Jodie Stimpson timed her break perfectly on the super steep final section of the Kitzbühel bike course, carving out a 42 seconds lead with a smooth run to the front on the 22.3 percent grade of the final kilometer. On tired leg muscles on the post-bike, leg-shattering initial downhill and final uphill climb on the run, the World Triathlon Series top-ranked British woman looked smoothest of all the contenders as she raced to a 2nd-fastest 10:30 time for the 2.5 kilometer run. That run brought her to the finish in 1:03:22 with a 59 seconds margin of victory over young Australian Olympian Emma Jackson.
Ironically, despite the awed reaction to fellow Brit Alistair Brownlee’s dominating men’s win, Stimpson’s margin of victory was 23 seconds greater.
Stimpson finished 1:12 ahead of new 2013 World Triathlon Series points leader Anne Haug of Germany, who took the final spot of the podium and thus passed previous points leader Gwen Jorgenson of the United States, whose race-best 10:12 run could only bring her from 23rd off the bike to 18th at the finish.
"I felt OK with 2 kilometers to go on the bike, so on this course I thought I should give it a go," Stimpson said after the race. Indeed, Stimpson broke away from a tense cat-and-mouse duel on the climb with Nicky Samuels of New Zealand, Jackson, Haug and a fast-closing Kirsten Sweetland of Canada who arrived at T2 in a tight pack, 42 to 47 seconds back of Stimpson. "On the run, I knew that initial downhill will hurt my legs so I held back," said Stimpson. "On the uphill, it was so steep all I could think was just keep my legs turning over until the finish."
The win puts Stimpson solidly in the World Triathlon Series points chase as she previously posted a 5th at San Diego and 3rd place finishes at Yokohama and Madrid.
Jackson was thrilled with her 2nd place finish as she came into this special mountainous sprint race with a disappointing 9th at Ishigaki and a 12th at the Mooloolaba World Cup. "I didn’t start the season too well and I am happy to be back on the podium," said Jackson. "I rode out of the saddle to make sure I stayed with the leaders as far as I could. If I felt like I could attack, I would attack. But I could not go with Jodie when she made her move."
Jackson remembered that Alistair Brownlee said he was happy not to be running against his brother Jonathan, who might have pushed him to the brink.
However, she found herself dueling with Anne Haug of Germany until the very last meters of the run. "What Alistair said was still in my mind, but I had to hang on against Anne and I am glad I had enough to outrun her at the end."
Haug admitted that she played her cards cautiously, conscious that she was in a duel with Jorgenson for the WTS points lead. "Making the podium is amazing but I am a little bit disappointed with my result," she said. "I didn’t want to risk anything. Maybe I was wrong or maybe I was right with my decision not to attack on the bike. But to win the series, you have to be consistent over the whole season. Third place is good and I am proud of it. Now I am in the lead of the series."
Prior to her 3rd place finish at Kitzbühel, Haug placed 2nd at Madrid and 1st at Auckland. She now leads the WTS series women's points race with a total of 2858. Stimpson is now 2nd with 2756 points and Jorgenson stands 3rd with 2446.
For the most part, the women’s results proved the theory that smaller and lighter wins on races featuring the tough climbs. While Stimpson is of average build, Jackson, Haug, Hewitt and Sweetland are among the lightest competitors in the WTS series.
World Triathlon Series Kitzbühel
July 6, 2013
S 750m / B 11.5k / R 2.5k
1. Jodie Stimpson (GBR) 1:03:22
2. Emma Jackson (AUS) 1:04:21
3. Anne Haug (GER) 1:04:34
4. Andrea Hewitt (NZL) 1:04:41
5. Nicky Samuels (NZL) 1:04:54
6. Kristen Sweetland (CAN) 1:05:02
7. Katie Hewison (GBR) 1:05:05
8. Agnieszka Jerzyk (POL) 1:05:48
9. Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) 1:06:13
10. Rachel Klamer (NED) 1:06:26
18. Gwen Jorgenson (USA) 1:07:34