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American Gwen Jorgensen (USA) claimed the win at Saturday’s ITU World Triathlon Series Yokohama race (her fourth straight at this event), with Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) and Ai Ueda (JPN) earning the other two podium spots. With no other Americans finishing on the podium, Katie Zaferes will likely earn the final spot on the women’s U.S. Olympic triathlon team thanks to her ranking in the USA Triathlon Objective Rankings System—Gwen Jorgensen and Sarah True earned the first two spots at last year’s Rio Test Event.
While her second-place finish in Gold Coast ended a 12-WTS race winning streak that she started in Yokohama in 2014, Jorgensen returned to the top of the podium with the fastest run split ever in Yokohama history—32:15.
Producing a consistently strong performance throughout the whole competition that saw her among the leaders in the swim and bike that set her up for a flawless run execution, Jorgensen was able to reclaim her spot on the top of the WTS podium. The victory also granted her the Yokohama title for the fourth consecutive year, a feat that no other elite athlete has done been able to do at the same venue.
“What I love about coming to Yokohama is everyone’s so welcoming, polite and helpful. And when you race, the crowd just lines the entire course, and that’s always something that’s exciting and motivating,” Jorgensen told USA Triathlon. “I would have liked to have been a little closer up to the front on the swim and the bike and still have some work to do. So it’s good that I have three months, so I can continue to build and mess with my bike and my run.”
Earning the silver medal was Aussie Ashleigh Gentle. Gentle constructed a monster of a race to come from behind and ultimately take the second spot on the podium. Her silver medal also allowed her to demonstrate a strong case going forward with her national federation’s Olympic selection for the final two Australian women’s spots.
Despite being 30 seconds down on the swim, Gentle and Ai Ueda worked to pull up on the bike. Heading out of T2, Ueda and Gentle were able to get a wide enough gap and stride away from the others. Sticking together until the final metres, Gentle had a little bit more left in her legs to get ahead of Ueda and grab the silver. While Ueda followed behind in third.
On the Olympic qualification front, Lisa Norden’s 22nd place finish was enough to keep her in the European new flag quota spot. Unless the U.S. opts to use their final women’s spot as a discretionary position, Katie Zaferes finished the Olympic qualification period as the highest athlete on the rankings list outside of previously-qualified Jorgensen and Sarah True. Amelie Kretz’ incredible eighth-place finish means she moved ahead of Maryia Shoret, who was the last athlete to qualify for the Olympics via rankings, which bodes well for Canada.
Read more: Triathlon.org
2016 ITU WTS Yokohama
Yokohama, Japan – May 14, 2016
1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run
1. Gwen Jorgensen USA 1:56:02
2. Ashleigh Gentle AUS 1:57:20
3. Ai Ueda JPN 1:57:25
4. Andrea Hewitt NZL 1:57:33
5. Charlotte Mcshane AUS 1:57:34
6. Katie Zaferes USA 1:57:35
7. Emma Moffatt AUS 1:57:45
8. Amelie Kretz CAN 1:57:53
9. Kirsten Kasper USA 1:58:02
10. Laura Lindemann GER 1:58:10