Sarah True once again claimed the top spot in Stockholm with a dominant performance on the run, beating favourite Katie Zaferes and Olympic champion Nicola Spirig in the process.
True won her first World Triathlon Series event in the Swedish capital last year over sprint distance, and this year she increased her margin of victory to 14 seconds over the standard distance course to come home in 2:01:05.
With the current world champion Gwen Jorgensen choosing to sit this one out along with Brits Vicky Holland and Non Stanford, there were few athletes in the field who have split True and Zaferes this season.
This was true from the outset, as the two Americans emerged from the swim far ahead of the main pack of swimmers, and even seconds in front of super-swimmer Carolina Routier (ESP). Olympic champion Nicola Spirig (SUI) was already 48 seconds back going into T1.
True and Zaferes dropped Routier straight away on the bike but were soon joined by Bermudan Flora Duffy. They pushed the pace but by lap 4 of 6 Spirig had caught up, and by lap 5 they were swallowed by a chase pack which included Andrea Hewitt (NZL) Rachel Klamer (NED) and Erin Densham (AUS). The pack stayed together into T2 despite some breakaway attempts, and began the run on a steep incline.
True, Duffy and Spirig stormed into the lead at the start of the four-lap run course, followed closely by seven other athletes.
Sarah True pulls clear towards the end of the 10km run in Stockholm
True made gains over the field at the start of each 2.5km lap by pushing hard up the hill, and eventually pulled clear of second-placed Hewitt on the third lap, opening up a clear lead. It was now a race for the next two podium places, and despite Hewitt's best efforts she was unable to hold on for a repeat of her second place finish from Stockholm 2014, with Zaferes making a late surge on the last lap to take the silver.
True's run split of 33:14 was the best of the day, and meant she had time to high-five the crowd on her way down the finish chute. Duffy finished fourth with Spirig in fifth and Densham sixth. India Lee, the only Brit to finish the race after Jessica Learmonth pulled out, came in 26th place.
Following the race True said of her victory: “Stockholm is a beautiful city, a beautiful place to race. I came back here wanting to give last year justice and I am pleasantly surprised.”
It means True is still in third place in the World Series rankings, with Gwen Jorgensen in first and Zaferes second.
Sarah True (USA) 2:01:05
Katie Zaferes (USA) 2:01:19
Andrea Hewitt (NZL) 2:01:26
Flora Duffy (BER) 2:01:51
Nicola Spirig (SUI) 2:01:55
Erin Densham (AUS) 2:02:02
World Series Rankings
Gwen Jorgensen (USA) 4000 pts
Katie Zaferes (USA) 3700 pts
Sarah True (USA) 3322 pts
Andrea Hewitt (NZL) 3131 pts
Rachel Klamer (NED) 2196 pts
Vicky Holland (GBR) 2126 pts
(Main image: Janos Schmidt / ITU)
What did you think of the race in Stockholm, and will the Brits come back strong in the final two races of the WTS? Let us know in the comments!