Helen Jenkins became the first British woman to win the ITU World Championship Series race in London on Saturday, when she struck gold on the proposed London 2012 Olympic course.
The 27-year-old continued her impressive record of winning a medal at each of the three Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship London races to date – following her 2009 and 2010 bronzes with gold today.
It means Jenkins climbs from sixth to fourth in the overall World Championship rankings. Chile’s Barbara Riveros Diaz continues to lead the rankings with Andrea Hewitt of New Zealand in second and Paula Findlay of Canada third.
Jenkins was never out of contention throughout a thrilling race that saw 59 of the 67 starters go into the bike/run transition in one pack, separated by just seven seconds.
But it was Jenkins who threw down the gauntlet, making the decisive break halfway through the run to cut the leading group to just six runners before pressing on to cross the finish line in two hours and 34 seconds.
Gwen Jorgensen of the USA finished seven seconds behind her to take silver, with Germany’s Anja Dittmer taking bronze.
Afterwards Jenkins, the 2006 World Champion, said: “I’m so happy, it’s really special. I knew I had the form but you have to deliver on the day. It’s unbelievable. The crowd’s support was amazing.
“It’s brilliant to be on top, I’m used to being second or third,” she added. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet.”
Jenkins said her preparations for the event had been hampered by a cold.
“I had a bit of a cold this week and I wasn’t able to do my usual race prep,” she said. “I didn’t feel great on the swim and I felt terrible on the bike, I was just trying to follow my teammate Kerry Lang.
“I hit the run and thought I would see what I would do. I thought I would keep pushing right to the end. It hurt so much. I only relaxed when I got on the carpet.”
Jorgensen won silver to seal her place on the USA team for 2012 just 18 months after her first triathlon.
“It was a wonderful course, a beautiful swim and bike. I’m going to sit down and go through everything now,” she said. “There’s a lot to take away for next year.”
Dittmer was pleased with her bronze on the proposed London 2012 course.
“It was very special to go on the course around Buckingham Place. It’s good to practise on the course because it’s the first and last chance to do so,” she said. “I was trying to improve because the sport is improving. It looks like we’re all doing the same on the bike. I felt really good on the bike today, so I could save some energy for the run.
Jodie Stimpson was second of the Brits in 14th. "I was hoping to run better, but it’ll do,” she said. "The crowd here is always a good turn out and really supportive. The course is awesome.”
Britain’s Vicky Holland finished 17th. She said: “It was an average performance, I’ve just come from injury, but I think I performed the best I could today.
"It was fast paced, maybe the strongest pace we’ve seen lately,” she added. "It’s a hard task to be a part of the Great British team, but then you know you’re competing with the best.”
Non Stanford (GBR) came 39th and said: “It was pretty special racing on the proposed Olympic course. It was fantastic for British athletes because of the spectators.”
Britain’s Kerry Lang, who came 52nd, paid tribute to Jenkins. "Helen was just awesome,” she said. “I think she’s really showed the world, ‘watch out’, and it’s amazing to be on the team with her. It was a good fast paced race, and great to see Helen winning."
A full Hyde Park round-up to come in Issue 265.