World Triathlon Series

Gwen Jorgensen (barely) extends triathlon streak; Olympic qualifying next

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Gwen Jorgensen had become so dominant this season that in spring World Triathlon Series races she high-fived spectators with her sunglasses resting on her head before crossing the finish line.

Not so in Hamburg, Germany, on Saturday.

The accountant-turned-World champion won her record-extending 11th straight race, but she was tested like never before during an unbeaten run since her last loss April 26, 2014.

Jorgensen trailed in the final half-mile, and, though she retook the lead from Great Britain’s Vicky Holland, she looked over her shoulder in the final sprint and went just about full speed through the finish line.

Jorgensen, with her Oakleys resting on her nose in more traditional fashion this time, crossed in 57 minutes, 8 seconds. Holland was five seconds behind (full results here). Vincent Luis won the men’s race, becoming the first French athlete to take a World Triathlon Series title.

Jorgensen had won her previous 10 straight races all by at least six seconds, the largest by 1 minute, 38 seconds. This was unfamiliar territory.

“A lot was going through my head,” Jorgensen said of the duel with Holland in a finish-area broadcast interview, a few minutes before being handed a large glass of beer on the podium that she took a sip of and then poured on the second- and third-place finishers. “I was like, when do I kick? What do I do? Is she going to kick first? Yeah, she really pushed me.

“I could feel her there on my shoulder.”

Jorgensen, who finished 38th in her Olympic debut in 2012, her hopes punctured by a flat tire, was eight seconds behind after the 750m swim in Hamburg and four seconds back after the 20km bike. Her strength is the run, and Jorgensen proved it again by outdistancing Brits Holland and third-place Non Stanford after 5km. Though Holland proved pesky, even leading Jorgensen (by no more than a stride) late in the race.

Holland was asked her thoughts on possibly being in a position to beat Jorgensen.

“I thought I had a chance of getting closer, maybe, than anyone has done yet this year,” Holland said. “You can’t underestimate Gwen. She’s unbeaten at the moment.”

Americans Sarah True and Katie Zaferes were fourth and sixth, respectively, as they continued to show Olympic medal-prospect form.

Jorgensen notched her 14th career win in 30 World Triathlon Series starts, extending the longest men’s or women’s win streak in series history.

Pre-WTS, Australian Emma Carney and Portugual’s Vanessa Fernandes were unbeaten across 12 straight International Triathlon Union World Cup races, but they lost separate World Championships races during those streaks.

The World Triathlon Series continues in Stockholm from Aug. 22-23.

More importantly for Jorgensen, she next heads to Rio de Janeiro for the ITU World Olympic Qualification Event on Aug. 2. The top two U.S. finishers in the top eight overall automatically earn a spot on the 2016 U.S. Olympic team.

Jorgensen’s bike helmet includes Paul Bunyan, Bucky Badger

Gwen Jorgensen leads U.S. sweep, wins 10th straight World Triathlon Series race

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Gwen Jorgensen won her 10th straight World Triathlon Series race and led a U.S. sweep for the second time this season in London on Sunday.

Jorgensen, the reigning World champion, clocked 55 minutes, 45 seconds, despite International Triathlon Union commentators reporting she suffered from the flu or flu-like symptoms last week.

“It was really tough, but I know when I race up against my competitors, everyone’s not 100 percent,” Jorgensen said in a finish-area interview. “People are sick, coming back from injury. You have to be able to perform under any conditions.”

Countrywomen Katie Zaferes and Sarah True finished second and third behind Jorgensen, as they did in Gold Coast, Australia, on April 11, when organizers didn’t have three U.S. flags available for the podium ceremony. Zaferes was 20 seconds behind Sunday, two seconds faster than True (full results here).

Jorgensen, Zafares and True rank first, second and fourth in this season’s standings.

“We have a little bit of American steamroller action going on,” True said in a finish-area interview.

It marked the third-ever sweep by one nation in a men’s or women’s World Triathlon Series event (the series started in 2009).

Jorgensen, Zaferes and True were among a leading group of six or seven after the 20km bike and going into the 5km run. Jorgensen took a six-second lead halfway through the run, with True in second and Zaferes eight seconds behind in third.

Jorgensen, a 29-year-old who finished 38th at the 2012 Olympics, also in London, after suffering a flat tire, notched her 13th career win in 29 World Triathlon Series starts. She hasn’t lost a WTS race since April 26, 2014. She extended the longest men’s or women’s win streak in series history.

Pre-WTS, Australian Emma Carney and Portugual’s Vanessa Fernandes were unbeaten across 12 straight International Triathlon Union World Cup races, but they lost separate World Championships races during those streaks.

USA Triathlon can send no more than three women to the Rio 2016 Olympics, and it looks like Jorgensen, Zaferes and True are clear favorites to take those spots later this summer or next year depending on results.

The World Triathlon Series moves to Hamburg, Germany, on July 18 for the seventh of 10 races this year.

Photos: Gwen Jorgensen’s helmet includes Bucky Badger, Paul Bunyan

Gwen Jorgensen leads historic U.S. triathlon sweep at Gold Coast

Gwen Jorgensen, Sarah True, Katie Zaferes
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Only one flag was raised at the medal ceremony.

“The rumor was they didn’t even have three USA flags, so hopefully they’ll get three for next time,” Gwen Jorgensen said, according to The Associated Press.

The World champion Jorgensen won her eighth straight World Triathlon Series event and, for the first time, was joined by two countrywomen on the podium in Gold Coast, Australia, on Saturday.

Jorgensen, Sarah True and Katie Zaferes made up the second-ever medals sweep by one nation in a men’s or women’s World Triathlon Series event (the series started in 2009, and Gold Coast marked the 50th stop).

Jorgensen prevailed by 1 minute, 18 seconds, winning so easily that she crossed the finish line of the 10km run after several high-fives with fans and with her sunglasses perched on her hair (full results here).

Jorgensen was in the lead pack after the 1500m swim and the 43km bike, and she’s the greatest runner in the world. She had to serve a 15-second penalty during her run because her bike fell in the transition zone, but nobody was going to catch her.

“I don’t think you ever have a perfect race, but I was really thrilled to come out of the water and be in the front pack right away,” Jorgensen said in a finish-area interview.

Jorgensen notched her 11th career win in 27 World Triathlon Series starts. She hasn’t lost a WTS race since April 26. She extended the longest men’s or women’s win streak in series history. Pre-WTS, Australian Emma Carney was unbeaten across 12 straight International Triathlon Union World Cup races in 1995-96, but she did not win the separate World Championships races those years.

“You don’t think about that,” Jorgensen said of her streak. “When you say it, it sounds really weird. You look back at some of the triathlon legends, and it doesn’t seem like I’m at that level at all.”

True, who was the top American at the 2012 Olympics (fourth) and second in last year’s overall standings behind Jorgensen, made the podium for the first time in three tries this year.

Jorgensen, 28, and True, 33, went one-two at last season’s WTS event in London.

“And I knew that Katie is a podium athlete; it’s just a matter of time,” said True, who finished ninth and eighth in the first two events this season. “Those of us who are 30-plus, it takes us a little while to get warmed up to the season. … I’m actually ahead of where I thought I’d be.”

Zaferes made the podium for the third time in as many races this season. She was second to Jorgensen in the first two events in Abu Dhabi and Auckland. Zaferes finished 18 seconds behind True.

The only other time one nation swept a World Triathlon Series podium came in 2011, when three Australian Emmas did so — Emma Moffatt, Emma Jackson and Emma Snowsill.

In the men’s Gold Coast race, Olympic bronze medalist Jonathan Brownlee captured his second straight victory, topping Spain’s Mario Mola and Javier Gomez (full results here).

U.S. mile record holder Alan Webb failed to finish the race in his second career World Triathlon Series start.

The World Triathlon Series continues with a stop in Cape Town, South Africa, in two weeks.

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