Taylor Knibb and Marten Van Riel star at San Francisco T100

After winning in memorable fashion, Taylor and Marten turn their attentions to Paris

They couldn’t have won more differently, but Taylor Knibb and Marten Van Riel both made major statements at Round 3 of the T100 Triathlon Series in San Francisco on Saturday.

Van Riel won in one of the tightest triathlon finishes you’ll ever see — especially at that distance. In a three-way sprint, after more than three hours of racing, he came from behind to beat Kyle Smith at the tape. Smith appeared to have the win in the closing meters, but Van Riel gutted out the final steps of his run to take victory by a margin that couldn’t have been much larger than just a few centimeters.

“One of the most iconic triathlons in the world, and this year it was a T100, so 20 of the best athletes in the world were on the starting line,” Van Riel said. “The swim was already really hard. The bike was even harder. It’s a super hard course. Steep uphills. Difficult downhills. And then on the run I actually suffered a lot. But in the last 200 meters I found a little bit of extra energy, and could take the victory. I’m super, super, super happy with that.”

Taylor Knibb crossing the finish line nearly four minutes ahead of her closest competitors. | Photo: That Cameraman/T100

Knibb simply dominated. She was just 13 seconds out of the lead after the swim, then proceeded to storm through the field on the bike, posting the fastest leg by 4:46 over 80 kilometers. She then had the third fastest run to finish the race comfortably — 3:47 over second-place Kat Matthews. 

“It was a six loop bike course, so I tried to get better with corners, gear choice, and overall execution each lap through a bit of trial and error,” Knibb said. “Then I just wanted to execute a good run. It was definitely motivating that my gap from the ride was holding for the most part.”

Marten Van Riel winning by mere centimeters after more than three hours of racing. | Photo: T100/Polizzi Studio

Taylor ripping off the fastest women's bike leg by nearly five minutes. | Photo: T100/Polizzi Studio

San Francisco was a key performance indicator for two athletes who will now turn their attention to a very busy summer. Both Van Riel and Knibb will be headed to Paris in July for the 2024 Summer Olympics. Knibb will participate in the women’s road time trial event in addition to triathlon after winning the U.S. national women’s time trial title in May

San Francisco continued what has been a career year for both athletes. With the win, Van Riel is now 5-for-5 in middle-distance triathlons in his career. Earlier this year, Knibb won by 11 minutes at Ironman 70.3 Oceanside, and she took second at the Olympic-distance World Triathlon Championship Series race in Yokohama. She finished 11th at WTCS Cagliari, a disappointing result by her standards, but her performance in San Francisco was a major bounce back and boost in confidence.

Taylor will be a dual-sport Olympian this summer. | Photo: That Cameraman/T100

Marten is undefeated in middle-distance triathlons. | Photo: That Cameraman/T100

“I wasn’t too pleased with my race in Cagliari, so it’s nice to have a better race under my belt before my preparation period for the big goal for the year begins,” Knibb said. “I was just very grateful to be able to do this race.”

All eyes will be on Van Riel and Knibb in Paris, where they should be among the favorites to take home medals. If Saturday was an indication, they’re ready.