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What we learned from the 2013 World Triathlon Grand Final London

19 September 2013 by Adam Petrie
What we learned from the 2013 World Triathlon Grand Final London

The 2013 World Triathlon Series came to end after a dramatic few days ago in London. Javier Gomez won his third world championship title to join a select few to have garnered as many titles, while Non Stanford became scored her first overall series win on home soil. If you didn’t catch the action (why not?), here’s a rundown of what you missed.

Home sweet home for British athletes
There’s something to be said for that home advantage. The Brits certainly do work in other countries, but their performances on home soil was something to behold. The home team was responsible for three medals (one gold) in the elite races, 15 (six gold) in the Paratriathlon and three (one gold) in the U23 and junior races. Add in the age-group races and Great Britain comfortably topped the medal tally with 76 medals, 30 more than the US, who had the second highest medal count.

Non Stanford is a record breaker

In overcoming a 15-second penalty to win the Grand Final and become world champion, Britain’s Non Stanford became the first woman to win an Elite ITU World Championship a year after winning the Under23 World Championship. The only other athlete to perform that feat? Alistair Brownlee (U23 in 2008 and Elite in 2009).

There’s no such thing as a safe bet
Just 13 points separated the top three ladies, which meant those three ladies were likely to have been on the World Triathlon Series overall podium. Much the same, Alistair Brownlee had won every single Grand Final he’s ever competed in, padding the stats in his favor. But the stars didn’t align for the projected leaders. Wet weather conditions played a factor in Gwen Jorgensen crashing out early on the bike, while Anne Haug‘s race was over before it started. Brownlee looked primed to continue his winning ways off the bike, but a nagging injury sidelined his podium chances when he was forced to job through the 10km run course in lieu of his normal superman speed. Just goes to show, it’s anybody’s race on any given day.

Tamara Gorman is only happy when it rains
Gorman produced a dominant all-round performance to claim her first ITU Junior Women’s World Championship in wet and cold conditions on Thursday. Gorman claimed bronze in similar conditions in the Junior Women’s World Championship race in Auckland last year. In London, she led out of the water and at the front of the bike before pulling away with the fastest run of the day to claim her first world title. A name to remember perhaps, and not just in the rain.

Bright future for the French

While the French team finished eight in the overall medal standings, two of their five medals were earned early in the week when Dorian Coninx and Pierre Le Corre, suggesting there is a bright future for the Frenchmen. Coninx was first to secure gold in the men’s junior race with a phenomenal sprint finish that saw him beat out Great Britain’s own Marc Austin and Grant Sheldon. All three men ran smoldering sub 15-minute on the 5k run, making the future of men’s triathlon look even more fierce than it already is. Inspired by his teammate, later in the day Le Corre clocked a serious 30:38 10km run split for the win in the men’s U23 race.

Don’t let the Brownlees see you taking it easy on the bike
During the early stages of the 40km bike in the Grand Final, the Brownlee brothers clearly weren’t happy that not everyone was putting in the effort to maintain the pace. And rather than let it go, Jonathan took it on himself to fall back to the tail of the lead group to kindly ask (through a fierce expression and plenty of finger pointing) for others to contribute. Hey, it may be an individual sport, but better play your part on the peloton.

Alistair Brownlee has guts
He’s been struggling with an Achilles injury all year and it finally caught up with him in the last stage of the last race of the year. Winching in pain from the moment he started the 10km run, Alistair dropped through the field to end any chances of becoming world champion. But rather than bowing out gracefully, he fought through the pain barrier to make sure he finished the race, while also bellowing instructions to his brother whenever their paths crossed on the course. Always the straight-talker, Alistair said afterwards “I’ve never pulled out of a race in my life, and I wasn’t going to start now.”

Richard Varga likes water
Slovakia’s Richard Varga won the Aquathon on Wednesday for the second year running and the third time overall. His 2013 victory was earned after weeks without training due to sickness and a 15-second penalty on the day, so he’s clearly in a league of his own when it comes to the bike-free format. Oh, and he also was first out of the water in the Elite Men’s Grand Final race on Sunday.

Look out Usain – this lot know how to sprint

The finish in the Elite Men’s Grand Final – which saw Spain’s Javier Gomez claim victory and the world championship ahead of Great Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee – was one of the greatest finishes of all time. But it wasn’t the only sprint finish witnessed in London.  France’s Dorian Coninx pipped Great Britain’s Marc Austin and Grant Sheldon in the chute to claim the 2013 ITU Junior Men’s World Championship on Thursday to add that title to his 2013 European Championship. And Australia’s Charlotte McShane produced a finishing chute sprint masterclass to win the Under23 Women’s World Championship title ahead of Canada’s Ellen Pennock and Amelie Kretz. Don’t even get us started on the age-group finishes…

Triathlon is not a sport, it’s a lifestyle
Thousands of athletes trained all year and toughed it out in wet and cold conditions in the various age-group world championships and special mentions. Francesco Fiori of Italy, who not only held off Donald Ardell (USA) in a sprint finish to win the 75-79 age group sprint triathlon, but also came out on top of 18 competitors in the longer distance. Germany’s Heiner Rath and Arby Kitzman of USA who battled to a sprint finish in the men’s 70-74 age group sprint triathlon.