Strong runs lead Americans to top showings in World Triathlon Series opener
SYDNEY, Australia – 2012 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team qualifier Gwen Jorgensen and Beijing Olympian Jarrod Shoemaker closed strong on the run to record top-10 finishes in the opener of the 2012 ITU World Triathlon Series on Saturday morning in Sydney.
Gwen Jorgensen (File Photo: Mario Cantu)
Jorgensen (Milwaukee, Wis.) placed fourth in the women’s race, covering the Olympic-distance course in 2 hours, 2 minutes, 12 seconds to post the second-best World Triathlon Series finish of her career. Shoemaker (Clermont, Fla.) finished 10th on the men’s side for his top World Triathlon Series finish since 2010 in 1:51:51. Laura Bennett (Boulder, Colo.) notched a solid 15th-place showing in 2:03:02 for the U.S. women.
Australia’s Erin Densham was the women’s winner in 2:01:29, while Germany’s Steffen Justus took the men’s title in 1:51:04.
The women opened the day’s action with Japan’s Mariko Adachi leading the race out of the water by nearly 30 seconds. Bennett was among the leaders of the chase group, and all four Americans exited the water within 55 seconds of Adachi. Two large packs merged on the fifth lap of the bike, and more than 50 women hit T2 together.
Bennett was fourth onto the 10k run course, with Jorgensen exiting T2 toward the back of the lead pack. As Bennett faded from the lead group at roughly the 3k mark, Jorgensen continued her move toward the front of the field. At the midway point on the run, Jorgensen sat eighth. She moved to sixth entering the bell lap and picked off two more competitors over the final 2.5k to finish fourth with a 34:56 run split.
In the men’s race, there was little separation of the field over the 1,500-meter swim with Matt Chrabot (Colorado Springs, Colo.) leading the U.S. men out of the water in 15th place. Once on the 40k bike, Russia’s Ivan Vasiliev and New Zealand’s James Elvery broke away and led by more than a minute entering the run.
All three Americans took to the run in the chase pack. Shoemaker was 15th at the 2.5k mark and had cracked the top 10 at the midway point. After dropping to 11th entering the final lap, Shoemaker closed strong to lock up his ninth career WTS top-10 finish and first since placing seventh in London in 2010. His 31:22 run was the day’s seventh-fastest split.
In the women’s race, 2012 Olympic qualifier Sarah Groff (Hanover, N.H.) was 43rd in her first race of the season, while Jillian Petersen (Colorado Springs, Colo.) placed 51st. Manuel Huerta (Miami, Fla.) finished 42nd, and Chrabot was 48th for the U.S. men.
The eight-event ITU World Triathlon Series is a key proving ground for the United States’ top triathletes aiming for a spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team. In addition to racing for WTS points, athletes also will be looking to earn points toward securing a spot for their country at the 2012 Olympic Triathlon in London. The ITU Olympic Qualification Period closes May 31, 2012.
Up next is the May 11-12 ITU World Triathlon San Diego, which will serve as the second and final qualifying event for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team. Visit sandiego.triathlon.org for more on the event.
ITU World Triathlon Sydney
(1,500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run)
Women – Complete Results
1. Erin Densham (AUS), 2:01:29
2. Helen Jenkins (GBR), 2:01:38
3. Andrea Hewitt (NZL), 2:01:45
4. Gwen Jorgensen (Milwaukee, Wis.), 2:02:12
15. Laura Bennett (Boulder, Colo.), 2:03:02
43. Sarah Groff (Hanover, N.H.), 2:05:10
51. Jillian Petersen (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 2:07:13
Men – Complete Results
1. Steffen Justus (GER), 1:51:04
2. Richard Murray (RSA), 1:51:13
3. Laurent Vidal (FRA), 1:51:15
10. Jarrod Shoemaker (Clermont, Fla.), 1:51:51
42. Manuel Huerta (Miami, Fla.), 1:53:58
48. Matt Chrabot (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 1:54:48