Gwen Jorgensen of the United States waited until the final lap of the 10k run to turn on the jets and run away from British rivals Non Stanford and Vicky Holland. When Jorgensen hit the finish in 1:55:35 after a dominating 32:43 10k run, she had a 29 seconds margin on 2013 WTS World champion Stanford and 44 seconds on Holland.
With her 7th straight 2015 WTS win and 13th straight victory in WTS races plus the Rio Olympic test event, Jorgensen continues to set records that put her in a different galaxy than any other woman in ITU Olympic distance history.
When asked if she had dreamed she would remain unbeaten throughout this season, Jorgensen said “No – it is just crazy. I never thought that I would be able to keep on winning even at times when I was not feeling well. Even today, like at the test event in Rio, things were pretty touch and go here early in the race.”
When she caught her breath, Jorgensen thanked her coach for this remarkable run. “Jamie Turner got me through all the hard times and got me ready to do this.”
With her victory at the Chicago Grand Final, Jorgensen wrote an emphatic final chapter in the 2015 World Triathlon Series season long points chase. At the finish, Jorgensen stands atop the Columbia Threadneedle points standings with a perfect 5200 points, even throwing away two 800-point wins. With a 4th place finish today, Andrea Hewitt took 2nd in WTS season points with 4081, just seven points ahead of Sarah True of the U.S., who finished 7th this day. On the strength of her 3rd place finish today, Vicky Holland advanced past Katie Zaferes of the U.S. to take 4th in the WTS season rankings. Zaferes, who posted an off-form 24th place today, placed 5th in WTS rankings, 68 points behind Holland.
Katie Zaferes of the U.S. led the swim in 17:50, 2 seconds ahead of Flora Duffy of Bermuda and Carolina Routier of Spain, 4 seconds ahead of Sarah True and Vicky Holland, 7 seconds ahead of Jorgensen’s 11th best effort, 16 seconds ahead of Hewitt, and 18 seconds ahead of Stanford.
After 4 laps of the bike, True led the lead pack, followed in short order by Holland, Zaferes, Routier, Duffy, Jorgensen, and True, with Hewitt 12th and 13 seconds down, Stanford 23rd and 20 seconds back.
With the exception of a brief wobble on a wet corner by Stanford, the lead pack rode carefully. By the 8th of 9 laps on the bike leg, Flora Duffy led a pack of 29 women within 9 seconds.
While Jorgensen was 17th of 29 at the bike finish, she was just 5 seconds back of bike leaders Duffy, Jodie Stimpson, Holland, and Stanford with True, Hewitt and Helen Jenkins tucked in nicely. But Katie Zafers of the U.S., who stood second in WTS standings for most of the season, was hanging by a thread at the back of the lead pack.
Quickly, the cream rose to the top of the run as Jorgensen, Stanford and Holland broke to the front much as they did at the Rio Olympic test event. Jorgensen was content to stick with the Brits for company and some minimal aerodynamic advantage until the bell lap. Whereupon Gwensanity reigned on a day with light rain, and the U.S. star unleashed her long legs and charged to a 100 meter gap.
“When we were running it was a bit cagey out there,” said Holland. “Non was setting the pace but we knew Gwen had an extra gear so we were just waiting for her to go. There's not much you can do about that level of a kick, but we have a year to train for that now.”
Shortly thereafter, Stanford gapped Holland and the three paraded to the 1-2-3 finish. No bitterness from the Brits as their 2-3 finish cemented their tickets to Rio.
“It is really tough,” said Stanford, of the high standards for inclusion on the Great Britain Women's Olympic Triathlon team. “So to say I haven’t been sweating over it for the last few weeks would be an understatement. I tried to play it down but I was in a massive amount of stress and now that it is done I am quite relived that we both got places on the team for the Olympics.”
Holland added, “That is what I absolutely came here to do today. You never want to enter a race not wanting to win. But with that said, for me getting on the podium today was a win.”
ITU Grand Final
September 18, 2015
S 1.5k / B 40k / R 10k
1. Gwen Jorgensen (USA) 1:55:36
2. Non Stanford (GBR) 1:56:05
3. Vicky Holland (GBR) 1:56:20
4. Andrea Hewitt (NZL) 1:56:44
5. Rachel Klamer (NED) 1:56:50
6. Jodie Stimpson (GBR) 1:57:08
7. Sarah True (USA) 1:57:19
8. Ai Ueda (JPN) 1:57:29
9. Aileen Reid (IRL) 1:57:37
10. Juri Ide (JPN) 1:57:39
24. Katie Zaferes (USA) 1:59:25
32. Kirsten Kasper (USA) 2:00:34
33. Lindsey Jerdonek (USA) 2:00:36
49. Taylor Spivey (USA) 2:03:13
51. Renee Tomlin (USA) 2:03:33
67. Erin Jones (USA) 2:07:08