Jenkins powers onto Madrid podium

Britain’s Helen Jenkins propelled herself onto the podium of the Dextro Energy ITU World Championship Series Madrid on Saturday

Britain’s Helen Jenkins propelled herself onto the podium of the Dextro Energy ITU World Championship Series Madrid on Saturday. The 2008 World Champion finished third following a challenging hilly bike ride and run in 34 degree heat. The race was won by Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig, who ran away from Jenkins and second placed Emmie Charayon of France with 100m to go.

With a non wetsuit swim, and an eight lap bike course featuring a 12% climb on every lap, the expectation was that the field would break up during the race. However, the athletes were bunched together by the end of the bike leg, causing a crash as the athletes reached the final stages before the transition to the 10km run. Britain’s Kerry Lang was a casualty, but still went on to finish in 37th place. Helen Jenkins narrowly avoided crashing.

Spirig’s relatively slow winning time of 2hours 06.01 indicated how tough the Madrid course was today. Charayon, the World Junior Champion, had breakthrough performance to finish four seconds back and Jenkins was further four seconds behind the young French woman after narrowly avoiding a crash in the bike to run transition. Britain’s Liz Blatchford secured a top ten finish with 8th place.

Helen Jenkins said: “It was a target to finish on the podium but I wasn’t sure whether I would achieve it in the hard conditions with it being so hot. It was tough but I got my nutrition right and hydrated well beforehand. The run was in the shade, which helps a lot.

“It was quite scary seeing girls go down on the bike. I’m usually good at getting off the bike in the first few but I was lucky to swerve out of the way today.

“The plan was to see if I could run with the leaders. I picked up the pace on the 3rd lap, and then again on the 4th but Nicola was very strong and Emmie was strong in the end too. The result was a big improvement for me.”

Performance Director, Heather Williams, said: “Today was a big step up from the previous performances in Sydney and Seoul. The British girls all had good swims and Liz, Helen and Vanessa all looked very strong on the bike. It was a shame the race fizzled out a bit on the bike as the whole pack came together, but I’m pleased with the results today.”

Vanessa Raw led during stages of the bike leg, but faded to 31st place on the run.

Barbara Riveros Diaz of Chile extended her lead at the top of the Dextro Energy ITU World Championship standings with a solid sixth position. Helen Jenkins now moves up to sixth place.

Jenkins goes on to Des Moines next weekend before completing a large block of training in preparation for the Dextro Energy ITU World Championship London on 24 July and the Grand Final in Budapest in September.

Women’s Results:
1. Nicola Spirig (SUI) 2.06.01
2. Emmie Charayron (FRA) 2.06.05
3. Helen Jenkins (GBR) 2:06.09
8. Liz Blatchford (GBR)
31. Vanessa Raw (GBR)
37. Kerry Lang (GBR)