Every time Taylor Knibb has raced in the past year, she’s pulled out a new surprise. First there was her stunning upset at the World Triathlon Championship Series (WTCS) race in Yokohama, where the 23-year-old came out of seemingly nowhere to clinch the final automatic qualifying spot on the U.S. Olympic triathlon team. Then came the Olympics, where Knibb placed a respectable 16th in the individual women’s race and earned a silver medal in the mixed relay. Seven days later, she took second place in her first-ever Ironman 70.3 race, then followed it up with second place at the WTCS Montreal and a win at the Edmonton Grand Final.
But the biggest surprise to date took place at this weekend’s Collins Cup, where Knibb beat four-time Ironman World Champion Daniela Ryf in head-to-head competition. Knibb didn’t just finish first, she won by more than 16 minutes. Oh, and she did it while riding a road bike with clip-on aerobars.
Needless to say, people are taking notice—and starting to wonder what next month’s 70.3 World Championships on the hilly St. George course could look like with Knibb on the start list right now for that too. During and after the Collins Cup, triathlon Twitter morphed into a Taylor Knibb fan club. Here are some of our favorite #KnibbMania tweets from the day (though it should be noted: the timing was off, she didn’t actually bike just six minutes slower than Jan Frodeno, but still!):
Impressive riding by Knibb. Disc on a roadie….old skool
— Rob Dallimore (@Mr_Rob_Dobolina) August 28, 2021
— Bob Babbitt (@Bob_Babbitt) August 28, 2021
Taylor Knibb has probably posted the day’s fastest women’s split on a road bike with clip-ons. Not a single person I spoke to this week thought that was possible – and there are one or two experts in Samorin. #CollinsCup
— Tim Heming (@Timheming) August 28, 2021
Taylor Knibb on a road bike only rode 6.49 mins slower than Jan Frodeno… My mind is blown… Wow!!! #collinscup
— Ailbhe Carroll (@ailbhedoodle) August 28, 2021
— Samantha Sloan (@SimonSaySam) August 28, 2021
— Sarah Otey (@sarah_otey) August 28, 2021
Finish times across the women’s race @TheCollinsCup
Going to be some interesting dynamics for the upcoming @IRONMANtri 70.3 World Champs in St. George on a very different course!
— jordan blanco (@jordanblancoSF) August 28, 2021
@taylorknibb to get that result with her relative lack of experience was amazing. To do it on a road bike, on such a flat course? Mind-blowing!
— Matt AP (@SwimLikeBrick) August 28, 2021
Every top woman in triathlon is frantically texting her bike sponsor begging them to not give Taylor Knibb a TT bike. Ha! @iamspecialized needs to get the speedy woman a real non-draft weapon asap!
— Scott Wright (@sawpgh) August 28, 2021
— brad culp (@bbculp) August 28, 2021
— Barry Siff (@bsiff) August 28, 2021
— The Streak Podcast (@streakpodcast) August 28, 2021
— Lisa Norden (@lisanorden) August 28, 2021
What did that take? Check out Taylor Knibb’s winning swim and bike workouts.