Gwen Jorgensen is a surprise name on the start list for WTCS Cagliari this weekend.
The 2016 Olympic gold medallist and two-time World Champion has raced three times this year since returning to the sport after over six years out – but not at this level until now.
She tried to earlier in the month when flying to Japan in the hope of racing WTCS Yokohama – but a spot didn’t become available.
That highlighted the dilemma she faces in trying to get into races which will give her the chance to earn the points that would push her up the rankings as she continues her ambitious attempt to make it to Paris 2024.
But that’s about to change as she’s been allocated #53 on the Cagliari start list which is headed by fellow American Taylor Spivey at #1, who is desperate to make Paris after just missing out on selection for the last Olympics in Tokyo.
The other US names are Summer Rappaport, Kirsten Kasper, Erika Ackerlund and former world champion Katie Zaferes who won two Olympic medals in Tokyo and is making her own comeback, though she did race in the season-opening WTCS event in Abu Dhabi.
One big name missing is Taylor Knibb who made such an encouraging return from injury with a third-place finish in Yokohama.
Ready for race week
Jorgensen had been training around Sardinia in the hope she would make the list and now that’s happened – she posted on Instagram: “One training week done in Cagliari. Now it’s race week.”
As well as the step up in level, she’d also been keen to move up to an Olympic-distance race as all her events so far this year – third in an Oceania Triathlon Cup event in Taupo, 14th at the World Triathlon Cup New Plymouth and second to Zaferes at the Americas Triathlon Cup St. Peters Missouri – were over the sprint distance.
That will now happen – with Cagliari featuring two 750m swim laps followed by 10 loops of 3.8km on the bike and then four 2.5km run circuits.