Helen Jenkins demonstrated excellent form with second place at the first round of the ITU World Triathlon Series in Sydney earlier today. The 28 year old world champion from Bridgend finished behind Australia’s Erin Densham to secure yet another top finish in the Series.
Jenkins, who has already met British Triathlon’s qualification criteria for the London 2012 Olympic Games, was making her season debut.
She said: “Normally it takes me a few races to warm up, so to come out and get a podium performance is brilliant. My winter training has gone well, and ahead of the next race in San Diego I’ll get another block of training in. I will try to keep progressing from this race, looking forward towards the Olympics.”
Jenkins crashed on the bike last year, and finished 33rd. She said: “It’s always a relief to get the first race out of the way. When the all the bike packs came together I was a bit edgy and had memories of falling off again, so I had to hold my nerve and hold my position in the pack.”
She added: “Having qualified (for London 2012), I have the luxury of peaking at one time, I didn’t have to get into the top six for this race so obviously I’m fit, but not 100% yet so, yes, it’s really positive.”
Fellow Welshwoman, Non Stanford, 23, had a breakthrough race to finish 11th, by far the best performance of her career so far. She finished ahead of Olympic Champion, Emma Snowsill and former world champion, Emma Moffatt.
Liz Blatchford was 18th, Vicky Holland 38th and Jodie Stimpson 45th.
In the men’s race Will Clarke and Tim Don were Britain’s top performers in eighth and 11th place respectively. Both athletes are looking to secure the final Olympic slot that is available alongside Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, who were not racing in Sydney.
British Triathlon’s Olympic Performance Manager Malcolm Brown said: “It’s a very encouraging start for Helen. It shows that she’s wintered well. I’m sure she and her excellent support team are happy with her current state of fitness and this race has confirmed that they are moving in absolutely the right direction.”
He added: “Non Stanford had a massive breakthrough, nobody would have expected that.
“We had 12 athletes competing and we had a mix of excellent results, mechanical failure and some disappointments as you’d expect with that number competing in a highly charged selection race.
“They were solid results from Will and Tim. The men’s race was tough, and some of our opponents have raised their game.
“This was a selection race, but we won’t be making any decisions yet. There are two more Series races, and the European Championships next weekend to consider before the BOA announce the team in June.”
Helen Jenkins now holds the number two world ranking, with points from Sydney and September’s Yokohama race being included. The Series will feature another six events before the Grand Final in Auckland in October to decide this year’s world champions. The next round of the ITU World Triathlon Series takes place in San Diego, California, 12-13 May.
Results: 2012 Dextro Energy World Triathlon Sydney, 1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run
1. Erin Densham AUS 2:01:29
2. Helen Jenkins GBR 2:01:38
3. Andrea Hewitt NZL 2:01:45
11. Non Stanford GBR 2:02:43
18. Liz Blatchford GBR 2:03:12
38. Vicky Holland GBR 2:04:45
45. Jodie Stimpson GBR 2:05:16
1. Steffen Justus GER 1:51:04
2. Richard Murray RSA 1:51:13
3. Laurent Vidal FRA 1:51:15
8. William Clarke GBR 1:51:43
11. Tim Don GBR 1:52:02
56. Stuart Hayes GBR 1:57:10
57. Harry Wiltshire GBR 1:59:54