Laura Lindemann executed the perfect race in Hamburg, from beginning to end, to claim her first ever Series victory, while young New Zealander Nicole Van Der Kaay took second and USA’s Summer Rappaport claimed the bronze medal.
It was Summer Rappaport who led the field out of the initial 750m swim, just ahead of Olivia Mathias (GBR) and Lindemann. However the chase group, including great swimmers like Zsanett Brtagmayer (HUN) and Kirsten Kasper (USA), managed to catch the three leaders when they were about to leave the first transition.
Out on the bike leg, the German team quickly took the lead and managed to put four of their athletes (Lindemann, Marlene Gomez-Islinger, Anabel Knoll and Lisa Tersch) up front, to try to stretch the group and create a breakaway. But with Kasper, Rappaport, Erika Ackerlund (USA), Sian Rainsley (GBR), Mathias and Kate Waugh (GBR) in there, it was clear that a breakaway was not going to be an easy task.
The lead group managed to open a significant gap with the chasers, though, and by the time the race was half way through, they had a gap of over 30 seconds, with Alberta Kjaer Pedersen (DEN) and Quinty Schoen (NED) leading the chase. The leaders powered on in the last three laps of the 20 km bike to enter transition with a lead of almost 40 seconds.
Much to the delight of the many spectators gathered in the city centre of Hamburg, it was local star Laura Lindemann who left T2 in the lead, followed close by Bragmayer, Rappaport and Nicole Van Der Kaay (NZL), who had a super efficient second transition, enough to put her in the leading pack. Behind them, the chase was on.
Knowing they had some really fast runners behind, it was just a matter of seconds for the four of them to increase the pace and start losing chasers, and by the time the athletes passed through transition for the last time before crossing the finish line, it was just three of them: Lindemann, Rappaport and Van Der Kaay, running shoulder to shoulder.
Cheered by the local crowds and with only 300 meters to go, Lindemann decided to add an extra gear and went for a final push, crossing the finish line in first place, her first ever victory at the Series and achieving the fastest running split of the day.
“I am so happy, I just can’t believe it. This was the perfect race for me”, said Lindemann. “My swim was good, the bike was good and during the run I just felt really good. On the second lap of the run, I just felt that I had the legs and just went for the best, and I made it”.
With her victory in Hamburg, Lindemann is also the new 2022 Maurice Lacroix World Triathlon Series Ranking Leader.
Just three seconds behind her, a delighted Van Der Kaay claimed silver, the best ever result of her career: “I don’t really have any words for it. I didn’t know what to expect from this race. I have never been on a podium for this, so I am over the moon really,” said Van der Kaay.
“It was a surprise for me to be up front, but I knew my running was in good form. I knew I was feeling good coming into this in peak form. Coming into the end I knew it would be tough, I’ve never been going for the podium let alone the gold, so I gave it my all and came away with second, so I am very happy”.
Bronze was taken by Rappaport, who claimed the sixth Series podium of her career in Hamburg. “It’s definitely a little bittersweet to get taken in the last few hundred metres of the race but I can’t complain about a podium. My season has been a bit up and down. This might be my last race (of the season) so it feels good to be closing out on a high note. I really wanted to race offensively and be as aggressive as possible, I definitely had some promising moments and then other moments when I needed to be on the gas a little bit more but overall, I am really proud of my execution,” she explained.