Brit Helen Jenkins took the win at the big Olympic test at the Dextro Energy WCS race in London, UK thus earned her Olympic ticket. American Gwen Jorgensen was the surprising runner-up and German Anja Dittmer finished third. Both Jorgensen and Dittmer also earned Olympic spots from their respective federations.
At most WCS races athletes exit the water briefly onto a pontoon during a 2-loop swim, but here in London's Hyde Park all was happening in one big 1,500 meter lap. Sarah Haskins was up front during the whole swim with fellow American Sarah Groff right on her heels, and that is how they eventually exited the water too. Brit Kerry Lang was third out of the water and Laura Bennett was right up there too. Paula Findlay did not have the swim she most likely would have desired, but at least managed to catch the tail end of the front group. It was not quite so good for Barbara Riveros Diaz though who after a relatively poor swim was over a minute down leaving the transition.
Kerry Lang was setting the pace at the front of the lead group who had grown to 34 after the first of 7 bike laps. A handful of athletes were spread out over the course behind the lead bunch, but the big chase pack that contained Riveros Diaz, Emma Jackson, Ashleigh Gentle, Kate Roberts, Kirsten Sweetland and Daniela Ryf was over a minute down. The athletes who were riding between the two main packs were picked up by the chasing bunch before too long, and just before the halfway point of the bike segment the gap had narrowed to 50 seconds. An additional small group of five that contained Erin Densham and Ventula Frintova was well back at over 3 minutes. Every now and then it looked like there was an effort in the lead bunch to keep the advantage, but the chasers seemed well more motivated and with 3 laps to go had brought the gap down to 44 seconds. But from there it really started to dwindle and with one lap to go the lead had gone down to 27 seconds and during that last lap the chasers connected with the leaders making it one big group of 58 athletes.
Out on the run though there was no more hiding in the group and it quickly became clear who was here to win. Helen Jenkins really pushed the pace in front of the home crowd and Emma Jackson looked very strong too running in second position. The surprise though was American Gwen Jorgensen who looked great in the top 10 and she was clearly one of the athletes who had benefited from the 2 packs coming together. As Jenkins started to pull away from Jackson, Jorgensen and Groff actually moved into 3rd and 4th position. Soon after Jorgensen started to pull away from the other 2, but a bit further back Emma Snowsill and Anja Dittmer were coming back towards the front and ran in 3rd and 4th place with less than 1k to go. No one though could stop Jenkins today and she was the clear winner much and guaranteed her Olympic spot much to the joy of the British crowd. Jorgensen crossed the line in second place and grabbed the first American ticket to the Olympics (Groff took the second spot with her 7th place) and Anja Dittmer sprinted to third place and took the first German Olympic spot.
"I was at the front so kept running, kept running and someone said, ‘you’ve got a gap,’ and I thought, I’d better keep pushing on," said Jenkins. "The last bit, someone said 20 seconds and I thought if I blow up I’m still going to lose, so I had to keep pushing right to the end."
'I mean it’s just surreal, we have so many great people in the U.S it’s just an honor to be going,” said runner-up Jorgensen when asked about earning her Olympic spot. "It really is surreal and give credit for USAT for coming to me, I mean I wouldn’t have even known about this without them, so it’s awesome."
Dextro Energy WCS London
London, UK / August 6, 2011
1. Helen Jenkins (GBR) 2:00:34 *
2. Gwen Jorgensen (USA) 2:00:41 *
3. Anja Dittmer (GER) 2:00:48 *
4. Emma Jackson (AUS) 2:00:51
5. Emma Snowsill (AUS) 2:00:52
6. Andrea Hewitt (NZL) 2:00:54 *
7. Sarah Groff (USA) 2:00:58 *
8. Nicola Spirig (SUI) 2:01:04 *
9. Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) 2:01:07
10. Emmie Charayron (FRA) 2:01:10 *
* Based on the standards set by the various national federations, it appears these athletes have earned their ticket to the respective Olympic teams.
Dextro Energy ITU WCS rankings
1. Barbara Riveros Diaz (CHI) 2498
2. Andrea Hewitt (NZL) 2493
3. Paula Findlay (CAN) 2490
4. Helen Jenkins (GBR) 2346
5. Emma Moffatt (AUS) 2061
6. Sarah Groff (USA) 2001
7. Laura Bennett (USA) 1681
8. Svenja Bazlen (GER) 1569
9. Emma Jackson (AUS) 1506
10. Emma Snowsill (AUS) 1439