Olympic champion Gwen Jorgensen of the U.S. fended off a final day bike deficit to WTS World Champion Flora Duffy with a decisive run and Richard Murray of South Africa overcame a similar deficit to non-drafting bike specialist Cameron Dye of the U.S. with a race-best run to take the $60,000 top prizes at the three-day Island House Invitational Triathlon.
One of the best things about the Island House Invitational Triathlon and its stage race format is the decision to start the final day according to the athletes’ deficit on the General Category. As designed, the overall winners were the competitors who crossed the line first – and there was plenty of back and forth jousting on the way to the final day’s dramatic finishes.
Jorgensen started the final day with a 45 seconds lead on Holly Lawrence of Great Britain and 55 seconds on Duffy. Duffy and Lawrence worked together on the opening swim leg to reduce Jorgensen’s lead to 30 seconds. “I knew I had to go hard from the start if I wanted to shoot for the win today,” said Duffy.
Once on the bike, Duffy caught Jorgensen halfway through the 20 kilometer bike course and created a significant lead by T2.
“Flora absolutely owned the technical sections of the bike course,” said Lawrence. Lawrence was second off the bike but Jorgensen stayed close.
While Duffy created a lead on the bike, it wasn't enough as Jorgensen took back the lead 3km into the 5km run. Jorgensen finished the day’s work with a second-best 58:08 time but her day 2 lead provided enough cushion for the victory. Jorgensen finished the three-day affair with a total time of 3:55:01, with a 29 seconds margin of victory over Duffy and 2:43 over 3rd-place finisher Lawrence.
Murray began the day with a 1:05 lead on overnight General Category leader Cameron Dye of the U.S. and 1:13 on Terenzo Bozzone of New Zealand. Murray maintained his lead on the swim but non-drafting bike specialist Dye caught Murray on the first of three laps of the bike leg.
“He started to put time on me and I was worried,” said Murray. “I knew I needed to manage the gap in preparation for the run.”
Dye earned a 30 seconds gap after the bike but it was not enough to ward off Murray’s sizzling run. Murray took the lead halfway through the 5km run and had enough time in the bank to stop and kiss his time trial bike in the finish chute before crossing the line.
While Dye did all he could and his 52:06 final day time for the sprint distance was the day’s best, it was only 36 seconds better than Murray and not enough to garner the overall win. Murray finished the three-day triathletic extravaganza in 3:35:35 with a 29 seconds margin of victory over Dye and 2:38 over 3rd-place finisher Aaron Royle of Australia. Royle passed Terenzo Bozzone on the run and held on for a 6-seconds margin on the New Zealander for the final spot on the podium.
Murray improved one critical place from last year’s runner-up finish and, like Jorgensen, took home the $60,000 top prize out of a total purse of half a million bucks.
“I’m very happy,” said Murray. “This is the best race of the season. Period.”
Island House Invitational Triathlon
October 30, 2016
Day 3 – S 750m / B 20km / R 5km
1. Richard Murray (RSA) Day 3 - 52:42 TOTAL 3:35:35
2. Cameron Dye (USA) Day 3 - 52:06 TOTAL 3:36:04
3. Aaron Royle (AUS) Day 3 - 53:11 TOTAL 3:38:13
4. Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) Day 3 - 54:08 TOTAL 3:38:19
5. Eric Lagerstrom (USA) Day 3 - 53:15 TOTAL 3:38:35
6. Leon Griffin (AUS) Day 3 - 53:11 TOTAL 3:38:55
7. Brent McMahon (CAN) Day 3 - 53:46 TOTAL 3:39:01
8. Joe Maloy (USA) Day 3 - 53:29 TOTAL 3:39:19
9. Sebastian Kienle (GER) Day 3 - 53:57 TOTAL 3:39:46
10. Lionel Sanders (CAN) Day 3 - 54:59 TOTAL 3:41:19
1. Gwen Jorgensen (USA) Day 3 - 58:08 TOTAL 3:55:01
2. Flora Duffy (BER) Day 3 - 57:31 TOTAL 3:55:19
3. Holly Lawrence (GBR) Day 3 - 58:34 TOTAL 3:56:17
4. Sarah True (USA) Day 3 - 58:31 TOTAL 3:58:51
5. Rachel Klamer (NED) Day 3 - 59:12 TOTAL 3:59:01
6. Ellie Salthouse (AUS) Day 3 - 59:46 TOTAL 3:59:09
7. Helle Frederiksen (DEN) Day 3 - 59:52 TOTAL 4:00:00
8. Lauren Goss (USA) Day 3 - 58:46 TOTAL 4:01:33
9. Katie Zaferes (USA) Day 3 - 1:00:22 TOTAL 4:02:16
10. Emma Moffatt (AUS) Day 3 - 1:01:33 TOTAL 4:02:52