After the excitement of the men’s finish just half an hour earlier, the women’s race had a lot to live up to and certainly didn’t disappoint in a an event packed with incident (image: Ian Cook/Dirty Green Trainers).
Brazil’s Pamela Oliveira led out in the swim, followed closely by Lucy Hall, and after a bit of elbow-dodging going around the first turn buoy, the field began to stretch out a bit. But it was the USA’s Katie Hursey who was first out of the Serpentine.
Into transition a group of eight athletes formed the lead pack not the bike, with Hursey joined by two of her US teammates – Gwen Jorgensen and Sarah Groff – Oliveira and Hall. Just behind them were Aileen Reid and Marie Rabi, who managed to bridge the gap and join the leaders. The group were working very well together, geed on by some vocal encouragement and gesticulating by Hall, and despite the best efforts of the chase group, the gap remained at 20secs.
One big moment of drama occurred as the chasers moved though transition and Chelsey Burns hit the deck hard, taking Anne Haug with her, and scuppering the German’s chances of making her way through the field. Burns stayed on the ground, attended to by medics, and things were looking bad, but fortunately she managed to get up under her own strength. In the meantime, the cones arranged around the American were retrieved, making the course through transition slightly less treacherous.
The leaders maintained their 20sec advantage into T2, and almost immediately Jorgensen moved to the front. Groff, Alice Betto and Nicky Samuels held her coattails for the first kilometre, but when the American turned things up a notch none of the others were able to stay with her. With Jorgensen striding away to victory, the most interesting story began to unfold between Groff, who’d opened a gap between herself and the rest of the chasers, and Emma Jackson, who was storming up through the field.
For a while it looked like Groff had second place sewn up, but by the final lap Jackson was visibly eating into the gap, closing it down almost every stride. As Jorgensen jogged across the finish line with a huge smile on her face, Groff managed to summon the energy and hold off the advancing Jackson to take second. Betto took fourth, Samuels sixth, GB’s Helen Jenkins put in another good performance to take seventh. Jodie Stimpson was 11th after a really gutsy performance considering that she’s been unable to train for the last two weeks due to the foot injury she sustained in Yokohama.