Gwen Jorgensen (USA) ran herself into the history books on Saturday as the first women to claim six World Triathlon Series titles clinching victory in Chicago from Helen Jenkins (GBR) and Juri Ide (JAP).
The American was unstoppable today after a swim that placed her into the chase group on the bike, Jorgensen sat comfortably in that group the entire 40km bike leg after falling off the lead group in the early stages, before unleashing her trademark run on the 10km course to win in a time of 1 hour 55 minutes and 33 seconds. That victory installed her as the most decorated women in history overtaking Emma Moffatt and Paula Findlay who each have five wins.
“The bike I wasn’t really in a great position so I just tried to stick in it,” said Jorgensen.
She said it was so hot and the crowd so vocal it really helped to push her today.
“My mum, my dad, aunts and uncles so many friends and family its amazing, it was so great,” she said.
The women’s race kicked off with a choppy two-lap swim in Lake Michigan that saw Carolina Routier (ESP) taking a decisive lead on the swim. Moffatt and Jenkins, who lined up next to the Spaniard off the start, matched the quick pace a body-length behind. Strung tightly across a single file line, the No. 1 ranked Jorgensen secured a solid position just behind the lead group.
The long transition across Lake Shore Drive proved pivotal in Jorgensen’s move into the top lead group, as she caught the leaders by the time she hopped on her bike. However, with a driven Jenkins pushing a furious pace on the twisting course, Jorgensen was dropped to the chase on the first lap.
It was a tough eight laps on the bike with many turns at either end that took some sting out of the girls’ legs. After working her way into the front group Kirsten Sweetland (CAN) did an enormous amount of work as did Moffatt, Jenkins and Nicky Samuels (NZL).
While the leaders quickly opened up a 20-second gap over the chase, that advantage grew to nearly 45 seconds midway through the bike. With such strong cyclists trading off at the helm of the pack, that gap continued to increase to 66 seconds at the final changeover, meaning Jorgenson had her work cut out today to catch the leaders.
Moffatt was first to storm out of T2 attacking the run straight away, no doubt thinking about the speedy Jorgensen behind her, but she quickly fell off the pace. Ide and Jenkins took over out front, with Sweetland joining them. Eventually the pace was too much for the Canadian going out too fast but still a great race.
At the 5km Jorgensen had halved the gap to the leaders had moved through the field and passed most of the front group. With just 2.5km to go, Jenkins and Ide remained strong out front but Jorgensen was slowly reeling them with every foot stroke as the heat was taking effect and the crowd lifting the American.
Jorgensen joined the duo at the front just before stepping it up into another gear and ran away to a famous victory along with securing the National Championship title. Jenkins proved too strong for Ide as she crossed for the silver and Ide the bronze.
“We were getting the time gaps and I knew she was catching up and to be honest because it was so hot and humid, I’m not great in the humidity, so I was really just trying to keep myself together keep myself in one piece and I couldn’t afford to back down because I knew Gwen was coming so I didn’t want to die on the last lap either,” said Jenkins.
“We tried to keep pushing it was a really tough course to get a group working with so many dead turns the bike wasn’t as bad as I thought I was going to be beforehand but I loved the swim today it was really choppy, it was good fun.