American Gwen Jorgensen today claimed a slice of history in winning the 2014 ITU World Championship Grand Final in a trademark come from behind performance. Jorgensen moved into triathlon royalty securing an unprecedented five WTS wins this season, joining just Alistair Brownlee as the only other athlete to have won five titles in one season.
Jorgensen’s win today also secured her the overall ITU World Championship final winning in a time of two hours and 5 seconds, finishing 16 seconds ahead of New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt (NZL). Hewitt’s second place secured her third in the overall standings. Nicky Samuels (NZL) finished a brilliant third in an event that saw some of the pre race contenders struggle.
“I don’t think it’s really sunk in at all, I just want to thank everyone that has helped me so much, Patrick, Jaime (Turner). Sarah Haskings was huge today. I’m really happy,” said Jorgensen.
Jorgensen again had to draw on her lethal weapon run speed to make up another big deficit but had some help from teammate Sarah Haskins (USA) on the bike.
“I couldn’t have done it without Haskins (Sarah) I owe her a lot and I’m really grateful she was here.
Jorgensen went into the final race of the season a clear Threadneedle Rankings leader but it was an outstanding performance by Sarah Groff (USA) who was in the mix all day eventually finishing fourth that secured her second in the overall rankings knocking Jodie Stimpson (GBR) out of contention. Stimpson was not at the top of her game today finishing 13th.
Hewitt has not won a race for three years and after finishing second in Stockholm and a silver medal here was very pleased with the second half of her season.
“For things to come together at the end of the season it means so much, second here and second last weekend, I just had a great race today,” said Hewitt.
“I felt great I was even up there in the swim, it was great all round today. I’m just really, really pleased,” said Hewitt.
Carolina Routier (ESP) led the swim from start to finish with Alice Betto (ITA) sitting right on her feet and Groff nicely placed in the group. But little separated them from the big pack that entered transition.
On the first lap of the bike a group of 17 had formed and settled into a good rhythm.
Great Britain’s Lucy Hall established herself in the work group along with four New Zealander’s, Hewitt, Samuels, Kate McIroy and Rebecca Clarke all strong bike riders. Canada had a lot to cheer about as Paula Findlay was also in this group. The USA had two athletes in the bunch with Kate Hursey and Groff.
The six-lap bike leg included two longer laps with a hill that kept the group honest and saw the strong riders like Samuels, Findlay and Hewitt putting in maximum effort, which saw them extend their lead over the chase pack every lap.
The chase group couldn’t organize themselves despite a big effort by Flora Duffy (BER). Stimpson was not her usual self and not able to contribute to the effort while Jorgensen remained safely at the back of the group with team mate Haskins looking after her.
As they approached the transition for the final time that gap had blown out to 1 minutes and 10 seconds.
As they hit the final 10km run leg it was Hewitt, Samuels and Groff that forged ahead over the first lap but they knew Jorgensen was coming. As she has done in many races, Jorgensen set about eating into the deficit and with every stride brought herself closer to the lead. It came on the third lap when she sat in with the two Kiwi girls but eventually cleared out to record the fastest run split of the day (33.24) to win her first World Championship title after crashing out last year in London.
“I didn’t really execute too well in the swim and first lap of the bike I got a little nervous and let that get to me. I just had to try and reel it back in,” said Jorgensen.