Holland secures triathlon world title
She may have struggled to beleive it but Vicky Holland has no choice but to accept the glory of her new standing as a triathlon world champion.
The 32-year-old Olympic bronze medallist held her nerve in the 2018 ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final on Australia’s Gold Coast to clinch a second-placed finish, enough to take the women's title.
As South Brisbane native Ashleigh Gentle won on the day, Holland came home in 1:52:02 ahead of third-placed Katie Zaferes (1:52.33) and that was enough to overhaul the American in the overall standings, the British athlete enjoying a winning cushion of 62 points.
Holland insists it all came as a surprise, however.
"I can't actually believe it,” said Holland.
"I thought, at one point of the run, that it was done because there was quite a big gap there.
"I can't believe I brought it back in.
"This season, as a whole, has been absolutely incredible with three wins, two seconds and now the world title.
"It is so much more than I thought I would get out of the year.”
Holland claimed World Series victories in Leeds, Edmonton and Montreal during the 2018 season.
She also paid tribute to Zaferes, who pushed her all the way in the battle for glory. Holland added: "Katie has only been off the podium once this year and she is so strong across the board, swim, bike, run.
"It is really hard to beat someone who doesn’t have a weakness.
"I feel for her coming so close and being the leader most of the way through the year but I really wanted it and I am so delighted that I won it in the end.”
She wasn't the only Brit to enjoy a superb campaign, with 24-year-old Georgia Taylor-Brown finishing third in the women’s standings – she was eighth in Saturday's Grand Final, finishing in 1:53.31.
Jessica Learmonth and Jodie Stimpson, who was 10th on the Gold Coast, also secured finishes inside the overall top seven, ranking fifth and seventh respectively.