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Holland claims victory in Duffy’s absence

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Looking up: Vicky Holland, of Britain, celebrates as she crosses the finish line in Leeds at the weekend

Flora Duffy dropped down to fourth place in the World Triathlon Series, after missing yesterday’s race in Leeds with a foot injury.

Vicky Holland, of Britain, won a third WTS gold in Yorkshire in front of almost 70,000 fans in Yorkshire, while Katie Zaferes, of the United States, took over the overall lead from Duffy after finishing third. Britain’s Georgia Taylor-Brown earned a maiden podium place by finishing second.

Zaferes now leads overall with 2,637 points, with Holland moving up from ninth to second with 2,384. Rachel Klamer, from the Netherlands, moved up from eighth to third, with 2,215 points after finishing fourth in Leeds.

Duffy is in fourth place on 2,000, which she accrued by finishing first in her only two events of the season — Bermuda in April and Yokohama, Japan, last month. Klamer won the only other race this season, in Abu Dhabi in March, in which Duffy and several others crashed out on the bike course.

Bermuda’s Commonwealth Games gold medal-winner is still in with a great chance of winning a third straight WTS title, though, as results from the top-five races count.

Holland crossed the line first in a time of 1hr 56min 32sec, with Taylor Brown 17 seconds behind. Zaferes took bronze in 1:57:02, with Klamer and France’s Leonie Periault a further 22 seconds behind. Britain’s Jess Learmonth was first out of the water, with Zaferes and fellow Americans Taylor Spivey and Summer Cook close behind.

Taylor-Brown and Sophie Coldwell, also from Britain lead a chasing pack on the second transition behind Zaferes, Learmonth and Spivey. with Cook dropping off.

Holland then closed in on the lead group on the run and took control on the final lap.

“That was the toughest podium so far for me,” said Holland after her first WTS win since 2015. “It was a yo-yo of a race and I don’t really know how but I managed to end up on top.

“It’s been nearly three years since I won a big race and I wasn’t sure that I would ever stand on top of a big podium like this again.”

Zaferes, who turned 29 on Saturday, agreed that it was a hard contest.

“That was my toughest podium yet for sure”, she said. “There were so many stages that I could have been done. I didn’t feel great on the bike and the technical sections were hard. My legs felt awful getting off the bike, but coming out as Series No 1 is a pretty good birthday present!”

The series moves to Hamburg, Germany, next on July 14.