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The elite women were met with clear blue skies and rising temperatures at the 2012 Banyoles ITU Triathlon World Cup. A race brimming with athletes heading to London, triathlon newcomer Gwen Jorgensen (USA) gave her competition reason to fear her presence in England with a win in Spain on Sunday.
“It was a really great course,” Jorgensen said. “Those girls really made me work. There are some really good runners out there and when Erin took it out, I really tried to keep the distance.”
From the start, amphibious Lucy Hall (GBR) and Banyoles local Carolina Routier (ESP) wasted no time in creating a 20-meter distance on the two-lap swim. Routier swam on Hall´s hip throughout the swim, exiting to cheers from her compatriots.
Together, the young athletes headed out on the bike with a minute lead over favorites Andrea Hewitt (NZL) and Erin Densham (AUS). While they were expected to reign in the two runaways, the opposite actually happened.
Hall and Routier continued hammering out even splits, while the chase pack failed to find a rhythm. After trailing nearly a minute and a half behind on the first lap, the main group started to slowly chip away an average of ten seconds per lap. By the fourth lap, they pulled within a minute of the two leaders.
However, the group lost nearly 40 seconds on the final two laps. After a bike and swim that saw little change, the Hall and Routier left with a vengeance to take advantage of their lead.
Unfortunately for them, even one minute and 40 seconds wasn´t enough to secure a podium position. The pair was quickly overtaken by a swift Densham. The Aussie pulled even with Routier on the first lap and trailed Hall by just 14 seconds.
By midway through the second of three run laps, Hall was nowhere to been seen, while the Spaniard had fallen out of contention. Meanwhile, Densham continued ahead, while teammate Ashleigh Gentle and Jorgensen pulled up third. Hewitt trailed close behind.
“I knew I had to dig deep from the start of the run, with so many good runners around me,” Gentle said. “I was really happy with the way I came home today because I was worried when I started to feel a bit flat around the mid section of the run, but I managed to pick it up.”
On the final lap, Densham owned a nine-second lead over Jorgensen. Her lead, however, was soon destroyed. With a final surge, Jorgensen overtook a fatiguing Densham early on in the final lap. Jorgensen ran comfortably and confidently ahead.
She breezed over the finish line 16 seconds ahead of the competition to claim her second world cup title. Densham cruised into second, while her teammate Gentle gave Australia a two-three finish with bronze.
“I basically just went out here to have a hit,” Densham said. “To come away with second today, I actually did a lot better than I thought I would. I´m really happy where I´m at going into London.”