Laura Lindemann (GER) capped off her fairytale season in Edmonton when she upgraded her 2013 bronze medal for gold in the women’s Junior World Championship race at the Grand Final Edmonton.
“It was a very hard race,” Lindemann said. “The swim was good for me. The bike with the hill was really hard. I know the French girls from the Europeans and they are very fast. It was a hard race.”
In a near case of 2014 European Championships dejavu, Lindemann just edged out France’s dynamic duo of Audrey Merle and Cassandre Beaugrand for the title. While Beaugrand took bronze at the European event, she out sprinted teammate Merle on Friday to snatch silver, leaving Merle to finish third.
“I am happy about the race because we are two French on the podium but I am a bit disappointed because she (Lindemann) out sprints us again,” said Merle. “I knew before the race it would be the same race (as European Championships) so I was not surprised to see Lindemann out the front.”
“I can’t be really disappointed with this medal because I was hit by a car on Monday and wasn’t sure if I could even start.”
Taylor Knibb (USA) took an early lead in the one-lap 750m swim, but Lindemann, who was determined to improve last year’s podium position, positioned herself on Knibb’s hip for a near line to line win. The young German ditched her wetsuit in record time to get out on the bike ahead of the field.
Sophie Coldwell (GBR) took control of the bike early on, positioning herself at the helm of the group. The brash Brit pushed out a furious pace over the first lap to open a 40 second gap over the chase. Together with Knibb, Lindemann, Beaugrand, Merle, Avery Evenson (USA), and Melanie Santos (POR), Coldwell continued to charge up the hill each of the four bike laps for a minute advantage as they headed out on the run.
But Coldwell couldn’t hold off the powerhouse runners Lindemann, Beaugrand and Merle off the bike. Lindemann took an early lead on the two-lap run in the hunt for another title to add to her name this summer.
With a final surge down the finish chute that held off Beaugrand, Lindemann became the new Junior World Champion in 1:02:35. Beaugrand crossed over next three seconds later, followed by Merle in 1:02:44.