More than seven years since her last top tier triathlon victory – the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, no less – the USA’s Gwen Jorgensen returned to the top step of an international triathlon podium today, running to victory at the World Triathlon Cup Valencia in Spain.
No stopping Gwen
Quite appropriately given the nature of many of her major wins, it was all down to the 10km run over the Olympic distance. A group of 22 athletes arrived at T2 together, with a massive lead, which meant that there was absolutely no chance of the medals being contested by anyone from behind.
In hot conditions, Jorgensen took her time to settle out of T2, but within the first kilometre had bridged back to the front of the field and soon after moved into the lead. It wasn’t long until it was just Jolien Vermeylen (BEL) and Nina Eim (GER) with her at the front, as they covered the first of four 2.5km run laps, having already built an advantage of six seconds over home athlete Nolia Juan. All indications were that those gaps were only going to expand.
Vermeylen has been in good form this year – bronze at the European Games, winner of the Europe Triathlon Cup Holten – while Eim was an impressive sixth at the recent Paris Test Event. None of that mattered today however, as Jorgensen upped the pace on the second run lap and simply ran away.
At 7.5km, starting the final lap, Jorgensen’s advantage was 23 seconds over Eim, with Vermeylen a further 20 seconds behind and in danger of losing that podium position
Today’s win will certainly help Jorgensen’s prospects of gaining access to WTCS starts in the early part of 2024, as she moves up the World Triathlon rankings with the points earned from today’s efforts. Her run performance at WTCS Sunderland – second only to race winner Cassandre Beaugrand – had shown her form was there, and getting back to the top step of a race, albeit World Cup level, will be a huge motivation for the U.S. legend on her return to the sport after seven years away.
Home victory for Cantero
If the Elite Women’s race was a sign of experience, then the Elite Men saw the next generation breaking through.
Much like the earlier race, the pan flat course in Valencia is not one that naturally leads to breakaways and excitement, and it was a large group that descended on T2 in close order. There was a small escape, as Great Britain’s U23 World Champ, Connor Bentley and Hungary’s Zsombor Devay started just ahead of the chasing 20+, but their eight second advantage would soon vanish.
While Jorgensen had the race all but in the bag 3km in, the men’s race would not be decided until the final 100-metres. At that point it was 20 year-old Spaniard, David Cantero and Lasse Nygaard Priester (GER) making the 180-degree turn onto the final blue carpet sprint to the tape.
The German has the experience and plenty of top tier podiums on his C.V., but Cantero made the turn first and held strong to break the tape and take World Cup victory, in his first season in the senior ranks.
World Triathlon Cup Valencia 2023 results
Saturday 2 September 2023 – 1.5km / 40km / 10km
- 1. Gwen Jorgensen (USA) – 1:55:01
- 2. Nina Eim (GER) – 1:55:17
- 3. Marlene Gomez-Göggel (GER) – 1:55:24
- 4.Nolia Juan (ESP) – 1:55:38
- 5. Jolien Vermeylen (BEL) – 1:56:06
- 1. David Cantero Del Campo (ESP) – 1:41:10
- 2. Lasse Nygaard Priester (GER) – 1:41:11
- 3. Michelle Sarzilla (ITA) – 1:41:26
- 4. Nicola Azzano (ITA) – 1:41:38
- 5. Cameron Main (GBR) – 1:41:44