Non Stanford won an exciting sprint for the finish line with former world champion, Emma Moffatt (Aus) to secure second place behind USA's Gwen Jorgensen at the Omegawave World Triathlon San Diego. Jodie Stimpson was fifth in what was an excellent race from the British athletes.
Stanford, the U23 World Champion, made a major step forward to secure her first World Triathlon Series (WTS) podium finish against the current world number one and a former world champion.
Following the swim, Stanford, Stimpson and Katie Hewison were positioned in a large chasing pack of cyclists. Stanford was prominent at the front, pushing the pace but the lead group of four, which included Moffatt and USA’s Sarah Groff, had a lead of over a minute at the start of the run.
For much of the 10km run it appeared that Moffatt could maintain the lead, but Jorgensen’s formidable speed took her into pole position in the final stages. Stanford fought hard to also catch Moffatt and hold off the finishing speed of Germany’s world number one ranked athlete, Anne Haug.
Stanford commented on her impressive run, saying: “I couldn’t believe that we were actually catching, and to have a sprint finish is always exciting. I put my head down and worked really hard, and just got there. I’m absolutely delighted.”
Jodie Stimpson equalled her best ever WTS finish with fifth place. She hung on to Stanford and Haug for much of the run, only fading in the final stages.
Stimpson said: “There are things that need to be worked on and it’s disappointing not to make the podium but there’s more to come.
“I knew Non was in good run form, so it was on from the word go and I was trying to stay calm. I also knew the gap wouldn’t really come down until the last lap of the run, and we could see Moffatt by then so it was like having a rabbit to catch and nothing is over until it’s over.”
Taking part in her first ever WTS race, Katie Hewison finished 29thand will look to build on this experience throughout the season as she aims to qualify for the PruHealth World Triathlon Grand Final in London in September.
British Triathlon Performance Director, Brendan Purcell summarised a successful day for Britain’s female triathletes: “It was an exceptional performance from all three women, particularly Non Stanford.
“Jodie is rightly very happy with fifth. Katie has done limited run training, so just to be there after the swim and bike is really promising for the future. They certainly demonstrated that British triathlon has a lot to be optimistic about.
He added that Britain’s men are relaxed and confident ahead of tomorrow’s race: “Alistair (Brownlee) is looking forward to racing at the top level and seeing where his form is. For the others, it’s an opportunity to see where the gains have been made over the winter and to climb the ranks.”
1. Gwen Jorgensen, USA, 2:00:03
2. Non Stanford, GBR, 2:00:03 (24, Swansea, coached by Malcolm Brown/Jack Maitland in Leeds)
3. Emma Moffatt, AUS, 2:00:06
Image: Delly Carr/ITU