By Merryn Sherwood on 09/09/13 at 9:15 am
Amazing footage from the World Triathlon Series and the Road to London so far.
Across seven World Triathlon Series races, four different continents, it all comes down to this. Just 13 points separate Gwen Jorgensen, Anne Haug and Non Stanford in the race for the 2013 ITU Elite Women’s World Championship.
As the margin is so close it actually makes the final elite title easier to predict, if one of those three crossed the finish line in London first, they will also win the 2013 World Championship.
In a year of consistent podium performances from the top-four, with Jodie Stimpson as the fourth, it’s hard to pick exactly who will come out on top. But at the moment, rankings leader Jorgensen definitely deserves to be the favourite. She has already collected three WTS wins this season, becoming only the second woman since Paula Findlay in 2011 to do so in one season. Jorgensen also proved in Stockholm last month that her ever-improving swim means she is now a triple-threat.
However, Haug has also produced two unbeatable races this season in Auckland and Hamburg (plus another if you count the season-opening Mooloolaba World Cup), while Stanford’s first career series win in Madrid saw her flying ahead of the pack and recording a faster run split on the day than Jorgensen. Stanford is also going for a unique place in history, as the first woman in ITU history to go straight from winning an U23 World Championship title to an elite one. So far, only Alistair Brownlee has managed that feat.
Then there is Stimpson, who has collected three podium places and her first series win in Kitzbuehel this year. While she will need other results to fall into her favour to take the overall title, it is still possible.
So how will the race play out? Early on expect strong swimmers like Brazil’s Pamela Oliveira, Emma Moffatt, Andrea Hewitt and Sarah Groff to lead out but that the pace will be fast because on the flat and technical bike course a gap in the swim could be potentially be a game-breaker. In last year’s Olympic race, Great Britain’s Lucy Hall successfully splintered the pack with a 18minute17second swim and there will be those at the front aiming to replicate that.
Swim (1.5km) – A pontoon start on the north side of the Serpentine.
Bike (40km) – The seven-lap bike course heads out on South Carriage Drive towards Hyde Park Corner, and goes along Constitution Hill and past Buckingham Palace. The bike course is generally flat with no climbs, but a few speed bumps and tight turns makes it technically demanding.
Run (10km) – The four-lap run heads along West Carriage Drive and then back towards the southern edge of the Serpentine. The finish line is on the western edge of Serpentine Road.
While generally the tricky bike course in London makes it hard for those who are left behind in the swim to make-up time, it doesn’t always mean that the race is over. In the Olympic race last year, Hewitt and fellow Kiwi Kate McIlroy both made up more than a minute deficit on the leaders in the swim to enter T2 with the leaders. Expect those two, as well as athletes like Stanford, Stimpson, Haug, Moffatt and France’s Jessica Harrison to be those looking to nail every corner in an effort to get the most out of this course.
Then it all comes down to the run, and based on this season and her past results here this is where Jorgensen will take full advantage. It was a stunning performance back here in 2011 that sealed her qualification for London and put her on the WTS map, her 33:43 split there saw her finish second to Helen Jenkins.
But in the past the Grand Final hasn’t always belonged to the eventual World Champion, remember Emma Snowsill‘s masterclass in Budapest or Andrea Hewitt’s dominance in Beijing? Even last year in Auckland, while Lisa Norden managed to overcome a severe case of food-poisoning to claim the elite world title, it was Haug who smashed the field to win. So who might be ready to step up again and surprise in London?
The 2013 PruHealth Grand Final Elite Women’s Race starts at 8.30am on Saturday September 14. Find out global times here. Full live TV coverage is available through subscription on www.triathlon.org/tv, and free live results and text commentary will be on @triathlonlive and www.triathlon.org.
Hewitt certainly showed she’s up for a race in Stockholm, when she and Vanessa Raw went off the front and left T2 almost 40 seconds ahead of the field, and she’s been so close to a podium so far this year. Moffatt is also another big-race performer that has unfinished business in London, after she crashed out in the Olympic race last year. While her another Australian Emma might also be there. Emma Jackson pulled out a killer race in London in 2011 to finish fourth, and showed she should be considered a contender with her silver medal in Kitzbuehel earlier this year.
There are also a host of multiple WTS medallists, like the Netherlands Maaike Caelers, Ireland’s Aileen Reid and in particular Chile’s Barbara Riveros Diaz. While Riveros Diaz had a mixed season in 2012, she pulled out one of her best performances of the year in last year’s Grand Final to win a bronze.
Find more details about this event - 2013 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final London