Jodie Stimpson (GBR) followed compatriot Alistair Brownlee to win the grueling World Triathlon Series event in Kitzbuehel in one hour, three minutes and twenty two seconds, with it earning her first WTS title.
After finishing third in the last two WTS events (Yokohama and Madrid) and sitting third in the overall rankings, Stimpson made the step up to win the race billed as one the world’s toughest triathlons. Stimpson finished ahead of Emma Jackson (AUS) in 1:04:21 and Anne Haug (GER) in 1:04:34.
“I got half way and my legs were not feeling too bad and people were breathing heavy,” Stimpson said. “I was like ‘make sure you’re feeling alright’, I was like ‘no way it’s going to hit me soon’ and then I got to 2k and my legs were OK. Darren (Smith, coach) said ‘if you get to 2k then let it rip’. I just had to give it a go.”
With the 11.5km bike demanding a 867m climb, with a gradient of between 17 and 22 percent in the final 1km, the cycling specialists quickly made their moves after a close swim. One of those was Anne Haug (GER), who started the race second in the overall rankings.
Haug, an expert in clawing her way back on the bike, benefited from the shorter 750m swim in Kitzbuehel. Although she exited the water in 27th place, she soon made up a relatively small 30-second deficit and got herself to the front of the pack as they began the daunting climb.
When the bike entered the most demanding section, four triathletes began to break away from a large lead group. The leaders were made up of Stimpson, Haug, Nicky Samuels (NZL) and Jackson but in the last 2km Stimpson made her move and began to create a strong lead to take into the 2.55km run. When Stimpson hit the run, she was 43 seconds ahead of the chasing pack and never looked like being caught during the 136m climb.
After a disappointing season so far, Jackson said she was pleased to make a podium. “I haven’t started the season so well so I’m happy to be back on the podium. This is my third silver medal in a world series event so I’m so happy to do it here. My goal was to stay with the leaders and if I could attack I’d attack, but when Jodie went I couldn’t go with her so I wanted to stay with Anne and Nicki and see what I could do on the run.”
“I didn’t want to risk anything so maybe it was the wrong decision, maybe it was the right decision,” Haug said.” But I’m on third place so I have to be happy with that. It was an amazing swim for me – I was almost in the first group, it was a little bit shocking for me. But it’s a series and you have to be consistent all season and I’m in third place so I have to happy.”