It was the course that dashed her hope of a World Championship title last year, but in 2014 Gwen Jorgensen conquered London in the best possible style, claiming her fifth career World Triathlon Series win in an all-round strong performance in Hyde Park.
After a swim that placed her in the top five, Jorgensen sat comfortably in the lead group of 11 through the 20km bike leg, before unleashing her trademark run on the 5km course to win in a time of 54 minutes and 44 seconds. That victory took her career WTS total to five, equal for the most series wins in history with Emma Moffatt and Paula Findlay.
“It was a hard race, Jorgensen said. “Those girls were pushing hard. I had a high first podium here in 2011. Every race is different, you just go out there and try to do your best.”
It was a red-letter day for US women in London as Sarah Groff wrapped up a clear silver medal with a strong run. After years of being close, including her fourth finish in the triathlon event at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Groff was pleased she had been able to tick a medal in London off his list.
“I’ve always done pretty well, but its so nice to finally be on the podium at this race,” Groff said. “I’ve always been a solid top seven here, but its so nice to be on the podium with Gwen.”
Behind that US 1-2, Australia’s Emma Jackson threw down the second fastest run of the day to climb her way up from the chase group into bronze. Despite a 20 second gap to the leaders that was compounded when she fell in T2, Jackson didn’t let up on her way towards her fourth career podium place.
As a sprint race in London it was only a 750m swim in the Serpentine on Sunday, yet it played a significant role in the way the race shaped up. Led by Carolina Routier and Lucy Hall, Gwen Jorgensen, Katie Hursey and Sarah Groff all had excellent swims and launched themselves into an 11 strong lead group on the bike that also included Nicky Samuels, Alice Betto, Aileen Reid, Marie Rabie and Rebecca Robisch.
Behind them Great Britain’s top contenders Jodie Stimpson and Helen Jenkins were stuck in a first chase group that just couldn’t seem to make ground on the leaders across the 20km bike. That left the head group with a 20 second lead starting the 5km run, which proved too much of a lead to give the fastest woman on the ITU circuit.
As always, Jorgensen didn’t fly out of transition but worked her way into the run in the first kilometre. But even before the first lap finished, she had effortlessly moved into the lead by 14 seconds. From there it was a full gone conclusion with the only question just how fast she could run. The answer was a slick 16 minutes and 10 seconds.