The Star - Spangled Banner was represented by more than one on the podium on Sunday as the USA women swept yet another podium in the 2015 ITU World Triathlon London. Gwen Jorgensen continued her undefeated record as she took home the gold medal to claim her tenth-straight WTS title. She was joined by fellow compatriots Katie Zaferes and Sarah True who earned the silver and bronze.
The USA sweep marked the second time this season that these three women have dominated the WTS podium—first time being the Gold Coast in April.
“We have a little bit of an American steam roller action going on, but every federation has its flows. The British have been on top of the world and the Aussies, but right now it is a pretty exciting moment for the US,” said True.
Proving that she can tackle all three disciplines with ease, Jorgensen showcased a consistent performance in the swim and bike that positioned her among the leaders. Heading into the run, her signature breakaway move was executed halfway through the first lap that carried her well into the finish line to tally yet another first-place honour.
“It was a hard one and really tough but I was pleasantly surprised where I came out of the swim and thankfully everyone in our group was working together and USA 1-2-3, I am hoping they have three flags to fly today when they play the national anthem,” said Jorgensen.
The second-place finish for Zaferes came after she took a break from the circuit and missed Yokohama. But the break proved unfaltering as she has podiumed in every race competed in.
Zaferes said, “I am really happy with my consistency and you know I was on a roll and then I took a break so coming into this race I didn’t know what I could do but I am really happy I pulled it off again.”
London allowed for some chilly-weather conditions that added wetsuits to the uniform. Despite nearly missing the final buoy on the one-lap swim, Carolina Routier (ESP) was the top first athlete out of the water followed closely by all of the top US women including Zaferes, Groff and Jorgensen.
The group, along with Margit Vanek (HUN), Sophie Coldwell (GBR) and veteran Ainhoa Murua(ESP), managed to break away early on the first lap of the bike to earn a half minute gap over the chase that included nearly 30 women.
Although the chase contained talented cyclists like Andrea Hewitt (NZL) and Barbara Riveros (CHI), the large train of women couldn’t manage to chip away at the 30-second deficit. While Great Britain’s Vicky Holland hammered away in the chase, teammate Non Stanford, who won the World Championship title on this course two years ago, slipped into the second chase and couldn’t recover in time for a repeat podium performance.
Immediately after the second transition, the three US women capitalized on the short two-lap sprint to gain a steady lead that remained until the end. While Jorgensen pushed ahead to secure the gold, Zaferes and True ran side-by-side in a battle for who would take the next medal. Ultimately it was Zaferes who was able to push a tiny bit more energy in the end to take the second-podium position.
Closing a once substantial gap, Holland and Aileen Reed (IRL) threw out a phenomenal run and were able to finish at fourth and fifth respectably.
Making his home country proud, Alistair Brownlee (GBR) captured a breakaway win at the 2015 ITU World Triathlon London on Sunday. With the familiar crowd cheering him on in Hyde Park as he crossed the finish line at 50:39, the Brit was able to tally his second WTS victory of the season.
“I didn’t expect that at all after struggling through two races so far,” Alistair said. “I just went for it, I the gap very quickly and got into my stride. I felt really good. I was just delighted to actually be able to race to the best of my ability. I’m delighted to win, but really I’m just pleased that I felt good.”
Taking the silver medal was Spain’s Fernando Alarza, who claimed his first WTS podium of the year. He was followed by Vincent Luis of France with the bronze. Luis’ performance earned him his third podium position of the season after a second-place finish in Abu Dhabi and third-place finish in Cape Town earlier in the year.
Lining up for the sprint race, the typical London weather left the men with particularly cold-temperature conditions to get through the short one-lap swim, four-lap bike and two-lap run course. Wetsuits in tow, Henri Schoeman (RSA) and Richard Varga (SVK) led the 750-kilometre swim and into the first transition.
Despite coming out of the water with a respectable position, home turf advantage could not swing in favour of Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) as a mechanical problem on the bike forced him to lose his momentum and leaderboard position.
The bike malfunction saw the younger Brownlee fall more than a minute behind on the first of four laps.
“I got on the bike and I heard a shout that I had a puncture,” Jonathan said. “It took me a while to change it and the wheel was catching the whole way around on the brakes, and the race was gone from there. When I was that far behind, even though I ran as fast as I could. I was fit and I wanted to show it today.”
Meanwhile older brother Alistair led the lead pack around Hyde Park alongside the likes of Aaron Royle (AUS) and Vincent Luis (FRA) in an 18-man pack.
Expert sprinters Mario Mola (ESP) and Richard Murray (RSA) also missed the first group and were forced to start from a deficit on the two-lap run.
Luis and Brownlee continued their quest for a podium as they took the top spot early on the 2-lap run. But Alistair left nothing to chance and blasted away on the first lap to create an insurmountable gap. A gap that would lead him right into the finish line and right into the position of hearing Great Britain’s national anthem alongside his national people.
With two medals still up for grabs, the last lap of the run saw a battle between Alarza, Luis and Ryan Baile (AUS) all pushing til the end. But ultimately it was Alarza and Luis who were able to exert a last-minute effort to take home the silver and bronze.
“I have always been close to the podium, but never on it. I like London, I’ve always raced well here, and I’m so happy to finally finish with a medal,” Alarza said. “The Spaniards have been working hard for a long time. I’m from the same generation as Mario, but he had success before me, and of course someone like Javi has paved the way for us.”
Despite his absence, Javier Gomez Noya (ESP) maintained his Columbia Threadneedle leader position in the rankings after winning his first WTS race in Yokohama, Japan on May 16.
Text and Images Courtesy: ITU