Katie Zaferes scored her first World Triathlon Series victory at WTS Hamburg with an 11 seconds margin on runner-up Rachel Klamer of the Netherlands and 26 seconds on fellow American and two-time ITU World Champion Gwen Jorgensen.
With the victory at the Hamburg sprint distance event, Zaferes proved she was back to her 2015 form in which she earned 5 silver medals at the elite WTS events – and justified her selection to the third slot on the U.S. women’s Olympic Triathlon team after an off-form start to her 2016 season.
“I am so excited,” said Zaferes after her 57:03 finish over the 750 meter swim, 20 kilometer bike leg, and 5 kilometer run in front of 200,000 fans. “This was exactly what I needed to see I am the same person I was last year. The first part of this year I was not racing like the Katie I know. I’ve been over thinking but today I decided to go as hard as I could and I believed in myself.”
Zaferes started her day with a 6th-best 9:41 swim that was 4 seconds behind swim leader Lucy Hall of Great Britain and 12 seconds ahead of Jorgensen.
Zaferes joined a leading pack of 8 women that broke away to a 15 seconds lead after the first of 6 laps of the bike leg, while Jorgensen was stuck in the middle of a 30-woman chase pack. With the large chase pack often spread out to a disorganized 8 or 9 wide formation, the smaller lead group continued to increase the gap to 50 seconds at T2.
On the final lap of the bike leg, Jorgensen uncharacteristically fell back 32 seconds behind the leader of the chase pack, giving her a 1:22 deficit to the leaders starting the run – more than any 5k deficit she has previously overcome to win.
Right off the bat, Zaferes and Rachel Klamer of Netherlands – her training partner with coach Joel Filliol – broke away to a 21 seconds lead on 3rd-place Anastasia Abrosimova of Russia and Mari Rabe of South Africa, 27 seconds on Lucy Hall of Great Britain and Carolina Routier of Spain, and 32 seconds on Jorgensen, who cut 50 seconds off her T2 deficit.
Zaferes dueled even with Klamer until the U.S. star pulled away at the 4k mark and finished with a 2nd-best 16:17 run that brought her to the line in 57:03 with an 11 seconds margin on Klamer, who ran a 7th-best 16:30 to take the silver.
“I am really happy, I can’t describe it,” said Klamer. “The last couple of years I have made progress and this morning I was talking with Richard (Murray) and I was like ‘one day I want to be on that podium,’ though it probably would not be today, but maybe in a year from now. But when we were racing in the swim, which actually I was most worried about, I felt like I had a good position so just had to keep working on it. And then on the bike, the girls were working together, which was really good and then on the run when I looked back I thought, ‘well today must be that day’.”
After her first redlined run lap, Jorgensen ran out of steam but still managed to advance to 3rd place with a race-best 15:44 5k run. Jodie Stimpson of Great Britain, who lost her spot on the Great Britain team after a disastrous finish at WTS Yokohama, took fourth.
“Obviously I was disappointed with my race,” said Jorgensen. “But Katie crossed the line first, which was incredible and kept it in the family. I didn’t have it today, but Rio will be a very different race with a 10k run and that big hill on the bike.”
Jodie Stimpson, who lost out to Jenkins for the final spot on Great Britain’s Women’s Olympic Triathlon team, finished 4th, 23 second behind Jorgensen.
Without top WTS contenders Andrea Hewitt, Flora Duffy, Vicky Holland, Non Stanford and Sarah True, the field was lacking some key Olympic contenders but provided a strong hit out for Zaferes, Jorgensen and Helen Jenkins, who took an off-form 14th place. Lisa Norden of Sweden, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist, could only manage a 17:05 run to finish 29th.
July 16, 2016
S 750m / B 20k / R 5k
1. Katie Zaferes (USA) 57:03
2. Rachel Klamer (NED) 57:14
3. Gwen Jorgensen (USA) 57:29
4. Jodie Stimpson (GBR) 57:52
5. Anastasia Abrosimova (RUS) 57:58
6. Barbara Riveros (CHI) 58:01
7. Ai Ueda (JPN) 58:02
8. Mari Rabe (RSA) 58:03
9. Laura Lindemann (GER) 58:06
10. Emma Jackson (AUS) 58:07
24. Renee Tomlin (USA) 58:33
29. Lisa Norden (SWE) 58:43
30. Kirsten Kasper (USA) 58:44
32. Lindsey Jerdonek (USA) 58:49
42. Taylor Spivey (USA) 59:27