By Erin Greene on 06/07/16 at 10:21 am
The Vattenfall World Triathlon Stockholm welcomed a new name to the list of World Triathlon Series winners, while another extended his own record of victories with a second consecutive series title. Let’s look a little deeper into the statistics and stories from Stockholm.
The breakaway tactics surprised nobody, but this time Flora Duffy (BER) was finally able to turn her aggressive racing approach into a World Triathlon Series win. Already leading the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings ahead of Stockholm, Flora’s season to date has been a model of consistency; 4th / 4th / 3rd / 2nd in her previous four races, and now she has continued that progression with her first career WTS Gold. A true solo effort, her lead starting the 10km run was just 23 seconds. That she then produced the second fastest run of the day proves that Flora Duffy is a serious contender for the Olympic podium and a true all-round triathlete. Extending her lead in the rankings too, Duffy has plenty to look forward to and race for over the second half of the season, and will have both Olympic Games and World Championship medals on her mind.
When it comes to consistency, few athletes can match Andrea Hewitt (NZL). Second in Stockholm and another podium finish was a suitable way to celebrate her 50th World Triathlon Series start. A 17th career podium, perhaps even more remarkable is that 44 of those races (88%) have resulted in top-10 finishes. Indeed, you have to go back more that three years (Madrid 2013), for the last World Triathlon Series event in which Andrea had a double figure finishing position – that’s 21 consecutive races inside the top-10. Now second in the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings, Hewitt is in a great position to add to her two Silver and three Bronze World Championship medals earned over the last seven seasons. Third in 2014, second in 2015, can Andrea finally complete the set and go one better to become World Champion in 2016?
One athlete who does know about World Championship Gold is Helen Jenkins (GBR). World Champion in both 2008 and 2011, third place in Stockholm was her 16th WTS podium finish from 32 races starts, an amazing 50% podium strike rate. That statistic has been boosted by 3rd / 1st / 3rd in her three 2016 events. Fully focused on improving on her London 2012 fifth place in Rio this summer, like Hewitt, the experienced Jenkins is improving with age. Still only 32, Jenkins is arguably in her sporting prime and will relish the challenge of her third Olympic Games appearance.
From experience, to future stars. The pages of the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings report have included many words around the strength-in-depth of the U.S. women’s squad over the past two seasons. The future looks bright too, based on the World Triathlon Series debut of 18 year-old Taylor Knibb. Silver medallist in Chicago last year at the World Junior Championships, Knibb finished 11th in her first WTS start in Stockholm, just nine seconds behind the Rio-bound Katie Zaferes. Taylor Knibb is a name to watch for the future, certainly.
If Nicky Samuels (NZL) was seeking a confidence boost ahead of the Olympic Games, then surely Stockholm will have provided just that. Having missed the entire 2015 World Triathlon Series season recovering from injury, Samuels started 2016 with 20th / 20th / 30th and a DNF and so eighth in Sweden was a significant step up in performance. It is also a result that sees her jump 23 places in the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings to 19th.
Having taken Gold and Silver medals on home soil in Leeds three weeks ago, there was no question that the Brownlee brothers were favourites to repeat that in Stockholm, particularly given the late withdrawal of their closest rival, Javier Gomez. While many athletes succumb to external pressure and expectations, the Brownlee brothers seem to gain strength from it, and they looked in total control throughout.
Alistair Brownlee (GBR) now lifts his already incredible career statistics to 21 victories from 32 World Triathlon Series race starts. With back-to-back victories, Alistair also jumps another 16 places in the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings to seventh, despite only having raced three times this season. Heading off to his traditional summer training camp in St. Moritz, the reigning Olympic Champion is looking impressive as he seeks to defend his London 2012 Gold medal.
Stockholm has always been a happy hunting ground for Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) too. With two previous wins and one third, like Alistair he maintained his record of never finishing outside of the podium positions in the Swedish capital with Silver this time around. Jonathan’s first senior ITU World Championship title came in the Olympic year of 2012. Having closed the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings point’s gap to the Spanish pairing of Fernando Alarza and Mario Mola in Sweden, will he be able to repeat that once again in 2016?
Featuring Pierre Le Corre (FRA) in our pre-race Head-to-Heads feature proved to be an inspired choice, the Frenchman earning a second career World Triathlon Series Bronze medal. Pierre has really been a model of consistency all season, finishing 5th / 6th / 6th / 3rd in his four WTS starts to date. That level of performance is reflected in a well earned and solidified fourth place in the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings with three races remaining.
Perhaps inspired by racing in Scandinavia, Andreas Schilling (DEN) continued his 2016 progression in Stockholm. 30th in Abu Dhabi and 14th in Cape Town, Andreas finished with a career best result of fourth, just holding off the new Columbia Threadneedle Rankings leader, Fernando Alarza (ESP), in a sprint finish.
Jonas Schomburg (TUR) produced by far his best career result in Stockholm. With a previous best of 25th (coincidentally, in Stockholm last year), Jonas smashed his own personal best by finishing seventh. In the process he jumps a huge 34 places up the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings, to 34th.
In the shadow of the dominant Brownlee brothers, Adam Bowden (GBR) is quietly building a very strong season. Following up on his season best of seventh in Leeds with tenth in Stockholm, Bowden now sits fifth in the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings, in between Jonathan (third) and Alistair (seventh). Not a part of the Great Britain Olympic team for Rio, he is in a great position to improve on his previous best year-end ranking of 15th from 2014.
The World Triathlon Series now moves on to round seven at the Hamburg Wasser World Triathlon over the weekend of 16-17 July, the final race before the Olympic Games, which take place on 18 August (Men) and 20 August (Women). Always a hugely popular event, the weekend includes the fast and furious Mixed Team Relay World Championships on Sunday, following the individual Sprint distance event on Saturday.
Biggest rankings mover: Nicky Samuels (NZL) – from 42nd to 19th (911 points)
Highest new entry to rankings: Taylor Knibb (USA) – 52nd (367 points)
Biggest rankings mover: Jelle Geens (BEL) – from 79th to 43rd (400 points)
Highest new entry to rankings: Gregory Barnaby (ITA) – 63rd (197 points)
This report is brought to you in partnership with Columbia Threadneedle Investments, Global Financial Services partner of the ITU World Triathlon Series and Title Sponsor of the official rankings.
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