The USA athlete Gwen Jorgensen unbeatable run is over and she has to make do with silver as Brit Helen Jenkins wins WTS Gold Coast, her first WTS win since 2012. The New Zealand athlete Andrea Hewitt took third. Fellow Brit Jodie Stimpson finished in 12th, about three minutes behind Jenkins.
“I can’t quite believe it,” said Jenkins. “I did not have the best swim today and then on the bike, because it was so technical it was just as hard even if you were at the front, so I sat in and me, Flora [Duffy] and Andrea [Hewitt] were able to get a gap. I have so much respect for those girls, they were smashing it today. And I got to the run and just went for it. But the whole time I was waiting for Gwen, you can never underestimate how quick Gwen’s running is.”
Jenkins was strong from the start, and came out of T1 in the top group of 20, led by Spain’s Carolina Routier . The group eventually dwindled down to tally 18-strong, with Duffy (BER) and Jenkins taking turns forging the pack and pushing the pace. The chase group entered the first transition about 20 seconds behind the leaders, with contenders Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) and Jodie Stimpson (GBR) leading the charge. However they could not close the gap as Flora Duffy, Erin Densham (AUS) and Jenkins continuing to take turns to push a furious pace on the lead pack, the gap extended to 55 seconds on the next lap and only continued to widen as the leg carried on.
Duffy, Hewitt and Jenkins then brokeaway from the lead packpushed away as a threesome and were able to have to a ninety-second advantage heading out onto the run, a lead Jenkins was not going to waste knowing Gwen, with her phenomenol run, would be chasing her down. She wasted no time in blasting away to get out on front, and held onto her phenomenal stride and was able to carry herself right into the finish line.
Although Duffy and Hewitt were able to give themselves an advantage at the start of the run, Jorgensen came off the bike with guns blazing. Down by almost two minutes, she used her strongest discipline to earn some ground and close the gap little by little each lap.
It wasn’t until the final lap where the excitement intensified when Jorgensen caught up to Duffy and Hewitt. A sprint finish on the blue carpet ultimately determined the podium as Jorgensen was able to edge out Hewitt by a nose and take the silver. Hewitt was left with the bronze and Duffy finished in fourth.
“Helen was really strong today and she was the better athlete,” said Gwen. “Her, Andrea and Flora were riding really strong and yeah they just had a great race. I was just trying to run as fast as I could, a lot goes through your head and it is hot out there. They were running amazing and they just had a great race. It didn’t even look like I was gaining any ground on Helen, she was just going for it. It is great to be back racing against Helen, she was gone for a bit, so it was great to see her race well.”
Hewitt said “I rode as hard as I could. I saw that some of the girls were struggling on some of the corners so when we got the break we just kept riding right up until the end. I felt a little wobbly on the run, but I tried to keep pushing, I was with Flora and then Gwen came up at the end. I tried a bit earlier in the sprint, but there was just the technical bit at the end. It was just a tough race. This is my first Olympic distance of the year and I braced myself on the run, I could judge on the U turns where Gwen was and where Flora was. It just came down to the blue carpet at the finish.”