American Taylor Knibb wins under-23 women’s triathlon title

GOLD COAST, Australia (AP) — A strong bike segment from Taylor Knibb gave the American the under-23 women’s world triathlon title on Friday, beating Cassandre Beaugrand of France by more than a minute.

Knibb, from Washington, D.C., finished in 1 hour, 53 minutes, 47 seconds for the Olympic distance, with Beaugrand second in 1:55.22. Angelica Olmo of Italy was third in 1:56.39.

“I still can’t really believe it. I rode well, I think, I just tried to be smart,” Knibb, 20, said. “My coach had a very detailed plan going into the wind but then to maintain speed coming back. It has been a long season but I am happy to end it on a high.”

Nicole Van der Kaay of New Zealand was fourth and American Erika Ackerlund fifth.

In the men’s under-23 race, New Zealand’s Tayler Reid took gold with Britain’s Samuel Dickinson in second place and Bence Bicsak of Hungary finishing in third.

The elite women’s race is scheduled for Saturday and the elite men’s for Sunday.

Katie Zaferes of the U.S. leads the women’s overall standings with 4,418 points with Vicky Holland of Britain in second, 34 points behind.

Mario Mola of Spain, looking for his third consecutive World Series Triathlon title, leads the men’s standings with 4,925 points, with Jake Birtwhistle of Australia a distant second with 4,101.