YOKOHAMA, Japan — U.S. National Team member and 2012 Olympian Gwen Jorgensen picked up her first ITU World Triathlon Series title of the year and second-straight in Yokohama on Saturday. Spain’s Javier Gomez also won in Yokohama on the men’s side.
Jorgensen (St. Paul, Minn.) posted the winning time of 1 hour, 58 minutes, 38 seconds on the standard 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike, 10-kilometer run course. She posted the fastest run of the day (33:43) to surge ahead three kilometers into the final leg to repeat her Yokohama title from 2013. Japan’s Ai Ueda was second in front of a home crowd with a time of 1:59:14, and Agnieszka Jerzyk of Poland was third in 1:59:24.
Jorgensen connected with the lead pack early on, exiting the water just six seconds behind the leader, Caroline Routier of Spain. Though the chase pack made up time over the nine-lap bike course, Jorgensen stayed toward the front of the bike pack and began the run in a small group with Ueda and Belgium’s Claire Michel. Around the 3k mark, Jorgensen broke away to finish with a solid gap over the field for the win.
“I know that if I give my competition an inch, they’ll take a mile, so it’s something I’ve been focusing on,” Jorgensen said in a post-race interview with ITU media. “I was fortunate today, there was a long run to transition, so I think that helped out as well.”
With today’s win, Jorgensen moves to the No. 2 position in the Threadneedle ITU World Triathlon Series Rankings with 1,824 points.
“I’ve really been working on the swim and the bike,” Jorgensen said. “I think that’s the focus and I know that I have to become a complete triathlete. I look at my peers – some of the men – and they really execute on the swim, bike and run. That’s what I want to do as well.”
Gomez threw down yet another stellar performance in Yokohama on Saturday, in a race that may have reset the world rankings in triathlon.
Previously, in every WTS race Alistair Brownlee and Jonathan Brownlee had started together, at least one of them had finished in the medals. In Japan, they were pushed off the podium by Spain’s Mario Mola and South Africa’s Richard Murray.
However it was Gomez who yet again reaffirmed his place at the top of the WTS pecking order in 2014, as he pulled out his most impressive win yet this season. While in Auckland and Cape Town Gomez dropped Jonny Brownlee with a few kilometers to go to assure his win, he didn’t capture the Yokohama victory until the final meter.
With the Brownlee’s falling off the pace halfway through the run, Mola and Gomez dropped Murray with just over a kilometer to go, and entered the blue carpet together. While Mola looked hesitantly over his shoulder twice at Gomez, he wasn’t caught off guard in the throw down. The pair sprinted side by side almost the length of the finishing chute, before Gomez lunged to the finishing tape when it counted, capturing his third consecutive WTS win in 2014 in 1 hour, 45 minutes, 31 seconds. His bid to become only the second man to win four ITU World Championships is on track.
“With Mario and Richard, then run pretty fast and I was just about to drop in the second or third lap and somehow I managed to get up. Then I got down to the final few hundred meters, I knew that Mario is pretty fast but I just gave it everything, the third sprint I’ve won in my life, so I’m pretty happy,’ Gomez said. “Third win of the year, I can’t believe it’s going so good.”
The next stop in the eight-race ITU World Triathlon Series will be a sprint-distance event in London, with the men’s sprint on May 31 at 2 PM ET on Universal Sports, followed by the women’s sprint at 4 PM ET on Universal Sports. Then, the best in the world will head to Chicago on June 27-29 for the only U.S. stop of 2014.
Complete series rankings for the women and the men are available at triathlon.org.
(From USA Triathlon and International Triathlon Union Press Releases)