Images of Alistair Brownlee and Gwen Jorgensen win at WTS Leeds
Jorgensen seizes debut Leeds title
The debut of the 2016 Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds on the WTS circuit did not disappoint as yet again Gwen Jorgensen succeeded at executing a come-from-behind run to seize the first-ever Leeds title. The victory was the second consecutive win for the American and her 17th WTS gold of her career.
After being down 1:40 at the second transition, Jorgensen was able to overcome from the largest deficit in the history of the WTS to capture her win.
“It is a new course and with new courses you never know what to expect. Of course you had Flora, Jessica and Lucy really working hard up in front, so yeah it was a fun course but a tough course,” said Jorgensen of her win today. “It was no surprise to me that some people were going to go for it, especially Flora, I knew she was going to go for it on the bike and get as much time as she could. Rio is the focus for the year as you know, so it is great to come into these races and get exposed a little bit and see where I can improve.”
Earning the silver medal was Bermuda’s Flora Duffy, who executed a massive attack early on the bike to gain a lead that was insurmountable to anyone but Jorgensen. She was followed over the finish line by Great Britain’s own Vicky Holland.
Duffy said of her performance on the day, “Starting the run with Gwen behind you is always a bit of a terrifying thing, but I am happy with how things went today. I had to do a lot of work on the bike, the British girls were not working with me, they had some team tactics. They were told they had to ride a certain way so I was the only one who could put in work, if I had help perhaps I could have run a little bit better and perhaps we could have had a little more time, but that is racing, that is team tactics. I am the only Bermudian, someday I hope there is an army of Bermudians I hope to help, but yeah it was a great day for me, I am super happy.
“It is a really cool moment for me to be able to wear the gold number. My parents are here and it is the first time that they have seen me race this year, so to be able to wear the gold number and be leading the race it feels incredible. But yea it is one step closer to Rio and this is how I want to race in Rio.”
Starting the Leeds swim course with a podium start, a small field of only 33 women lined up for the fifth stop of the 2016 World Triathlon Series season.
Great Britain’s own Jessica Learmonth and Lucy Hall quickly became the leading two, impressing their home nation crowds just off the start. Duffy was also aggressive in the water and remained right on the feet of the two Brits. After the first lap, the three led a group of about nine women including Jorgensen, Sarah True (USA) and Holland to create a reasonable gap in the field that carried them into the first transition zone.
But despite a tight transition, it was Duffy, Learmonth and Hall that were able to get out onto the bike first. From that point the three never held back. The trio charged forward together and immediately created enough distance to hold off the chasers behind them. While another bike trio of Jorgensen, Holland and Emma Moffatt (AUS) were able to ride together for the first lap, they were eventually caught by 11 more riders, which included Andrea Hewitt (NZL) and Jodie Stimpson (GBR).
Non Stanford, who trains in Leeds, found herself leading the second chase pack, but would ride the entire bike leg around two minutes behind the leaders.
Up ahead, the powerful trio hammered through the seven-lap bike course with a lead over two minutes for five of the seven laps. However, as the three entered the second transition zone, they were working with a lead of over 90 seconds.
Always the powerful cyclist, Duffy then took her momentum and blasted out of the gate and onto the run as the top contender. For the first two laps she was able to keep Jorgensen at bay, who started the run with a 1:40 deficit.
But just as most expected, it took Jorgensen only five kilometres to pull off the run of the day, bypassing Duffy to put herself in the lead of a WTS race once again. From there, she catapulted forward, flying to the finish chute with a lead of almost a minute. Having been down 100 seconds, Jorgensen overcame the largest gap in WTS history to win a race.
Duffy followed behind Jorgensen and was able to grab the silver medal, her second WTS silver of her career and second WTS podium of the season.
The final podium spot was then left to be completed by Holland and Stimpson, both of whom bypassed fellow compatriots Hall and Learmonth to position themselves into medal contention. However, with the help of her hometown crowds, it was Holland who had the extra effort in the final 200 metres.
Holland said of her race, “That was a really tough day and I was unsure how it was going to play out until the last 200 hundred metres. I was really disappointed that I could not make that break out of the swim, I was right there but I had a few troubles getting my wetsuit off, so it ultimately cost me making that breakaway pack. And from there 1:45 is a lot of time to chase down, especially when you have Gwen in that pack as well, she is such a phenomenal runner so I am just happy to be back with the rest today.”
Alistair Brownlee becomes hometown hero with Leeds win
In front of a home crowd and on the streets where he was born and raised, Alistair Brownlee (GBR) scored the first-ever 2016 Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds title and his first WTS victory of the season.
After executing a flawless day of performances across the swim, bike and run, Alistair enjoyed the moment grabbing the winner’s tape and celebrating the win with his home town in an uproar.
“Unbelievable! I think I have said that the Olympics was the best race I have ever raced in, but now I think that just beat it. The run was absolutely phenomenal, by far the best World Series there has ever been,” he said of the support he got from the day’s crowds.
“I wasn’t fit enough to have a race like that. I had great legs for the first couple laps of the run, I could not believe that I was feeling good, it was the best I have run in months really. I knew there was three of them behind and I was waiting for Jonny and Varga to jump Gomez (on the bike), but at that point in a race you have to keep going. So I saw that Jonny got that gap and I knew I had to wait for him there and I knew I would be faster with him and obviously I wanted him to do well.”
Joining in on the celebrations and a spot on the podium, was his younger brother Jonathan Brownlee, who raced side-by-side with Alistair up until the run. Rounding out of the medal count was Aussie Aaron Royle, who took home the bronze.
Jonny said of his performance on the day, “I am really happy. Obviously to get first and second for both of us, it was amazing. But I kind of lost it in the race in T1. I don’t know what happened there, I was way behind and I could not get my shoes in. We were coming up and the gap was probably about ten seconds from the front group, and Javi wasn’t putting in any work really, if anything he was slowing down so I thought I would just try and jump him. Luckily Alistair dropped back and helped me, but I wasted a lot of energy there and I paid for that. But very few people could have beaten Alistair on his kind of day.”
With ideal English conditions that included the slightest bit of rain, the men took to the pontoon to kick start the first-ever WTS men’s race in Leeds.
Having also been familiar with the conditions after training in Leeds for some time, it was Richard Varga (SVK) who led in the water over the entire 1500 metres and into the first transition zone.
As the men exited the transition zone and began the bike leg, it looked as though two groups of three athletes were going to form. Alistair, along with Royle and Aurelien Rapheal (FRA) immediately joined as the leaders while a trio containing Jonny, Javier Gomez Noya (ESP) and Varga were a short distance behind. But with the idea of racing in their hometown streets being used as motivation, Alistair slowed down to allow Jonny to push ahead and join the lead to create a top foursome.
The move however, caused Gomez and Varga left cycling as a duo. And while they were able to ride together for a lap, they eventually fell to the massive chase pack behind them. The group then rode tallying 24-strong in pursuit of the four leaders.
The leading men however did not back down for one inch on the seven-lap course. By the time the four left the saddle and headed out onto the run, they had created a substantial lead of over two minutes.
It was only a matter of seconds once their feet hit the pavement that both Brownlee brothers took off and positioned themselves into the gold and silver spots. While the two ran together for a couple of minutes, Alistair’s determination proved too significant as he pushed ahead of his younger brother.
Alistair’s lead continued to grow after each lap, and as he hit the bell lap, it was more than 30 seconds. The Leeds native had a strong enough lead to walk into the finisher’s chute with the crowd’s cheers louder than ever, as he captured his first WTS victory of the year.
Shortly after, it was another Brownlee name that caused the crowds to soar as Jonny came in for second place. The one-two finish also marked the fifth time in WTS history that the Brownlee brothers have secured the top two positions in their careers.
The bronze was then left open for Royle, who managed to hold strong for his third-ever WTS podium.
“It was a tough race all around. The way they had the course made with the T1 and T2 split and the hill right out of T1 made for a hard race for the whole two hours. But the crowd was amazing, having them be three or four deeps and having the boys with me, Alistair and Jonny, in their home race really helped me out there today.”
Another phenomenal performance was put out by Gomez, who ended his day in fourth place in his first WTS race back of the season. Despite missing out in being in the front cycle pack and entering the second transition zone down by over two minutes, he executed the fastest run split of the day to just miss the podium.
|4.||Javier Gomez Noya||ESP||01:51:02|
|6.||Pierre Le Corre||FRA||01:51:30|
|4.||Pierre Le Corre||FRA||1669|
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