a cracked bike frame and helmet.

Brownlee will not compete in Sunday’s mixed relay, the first time the event has been held in Leeds and the reason Saturday’s races were held over the shorter sprint distance, with Yee also a doubt for the discipline which saw the duo win Olympic gold in Tokyo alongside Taylor-Brown and Jess Learmonth, who is absent this weekend with a hip injury.

The AJ Bell 2022 World Triathlon Leeds made its return to the city for the sixth time and if you’ve been inspired to take part visit https://www.britishtriathlon.org/get-involved/what-is-triathlon

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