Swim, Bike and Rerun: A Grand Final to remember in 2012


Auckland hosted the 2012 ITU Grand Final which saw Jonathan Brownlee start in pole position to win the World Triathlon Series.

Racing in the pouring rain in cold conditions, Brownlee knew that he would be world champion providing he finished in the top-five in New Zealand.

A choppy swim saw Richard Varga (SVK) and Brownlee leave the water together to have a lead of almost 30 seconds as they took to the bike.

With Kris Gemmell (NZL) competing in his final race before retirement, he want to go out in style in front of a home crowd. With him at the lead, the chasers caught up with Brownlee and Varga with Gemmell continuing to set the pace.

Gemmell headed out onto the run with a lead of close to a minute however, Javier Gomez (ESP), who sat second behind Brownlee in the overall standings, the Brit and Sven Reiderer (SUI) were able to reel him in and pass the 34-year-old.

Brownlee and Gomez pushed on to make it a two-man race and, with a bit more in his legs, it was the Spaniard who was able to sprint for the line to take the race win with Brownlee second and claiming the overall series to defend his brother’s title.

Above: Jonathan Brownlee made sure it was two Brownlee wins in two years

Speaking after the race, Brownlee said: “It’s good to keep the title in the family, it’s pretty special. At the start of the year if someone had said year that Alistair would be Olympic champion, I’d be Olympic bronze medallist and I’d be world champion too I’d definitely take that.”

Jodie Stimpson was flying the flag as the sole British athlete in the women’s race, but it was a battle between Lisa Norden (SWE) and Erin Densham (AUS) for the overall title with only 30 points separating the two.

Racing the day before the men, the women definitely had the best of the weather in Auckland.

Above: Highlights of the men's race from the 2012 Grand Final

Norden almost didn’t make it to the start line having suffered from food poisoning the day before, however it was Densham who had to pull out of the race after falling ill.

There was a tight bunch that cycled together throughout, with Anne Haug (GER), Andrea Hewitt (NZL) and Jodie Stimpson amongst the leaders as almost 20 athletes arrived in T2 together.

As Haug made her move to claim the race victory, Gwen Jorgenson (USA) made her way through the field from the chase group to take silver.

Sprinting for the line, Stimpson was just held off by series winner Norden, finishing fifth and fourth respectively.

Above: Highlights of the women's race from the 2012 Grand Final

There was further British success in Auckland, with Junior, U23 and Age-Group races all taking place.

Non Stanford, Lucy Hall and Lois Rosindale all represented Great Britain in the women’s U23 race, with Stanford coming out on top.

Known as a strong swimmer, Hall led the field through the swim to be first our of the water and into T1.

By the time they came off the bike, there were twelve athletes all within seven seconds of each other, with Stanford and Hall amongst them.

Above: Stanford took the Women's U23 World Championship title in Auckland

On the run, it was the Welshwoman who, along with Sarissa De Vries (NED), broke free to mean a two-woman shootout for the gold. With 300m to go, Stanford pulled clear to win the U23 World Champion. Hall finished 8th, with Rosindale 21st.

In the men’s U23 race, Tom Bishop claimed the bronze medal, narrowly missing out on the gold and silver in a sprint finish.

Having come third in the elite race in Auckland the year before, Bishop was amongst the leaders from the start.

A large number of athletes all came out of the water together, however after a fast bike leg, ten men entered T2 together.

As they came into the finish chute, it was Aaron Royle (AUS) who managed to sprint to victory, with (Fernando Alarza (ESP) coming second ahead of Bishop.

Above: Bishop took bronze in 2012

There was further British interest in the junior races, with Georgia Taylor-Brown and Sophie Coldwell racing in the women’s race and Gordon Benson and Marc Austin racing in the men’s race.

Coming out of the water, Benson was third in the damp conditions following heavy rain.

A small break group emerged with less than ten athletes leading the field. Constantine Doherty (ROI) made a break for it on the bike with the rest of lead pack trying to keep pace.

As the weather got worse, the athletes headed out onto the run with Sullwald (RSA) and Simon Vlain (FRA) passing the young Irishman who held onto third. Benson finished in fifth, with Austin 28th.

In yet more damp conditions, there was a bike group of athletes all cycling together in different groups throughout the bike leg, with 15+ athletes all cycling together as they came onto the final lap.

A fast moving lead group emerged quickly on the run to see Fumika Matsumoto (JPN) sprint to victory, with Taylor-Brown finishing 9th and Coldwell 15th.

There were also a further 21 medals won by the Great Britain Age-Group Team, including six golds for: Mike Trees (M50-54), Phil Holland (M35-39), Stacey Penn (F30-34) and Michael Parsons (M20-24) in the sprint distance race and Laura Siddall (F30-34) and Roger Witz Barnes (M25-29) in the standard distance race.

You can read a full report on the Age-Group Team below.


Thanks to our Partners

Join Us

And enjoy insurance benefits, race licensing and more...