What we learned from #WTSStockholm
It was the penultimate round of the 2013 ITU World Triathlon Series and there was plenty to come from the elite men's and women's races in Stockholm. Here we recap the top-10 most interesting things we are talking about on the way to London.
- 1. Alistair Brownlee. Is he becoming the greatest of all time?
In Stockholm he collected his 15th World Triathlon Series win, on the back of a solo bike breakaway. It was his 10th consecutive Olympic distance series race win, the last one he didn't win was way back in Sydney in early 2011.
But what's more, Brownlee rises to the big occasions. Apart from the Auckland Grand Final last year which he did not contest, Brownlee has always won the biggest event of the year. Last year he also overcame the significant baggage associated with favourites in the triathlon race at the Olympics, thrilling the British at home in Hyde Park for a gold medal.
Stockholm was a must-win race to keep his chances of winning his third ITU World Championship and he did just that, as the late bike breakaway ended-up being key given that Gomez actually ran a faster split.
So yes, on the numbers he still has a way to go, both Peter Robertson (3) and Simon Lessing (4) have more World titles than he does, Brad Beven has more individual ITU World Cup wins (17), and Javier Gomez is still ahead when it comes to combined WTS and World Cup victories. But given he's only a sprightly 25, there is no signs that he's stopping anytime soon.
- 2. Is this one of the world's best sporting rivalries?
While Alistair Brownlee deserves to have his name in lights after another stunning performance, it's worth reflecting on how his rivalry with Javier Gomez and younger brother Jonathan Brownlee has also changed the game. While they have raced a total of 14 times, it's the last six that really deserve a mention.
From the past six races where they have all been on the start-line, the final podium has been the three of them five times. And it's no coincide that the past five ITU World Championship have all ended-up with one of them, Gomez in 2008 and 2010, Alistair in 2009 and 2011 and Jonathan in 2012. 2013? It will all be decided in London.
- 3. Gwen Jorgensen.
So yes, if you are wondering, Jorgensen's run was again flat-out brilliant. After leaving T2 down 40 seconds on Andrea Hewitt, she managed to pull her in on just the second of four laps. But that wasn't the most impressive part of her day in Stockholm, instead it was her swim as she exited with the leaders and stayed there on the bike. Afterwards she said that shock had rocketed her into action even earlier than usual leaving T2, where she put the burners down right from the start.
"I think I was just so shocked that I was in the front of the group, besides those two that went up the road, I was thrilled with my swim coming out of the water there,” Jorgensen said when asked about her burst of speed leaving T2. “Jamie Turner (coach) and I have been working hard on it and to see the hard work starting to pay off just feels really good.”
- 3. The 2013 ITU World Champions.
After seven races, six different countries and four different continents just a measly 13 points separate @gwenjorgensen, Anne Haug and @nonstanford heading into London. Need some more perspective? A win is worth 800 points, and a win in London is worth 1400.
So what does it mean for London? Basically, a world title for whoever wins.
- And while it's not quite as tight in the men's, the margin is also small enough that any of the three could in theory win - although Alistair Brownlee is definitely in the box seat to claim his third ITU World Championship.
- 5. Good things come in groups.
In the women's race, it was Great Britain who had three athletes within the top-5, with Stanford second, Vicky Holland third and Jodie Stimpson fifth.
- While in the men's race, it was a French-fest.
- Who says triathlon isn't a team sport?
- 6. Personal Bests.
- Both fourth-place finishers, Aurelien Raphael and Vicky Holland, in Stockholm recorded their career best WTS results.
- 8. The fans. Stockholm really turned it on in the crowd department last weekend. And you know what that means London, it's your turn next. Get set for a crazy fun-fuelled days in Hyde Park.
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