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The home crowd could only stand and stare today as the 30-year-old from Wisconsin hunted down her fellow ITU athlete prey on the final 10km, to take her 17th WTS victory. The Brit team, which included Non Stanford, Vicky Holland, Jodie Stimpson, Jess Learmonth and Lucy Hall, took bronze, courtesy of Holland, behind Bermudan Flora Duffy in silver.
Brit swim power duo and Leeds residents Hall and Learmonth controlled the 1.5km first discipline, exiting Roundhay Park lake after 18:31mins, with bike specialist Duffy in tow.
While Holland was only several seconds back in sixth, a tricky wetsuit exit saw her miss the front trio, leaving her ensconced in the chase group along with Jorgensen.
There was even more woe for Team GB, as Stimpson found herself 27secs down and Stanford a further 8secs out of T1. With the Brits spread out across four groups, Hall and Learmonth did their best to slow the pace out front. But with Duffy’s bike pedigree that was easier said than done, the Xterra world champ cranking up the pace from the off and pulling out a 1min gap by the end of the first 13.8km lap.
Meanwhile the third group, which included Stimpson, had managed to bridge the gap to Holland’s chasing ensemble, the large pack staying together until the end of the bike.
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By the end of the third of seven short 3.95km laps, the gap to the leading trio was up to 1:38mins, as Duffy, Hall and Learmonth pounded the damp cobbles of Leeds city centre. Trading chat throughout the bike leg, the two young Brits could do little but stick in and try to control the pace, which they did admirably, the deficit by T2 still 1:40mins. But would that be enough for strong runner Duffy to hold off Jorgensen and those legs?
Answer: of course not. While Duffy gunned it out of T2 to build a lead of 24secs over the two Brits gals after the first lap, the American was busy picking off athletes one by one until Duffy was the only one left in her sights. With 5km to go she was 38secs down on Duffy; by the end of the third lap of four Jorgensen made her move, eventually crossing the tape in 2:00:33 (with a 33:29min run split), just under a minute ahead of Duffy.
Holland, who had run with Stimpson throughout the 10k, kicked just before the final corner to take third ahead of her teammate. Stanford, who had had spent the entire 40km bike leg in the third group, put in the fifth fastest run in 34:58mins to take ninth. Learmonth would take 10th to give the Brits four in the top 10. Hall would run through for 13th.
Read the reaction from the five Brits and Flora Duffy here and for a full list of results head to www.triathlon.org
The next round of the WTS takes place in Stockholm on 2 July, where GB’s Helen Jenkins, absent today in Leeds, will compete alongside her Rio teammates Holland and Stanford for the first time this season.
Image credit: triathlon.org