Great Britain’s Jodie Stimpson put up a staggeringly dominant performance at the 2012 Guatape ITU World Cup to capture not only her first World Cup podium, but first World Cup victory as well. Following a breakaway on the first lap of the bike, Stimpson continued to surge further and further ahead of silver medallist Maria Czesnik (POL) and bronze medallist Paola Diaz (MEX) to win by nearly five minutes.
“It’s fantastic,” Stimpson said of her win. “The crowd was awesome. The weather was nice and warm. The course was hilly, which made it even better, it makes a proper triathlon. The run was a bit tricky, but made it interesting.”
Stimpson led straight from the start, swimming in the pack with Diaz, Diana Castillo (COL), and Militza Rios (PUR) that secured a 30-second advantage as they rounded the first lap on the swim. The group doubled their lead by the end of the swim, transitioning for the infamous bike course nearly a minute in front of a small chase group of six, which included eventual silver medallist Czesnik.
Castillo fell behind when she experienced difficulty in transition, making Diaz, Rios and Stimpson the athletes to chase. Stimpson wasted no time breaking away from the trio on the back half of the first lap and hammered to a 1 minute, 5 second advantage. With no clear chase pack charging on the bike, Diaz and Rios stuck together behind Stimpson. Behind them, Czesnik pedaled ahead of her swim group on the first bike lap to move into fourth.
The Guatape bike course, known for its challenging hills set at altitude, forced the ladies to undergo a unique bike strategy, as almost all the athletes rode solo or in groups no larger than three to four athletes. Stimpson took advantage of the brutal hills to gain an insurmountable lead of 2 minutes, 22 seconds midway through, while Czesnik pulled even with Diaz and Rios to form a small chase group.
Early on the third lap, Diaz and Czesnik dropped Rios, forcing yet another athlete to face the hills alone. The Polish Olympian then surged a minute ahead of Diaz in the hunt for Stimpson. But the Brit was too strong to reel in, heading out on the run course more than three minutes ahead of Czesnik.
Stimpson’s first ITU World Cup title appeared even more secure when Diaz took off for the four-lap run in third place, more than five minutes back. Despite her grand lead, Stimpson continued to push the pace on the run, pulling another 30 seconds ahead by the first lap. Czesnik trailed, while Diaz maintained her bronze-medal position from a six-minute deficit.
Despite being able to see how far back the competition was on the run, Stimpson didn’t back off, moving ahead with every step. She slowed only in the final metres to high five the crowd en route to her first ITU World Cup medal and title in 2 hours, 12 minutes and 21 seconds.
“No race is ever easy, especially on a course like this. The course was really hard,” Stimpson said. “My coach told me to keep the first half of the bike steady and work the second half. Same on the run just to make sure I could put out a good race. The second half of the run felt really good. I’ve been working with my new coach, and I think it’s working.”
Czesnik was next to cross over for silver in 2:17:15, while Diaz took bronze in 2:20:42.
“I’m very happy. I’ve never raced in Guatape,” Diaz said. “It’s hard, but I liked it. The run and the bike were very tough. I’m very happy to share the podium with athletes like Stimpson and Czesnik.”