Georgia Taylor-Brown admits she battled through the pain barrier to grab a gutsy win and climb to the top of the World Triathlon Championship Series table in Yokohama.
The two-time Tokyo 2020 medallist, 28, delivered a searing run to open up a commanding advantage and cross the line ahead of French star Leonie Periault.
Olympic champion Flora Duffy claimed the final spot on the podium while in the men’s event, fellow two-time Tokyo medallist Alex Yee emulated Taylor-Brown to win his first event of the campaign.
Taylor-Brown on the home strait after Yokohama win
Yee - who joined forces with Taylor-Brown, Jonny Brownlee and Jess Learmonth to win mixed relay Olympic gold in Japan - narrowly toppled New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde after edging a pulsating sprint battle on the final straight.
Yee moved up to ninth in the overall World Triathlon Championship Series rankings while Taylor-Brown, who won individual silver in Tokyo, leapfrogged Antonio Serrat Seoane at the women’s summit after three races.
And the Manchester star Taylor-Brown, whose triumph came in the first World Triathlon Championship Series race of the calendar year, said: "I'd like to say it feels amazing but it actually just feels really painful!
"I went out hard because I thought it is the first race [of 2022] and I've got nothing to lose.
"They got back on to me after a lap but I just told myself to sit on it and empty everything out."
Taylor-Brown came flying out of the blocks on the run to leapfrog Dutch leader Maya Kingma.
She was soon dragged back in by the chasing pack but gritted her teeth when it mattered to soar to a fine triumph and usurp Spanish star Serrat Seoane at the top of the table.
Yee, 24, was similarly forced to battle as he won a thriller against Tokyo bronze medallist Wilde.
Both men just could not be separated heading into the closing stages but Lewisham ace Yee - who beat Wilde to silver in Tokyo last summer - hit the accelerator with the finish line looming to pip his rival to glory.
French star Leo Bergere - the overall series leader after three races in Hamburg, Abu Dhabi and Yokohama - finished third as Yee racked up a maximum 1000 point haul in his maiden event of the season.
Taylor-Brown on the home strait after Yokohama win
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