Non Stanford has become the second Welsh female athlete to win the World Triathlon Series. Following in the esteemed footsteps of Helen Jenkins (out this year with injury), Stanford battled through a rain-soaked Hyde Park to take victory with a 25sec margin over Ireland’s Aileen Reid. Two-time world champion Emma Moffatt (AUS) finished third.
The 1.5km wetsuit swim saw Germany’s Anne Haug, who was lying second in the championship leading into the Final, exit last, throwing the title chase open from the off. With over a 2min deficit to claw back on the bike, Haug struggled to stay in contention, relying on teammate Anja Knapp to fall back to collect her.
Moffatt had led a large group of athletes out of the Serpentine, including Stanford and Jodie Stimpson. However a 15sec penalty for failing to place her wetsuit in her transition box meant Stanford would have to stop on the run, reminiscent of Jonny Brownlee in last year’s Games, after he mounted his bike too early exiting T1.
A large group of some 25 athletes quickly formed at the start of the seven-lap bike leg, which stayed pretty consistent throughout. Gwen Jorgensen (USA), Series leader and race favourite, was in the mix in the lead group when she slipped on a corner nearing Buckingham Palace. No one else was caught up, but it quickly became apparent that this was a race-ender, as the chase pack quickly caught and passed her. When Haug, who was by now over 3mins down passed her on the third lap, it wasn’t long before Jorgensen called it a day and headed straight to the medical tent.
With the top two title contenders out of the running, the race was on between the two Brits of Stanford and Stimpson.
T2 passed without incident, and saw Stanford bolt out to the front. Aware she had a 15sec penalty to take, she dug in deep to build a gap to second-place runner Sara Groff (USA, and fourth in the Games).
Stimpson meanwhile was battling hard in a group of five athletes, which included Moffatt and Ireland’s Aileen Reid.
As with Jonny at the Games, Stanford chose to take her penalty on the last lap. As the clock ticked down, you could see Groff and the chase pack edging closer. But Stanford had done more than enough to maintain the lead, propelling out of the box with a 14sec lead in hand. With Groff falling back into the clutches of the chase pack, the race was on for second.
Reid, Moffatt and Stanford dug in hard, but it was Reid who managed to just outsprint Moffat for second, 3secs ahead. Reid’s second-place finish matched her best performance ever at Madrid last year.
Stimpson ran over the line 6secs later to take fourth, and with it silver in the overall Series. The result is the first time we’ve had two ITU Brit ladies in the top three rankings overall since 2002 (Michelle Dillon and Leanda Cave).
Haug eventually ran though in 35th place, which remarkably was still enough to take bronze in the overall standings.
Speaking after the race, Stanford said: “[Winning the world title] is crazy. It hasn’t really sunk it yet. I’m taking it in my stride at the minute but I'm sure when I get five minutes to myself and get to reflect on it I’ll probably get quite emotional. I just can't put it into words right now. All the hard work, it’s more than over the last year but this last year in particular. All the ups and downs and I've managed to hold it together and pull it off.
“To stand on the podium with a fellow Brit, and with Jodie, was just fantastic. It’s really put the icing on the cake and I couldn’t think of a better way to end it. Hopefully the boys will do the same tomorrow and it will be the perfect weekend for British triathlon.”
Despite the DNF Jorgensen finished fourth in the Series, Andrea Hewitt (NZL) fifth.
1.5km swim | 40km bike | 10km run
1 Non Stanford, GBR 2:01:32
2 Aileen Reid, IRL 2:01:57
3 Emma Moffatt, AUS 2:02:00
4 Jodie Stimpson, GBR 2:02:06
5 Alice Betto, ITA 2:02:09
22 Vicky Holland 2:04:54
29 Katie Hewison 2:05:39
34 Natalie Milne 2:06:17
DNF Vanessa Raw
DNF Emma Pallant
2013 Overall WTS Standings
1 Non Stanford, GBR 4220
2 Jodie Stimpson, GBR 3805
3 Anne Haug, GER 3110
4 Gwen Jorgensen, USA 3033
5 Andrea Hewitt, NZL 3004
Brit Overall Standings
19 Katie Hewison 1426
33 Vicky Holland 1063
43 Vanessa Raw 684
49 Natalie Milne 595
102 Emma Pallant 83
Tune in later today for video interviews with Jodie Stimpson and Non Stanford from the finish line.