Jodie Stimpson ran away from fellow Brit Helen Jenkins in the last kilometer to take her second straight 2014 World Triathlon Series win. Stimpson edged the two-time ITU World Champion by seven seconds to finish the swim-shortened Cape Town race in a time of 1:46:11 and take a commanding points lead in the series as defending WTS champion Non Stanford remains out of action with a foot injury suffered in a 10k road race in March.
While Stimpson’s dominance was the performance of the day, Gwen Jorgensen of the U.S. had an astounding run leg to advance from 16th place and 2:15 down after the bike leg to finish 3rd, just 22 seconds behind Stimpson. Jorgensen’s 32:46 run leg bested Stimpson’s 5th-fastest 34:40 10k split by 1:54.
Jorgensen passed fellow U.S. star Sarah Groff on the last lap to grab the final spot on the podium. Groff, who ran 35:36, took 4th place, 38 seconds behind Jorgensen. For the second WTS race in a row, Jorgensen had tons of ground to make up after suffering on the bike – at Cape Town she dropped from 15th place and 20 seconds down after the swim to 39th place and 1:25 back after Lap 2 of the bike leg.
With the water temperature at the V&A Waterfront in the low 50s Fahrenheit, ITU organizers cut the swim in half to 750 meters and Caroline Routier of Spain led with an 8:45 split, followed by Lucy Hall of Great Britain, (8:47), Groff (8:49), Jenkins and Yuka Sato of Japan (8:51), Pamela Oliveira of Brazil (8:52), Kirsten Sweetland of Canada (8:55) and Ainhoa Murua of Spain (8:59). Stimpson was 14th in 9:04, 1 second ahead of Jorgensen.
While Jorgensen fell well back into the chase group, Stimpson pushed hard in transition and the first lap of the bike to join a 12-woman breakaway that included Hall, Anja Knapp of Germany, Jenkins, Sweetland, Murua, Oliveira, Vicky Holland of Great Britain, Mari Rabie of South Africa, Routier, Groff , and Yuka Sato of Japan. By the first lap, the group put 44 seconds on chasers led by Aussies Emma Moffatt and Ashleigh Gentle, who also included Sarah-Anne Brault of Canada and Emma Jackson of Australia. Already, Jorgensen had faded from the lead chase pack, 1:25 down.
By the end of the 8-lap, 40 kilometer bike leg, Stimpson worked her way to a tie for the lead with fellow Brit Vicky Holland and Anja Knapp of Germany, followed 2 seconds later by Jenkins, Rabe and Sato, Groff was 4 seconds down and dangerous runners in the chase pack like Anne Haug and Jorgensen were at least 2 minutes in arrears.
Stimpson and Vicky Holland took the lead immediately on the run, whereupon Stimpson dropped Holland and appeared to be duplicating her surge at Auckland where she ran away and hid from the field. However, Helen Jenkins had more in the tank this day and caught Stimpson at the halfway mark and ran with her fellow Brit. With 500 meters to go, Stimpson accelerated away for the win.
“When Helen passed me, it was all about trying to hang on,” said Stimpson. “I was going through a bad bit, had a stitch and I was like, ’Come on! Just hold on to Helen.’ I tried to break her going onto the last lap and then I couldn’t. So I just sat behind and gave it all I’ve got and managed to get on top today.”
Notably, Ainhoa Murua’s 5th place was her highest career WTS finish. Anne Haug, who started the run with Jorgensen 2:12 down, posted the 2nd-fastest run split of 34:10 to finish 6th.
Rising young U.S. star Katie Hursey suffered a crash on the bike and did not finish.
Cape Town World Triathlon Series
Cape Town, South Africa
April 26, 2014
S 750m / B 40k / R 10k
1. Jodie Stimpson (GBR) 1:46:11
2. Helen Jenkins (GBR) 1:46:18
3. Gwen Jorgensen (USA) 1:46:33
4. Sarah Groff (USA) 1:47:11
5. Ainhoa Murua (ESP) 1:47:54
6. Anne Haug (GER) 1:47:59
7. Kirsten Sweetland (CAN) 1:48:05
8. Vicky Holland (GBR) 1:48:14
9. Emma Moffatt (AUS) 1:48:24
10. Emma Jackson (AUS) 1:48:31
38. Lindsey Jerdonek (USA) 1:51:31
DNF Katie Hursey (USA)