Katie Zaferes
ITU Media

Katie Zaferes leads U.S. sweep of World Triathlon Series podium

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U.S. women’s triathlon is back to the same position as four years ago — dominating.

Rio Olympian Katie Zaferes led a podium sweep at a World Triathlon Series event in Yokohama, Japan, on Saturday. She was followed by two would-be first-time Olympians, Summer Rappaport and Taylor Spivey. Full results are here.

It’s the fourth U.S. women’s sweep in WTS history and the first since 2016. Zaferes was part of the U.S.’ rise to the top in the last Games cycle, when Gwen Jorgensen became the first American triathlete to win the Olympics and was twice joined on 2015 WTS podiums by Zaferes and Sarah True.

Jorgensen has converted to the marathon. True is now an Ironman-distance triathlete.

Zaferes kept steadily improving, moving from fifth to fourth to third to second in the WTS rankings the last four seasons. The 18th-place finisher in Rio has won all three events this season, pulling away from Rappaport in the last kilometer of Saturday’s 10km run to prevail by 21 seconds.

Rappaport (née Cook) led the last U.S. sweep two weeks after the Rio Games. Yokohama marked her return to the podium. Spivey reached her second podium in three 2019 races.

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Caster Semenya allowed to race 800m at Pre Classic

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Caster Semenya has been switched from the 3000m to the 800m at next week’s Pre Classic, marking her first scheduled 800m since a Swiss Supreme Court ruling allowed her to race her Olympic gold-medal distance while she appeals a new IAAF testosterone rule.

“Caster’s representation requested that she be moved from the 3,000 meters (where she was originally entered) to the 800 meters, and we are happy to comply,” Prefontaine Classic meet director Tom Jordan said in a statement, confirming a Reuters report.

NBC Sports airs live Pre Classic coverage on June 30 from 4-6 p.m. ET.

Semenya, the two-time Olympic 800m champion, was originally entered in the 3000m because the rule bars her from races between 400m and the mile unless she takes testosterone-suppressing measures, under which she would be allowed to return to those distances late this year. Semenya refuses to take those measures.

A Swiss Supreme Court ruling two weeks ago lifted the restriction for Semenya — but not other athletes — while her appeal is pending. The IAAF has until Monday to respond to the court before a ruling could be made. A resolution could still be months away, with Semenya possibly able to race until that day comes.

Semenya has won 30 straight 800m races dating to 2015, including the Rio Olympics and 2017 World Championships. All three Rio Olympic 800m medalists have said they are affected by the new rule capping testosterone in women’s races between the 400m and mile.

That meant none raced at Diamond League stops in Stockholm and Rabat, Morocco, earlier this month. Last Sunday’s Rabat meet offered Semenya a late invite, more than a week after her restriction was lifted, but Semenya said it was too late for her to travel in time to race.

American record holder Ajeé Wilson won the Stockholm 800m without any of the Olympic medalists in the field.

MORE: Caster Semenya to IAAF: Focus on dopers, not us

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Geraint Thomas crashes out of Tour de France prep race

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BASEL, Switzerland (AP) — Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas crashed in a cycling race, days after teammate Chris Froome was involved in a season-ending accident in France.

Team INEOS said Thomas should be fine to start the Tour de France on July 6 despite having to drop out of the fourth stage of the nine-day Tour de Suisse race in Switzerland.

“Clearly it’s frustrating and a small setback for my Tour de France preparations, but there’s still plenty of time before we start in Brussels in a few weeks’ time,” Thomas said, according to the team.

The team says on Twitter that Thomas “was alert and speaking to the team after the crash and will be taken to hospital for checks.”

Thomas had a ripped jersey and cuts on his back and shoulder after hitting the road with about 18 miles left in the stage. He was in eighth place, 28 seconds behind race leader Peter Sagan.

Thomas won the 2018 Tour after Froome won four times between 2013 and 2017.

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MORE: NBC Sports launches Cycling Pass for 2019-20 season

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