It was a golden weekend for Bahrain Victorious 13 with an Ironman win for Kat Matthews and a World Cup win for Max Stapley.

Matthews successfully defended her Ironman North America Championship title in Texas on Saturday in a dramatic come-from-behind victory.

The British long-course champion hurdled challenges before and after the starting line to produce the win over two minutes faster than the rest of the field. Matthews was well-recovered from the calf tear that ended her T100 Miami race early last March, producing the day’s fastest marathon to negate the effects of a five-minute bike drafting penalty and a four-minute deficit on the swim.

It closely mirrored the circumstances of Matthews’ win last year, when she overhauled a nine-minute deficit after the bike to clinch victory in the final kilometres of the marathon. It had also been part of her comeback to racing after a car collision ruled her out of competing at the 2022 Ironman World Championship in Kona.

“I didn’t really think I would get to complete the entire race, to be honest. I’ve had an interesting and very optimistic build after suffering injury seven weeks ago so I didn’t really know what the run would hold,” she said. “There was something about returning as last year’s winner – it felt like the entire crowd was cheering for me.”

Along with retaining the title of Ironman North America Champion and securing her start at the Ironman World Championship in Nice, France, Matthews also drew first blood in the new Ironman Pro Series taking home the maximum 5,000 points toward the year-end standings and the opportunity to claim part of the $1.3 million bonus pool per gender and the top place bonus of $200,000.

Stapley claimed his first ever World Triathlon victory at the World Triathlon Cup Chengdu on Monday. The Olympic distance race was one of the few remaining World Cup stops in the Olympic qualifying period with a start list of heavy hitters hunting for their Paris 2024 berth, but Stapley proved more than up for the challenge.

The British rising star figured in a motivated breakaway on the bike, and held strong on the run in a final four-way battle with Tayler Reid (NZL), Jonas Schomburg (GER), and Mark Devay (HUN). On the final few kilometres, Stapley surged to take the lead with only Reid coming with him. But just as Reid came up to his shoulder for the pass, the Kiwi veered away vomiting from the exertion. Schomburg came past Reid, but Stapley stepped on the gas to leave no doubt about who would break the tape. Reid recovered enough to deny Devay the last spot on the podium.

Stapley said, “There were a few guys – we see each other in every race – in the break and we were gagging for it. So once [we had] gone I was just motivating the troops to get it going. If I would have finished 30th at least I would have committed to it. That’s how I want to race – swim, bike, run. If I die out on the course, I die out on the course.”

This coming weekend Lauren Parker lines up for the Paracycling World Cup race in Belgium, while Kate Waugh takes on some French Grand Prix racing.