Mooloolaba, Australia (March 15, 2014) â€“ Australian-based American Gwen Jorgensen said crashing out of last year’s ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final in London had only made her stronger and hungrier to attack the 2014 season with vengeance.
And it took her just under an hour today with a stunning victory in the ITU Mooloolaba World Cup, over the sprint distance (750m swim, 20km cycle, 5km run), to show the world she was well and truly back in business.
She dominated the five-kilometre run leg, staged over four 1.25km legs in and around the Mooloolaba beach front and raced away from team mate Katie Hursey with Japan’s Ai Ueda third to record an impressive victory.
Two-time ITU World Champion and dual Olympian Emma Moffatt was the highest placed Australian in sixth, with Ashleigh Gentle 10th. Australian Junior champion Jaz Hedgeland made an impressive senior debut in 13th and Oceania Sprint and Standard distance champion Gillian Backhouse a creditable 15th.
But it was Jorgensen’s day and she arrived on the Sunshine Coast ready to make up for her unfortunate exit from world leader going into London to fourth in the 2013 series after the crash forced her out of the running for her maiden tile at a World Championship title.
Happily settled in Australia, Jorgensen from Waukesha, Wisconsin, is now a proud member of coach Jamie Turner’s Wollongong Wizards international training group, situated an hour south of Sydney.
And she admitted that what happened in London last year is all part of triathlon.
â€œIt’s all part of racing and I think what happened last year has only given me a little more fire for this year and I really wanted to get as fit and be as ready to go as I could and I felt like I was right for this race,â€ said Jorgensen, who admitted she loves being part of the Wizards.
â€œIt’s competitive and we push each other every day; everyone wants to see each other succeed and it’s also wonderful being in Australia.â€
And on her race today.
â€œI am really happy. To come away with a win always makes you happy,â€ said Jorgensen.
â€œToday was just a race to see where I am at; I am really focussing on the World Triathlon Series which starts in Auckland in a few weeks. It is also a tough race with the hills and the (New Zealand) weather.
Jorgensen was 17 seconds shy of team mate Hursey in the swim and after 20 kilometres (4 x 5km laps) on the bike course around Alexandra Headland, a group of 20 charged into transition.
And although Ueda and Moffatt gave some sight early it was the lean looking Jorgensen who took control in the hot, humid and often testing conditions, running away to stop the clock in 59 minutes 55 seconds â€“ 15 seconds in front of Hursey and 19 ahead of Ueda.
It was a good start to the ITU season and Commonwealth Games year for Moffatt although she admitted she may be â€œlosing some speedâ€ to match it with the other girls.
â€œMooloolaba always attracts the strong fields for a World Cup race. It was a pretty phenomenal start list today and there was no surprise what Gwen did but there were a few other girls who came out of the woodwork today,â€ said Moffatt.
â€œEvery year you have to be careful as there are always new people coming up. I guess this race showed just a few of those.
â€œAshleigh (Gentle) was the next Australian across the line so that’s put her in a really good spot for the Commonwealth Games selection.â€
â€œThere is always another girl over your shoulder that you have to look out for and it’s so good for Australia that we’ve got such a large group of girls coming through.â€
â€œI guess my work has been concentrated around Olympic (Standard) Distance rather than sprint.
â€œIt’s hard to associate what you’re really training for; the main thing for me is Olympic Distance racing. This shorter racing might be getting a little too fast for me now. I just try to hang in there the best I can.â€
Arizona-based American Katie Hursey said she wasn’t really sure what to expect but, â€œI have been running well in training so I am happy that it translated well in the race,â€ she said.
â€œI have the New Plymouth ITU Triathlon World Cup and then the Auckland ITU Triathlon WTS race. My focus is on the World Triathlon Series and hopefully do well at the Edmonton Grand Final.â€
A cyclist, tech geek at heart, a passion for new shiny things and a huge appetite for triathlon. I spend most of my time between managing two of the world's best triathletes and a traditional corporate life.