The World Triathlon Series visited eight cities in four different continents in 2013, with British athletes sharing eighteen medals across the series.
Having hosted the ITU Grand Final in 2012, the World Triathlon Series (WTS) returned to the city for the first race of the 2013 season.
Jonathan Brownlee won the series title at the Grand Final the year before, however, was not racing this time around, with Matthew Sharp and Stuart Hayes flying the flag for Great Britain in the men’s race.
This was a breakthrough race for Sharp who took fifth place on his WTS debut. Despite not having a great swim and arriving in T1 a long way back in the field, he rode sensibly on the challenging and hilly bike course that took athletes through the city.
The 10km run was where he showed his strength, posting the fifth fastest run time across the 10km course as he took the fifth-place finish.
It was a different story for Hayes however. The 2012 Olympian was one the front runners throughout the race having come out of the water amongst the lead group.
He and Australian Ryan Baille broke free on the bike leg to see themselves come into T2 with a small lead over the chasers. 6km into the run, a niggling injury forced him to withdraw despite being well placed.
Javier Gomez (ESP) won a battle of the Iberians to claim gold ahead of compatriot Mario Mola and Joao Silva (POR).
Britain were represented in the women’s race by Katie Hewison and Jodie Stimpson, however, neither would make it to the finish line.
Hewison withdrew before the race having suffered from a stomach bug and Stimpson suffered hypothermia during the race causing her to withdraw.
Anne Haug (GER) went on to take the tape just as she did at the race in 2012. She broke clear in the closing stages of the run to finish ahead of Caelers (NED) and Abram (AUS).
The second race on the series saw the first of the British medals as San Diego played host.
Having not raced an ITU event since winning gold at the London Olympics the year before, Alistair Brownlee took to the start line alongside Adam Bowden, David McNamee and Mark Buckingham.
Coming out of the water in second place, Brownlee was pushing the pace amongst the leaders on the bike leg to show his strength. Towards the end of the bike leg, three athletes broke free to try and take the race into their own hands.
Brownlee arrived in transition 21 seconds behind, however, soon caught and passed them on the run to retake the lead. Something he would hold onto to walk across the line and win the race his brother won last year.
Bowden (6th) and McNamee (10th) battled hard throughout the race and finished with strong runs to secure top ten finishes, with Buckingham coming home in 24th.
Stanford was the first of the British women out of the water, however, was left behind as a group of four athletes broke from the front to establish their lead on the bike.
Despite starting the run with a substantial deficit, Stanford, Stimpson, Haug (GER) and Gwen Jorgensen (USA) produced the four fastest run times to pick off the rest of the field and the front four.
Jorgensen strode clear of the pack to become the first American to win a WTS race there, with Stanford outsprinting Haug and Emma Moffatt (AUS) to claim silver with Stimpson in fifth. Hewison finished 29th.
From San Diego, the WTS crossed the Pacific Ocean to Yokohama for the third race of the series.
With his brother having returned in America, reigning series champion Jonathan Brownlee made his 2013 WTS debut in Yokohama as he raced alongside Adam Bowden, David McNamee, Mark Buckingham, Aaron Harris and Philip Wolfe for Britain.
Coming out of the water third, Brownlee was part of an eight-athlete breakaway as they carved out a lead of over thirty seconds on the chase group across the 40km bike.
On the run, it was Brownlee and Gomez (ESP) who would pull clear of Joao Silva who had won the last two races in Yokohama. Brownlee had the legs to race away from Gomez to win by over twenty seconds.
The British men seemed at home in the cool, wet conditions with many of them achieving their best results to date in the series.
Adam Bowden made it three top ten finishes in three successive years with eighth place. Scotland’s David McNammee didn’t have the perfect start to his race, but still improved by one place on his San Diego performance with ninth. Mark Buckingham finished 15th, his best ever result in the series.
Just as in Auckland, Jodie Stimpson and Katie Hewison would compete for Britain in the women’s race on a cool, damp day in Japan.
Home athlete Mariko Adachi was the first athlete to complete the swim, with Stimpson not far behind her in fourth.
She raced as part of the lead group throughout the bike leg, with Hewison also in the top ten as a large group of athletes all left T2 together.
Having shown her run strength in San Diego, Gwen Jorgensen (USA) made her move to take the lead and the win, with Stimpson being outsprinted by Emma Moffat (AUS) as she claimed her maiden WTS podium finish.
Hewison claimed a top 15 finish, crossing the line 14th to record her highest position in WTS racing.
In June 2013, the WTS arrived in Europe, where it would stay through to the Grand Final in London. Madrid was the first stop as five men and four women from Great Britain took to the course.
Having returned to action in Yokohama, Jonathan Brownlee once again spearheaded the British men. He finished the swim among a top five which included home favourite Javier Gomez.
The breakaway group of five on the bike quickly built their lead over the chase group as they worked hard together to maintain their lead.
Brownlee led the five out of T2 and stretched his legs over the 10km to make it two from two in 2013 and the fifth consecutive time a Brownlee had won in Madrid. Gomez crossed the line in second, with Ivan Vasiliev (RUS) in third.
Stanford and Stimpson were competitive throughout the race, pushing the pace on the bike to catch the early breakaway riders after the swim.
Raw made a big contribution to keeping the pace high during the hilly bike ride around the Casa de Campo park, which ensured that the current world number one, Gwen Jorgensen was unable to catch them across the 40km.
At the end of the bike, a large group of runners all set out together. Stanford made an immediate break for the front out of the second transition and was followed by Stimpson and Germany’s Anne Haug.
Stanford extended her lead to win by 25 seconds from the German, with Stimpson finishing third. Raw completed the race in 27th, with Hewison recording a DNF on the bike.
Unfortunately, Jonathan was unable to race in Austria having suffered from a stomach bug which older brother Alistair had recovered from to be able to race.
Alistair led the five-strong British men’s team, looking to make it a fourth consecutive Brownlee win on the 2013 WTS following his win in San Diego and Jonathan’s back-to-back wins in Yokohama and Madrid.
Having exited the water nine seconds off the leader Richard Varga (SVK), defending race winner Alistair soon made the race his own to pull away on the bike.
He made it to T2 with a lead of over forty seconds as he headed out onto the run. This Alpine course proved tough across the board, however Alistair was able to stay clear of the rest as Mario Mola (ESP) crossed the line in second and Sven Reiderer (SUI) third.
William Clarke (15th), Matthew Sharp (28th), David McNamee (33rd) and Mark Buckingham (50th) were the other British men to race.
Milne was the first athlete out of the 750m swim and was joined by a small group of athletes including Stimpson for the uphill ride. Stimpson soon found her grove and made the race her own, pulling clear of the rest of the pack.
Entering the short, yet punishing, 2.5km run, Stimpson had a substantial lead on which she built upon across the run.
Crossing the line for her debut WTS victory, Stimpson claimed victory by over a minute from Emma Jackson (AUS).
It was a strong day for the British women. At the finish Katie Hewison finished in an excellent seventh place and Vanessa Raw was 15th. Non Stanford was 16th despite a slight chest infection and Milne finished 22nd.
Hamburg saw Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee race together for the first time since London 2012 against the Olympic silver medallist Javier Gomez (ESP).
This highly anticipated race across the sprint distance course in Germany didn’t disappoint as Richard Varga (SVK) led the swim at a frantic pace with Alistair third and Jonathan fourth out of the water.
Onto the twisty, turny bike leg, nine men made the break including both Brownlees, Gomez, Vincent Luis (FRA) and Aaron Royle (AUS). They established a lead of thirty seconds over the chasers by the time they reached T2.
Onto the run and it was the three Olympic medallists who led the way in what soon became obvious that those three would once again share the medals.
With only a couple of hundred metres to go, the two brothers sprinted against one another for the line, exchanging the lead before Jonathan found the edge to beat his older brother to the tape.
This one-two meant that it was now five consecutive WTS races that either one of them had won.
In order to do this, they’d have to beat the two other women to have won a 2013 race, Gwen Jorgensen (USA) and home favourite Anne Haug.
A large lead cycling group emerged quickly after T1 and stayed together across the 20km leg.
Stanford and Stimpson ran as part of a breakaway of five women alongside Andrea Hewitt (NZL), Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) and Haug. They stayed together and jostled across most of the 5km until, with less than 1km to go, Haug pushed on to pull clear.
Haug won in front of a jubilant German crowd, as Stanford outsprinted Stimpson for silver.
Having secured a gold, two silvers and a bronze in the individual races, the British medallists teamed up for the Mixed Relay World Championship.
Stimpson was the first British athlete onto the course and raced hard across the short, explosive course to hand over to Alistair Brownlee neck-and-neck with the American team.
Alistair managed to build on the good work of Stimpson across his leg, pulling clear on the bike and run to create a commanding lead over the rest of the field.
As Stanford took over, she had a lead of nearly twenty seconds, however, after a strong 300m swim, she suffered a race ending crash on the bike. This meant that Great Britain and Jonathan Brownlee wouldn’t be able to defend their World Championship for a third successive year.
Germany claimed the team gold in front of their home crowd to add to the individual women’s gold of Anne Haug.
The penultimate race of the series saw the athletes travel north to Sweden, as Stockholm hosted the final race before the Grand Final in London.
Six British men took to the course, with both Brownlees joined by David McNamee, Matthew Sharp, Mark Buckingham and Adam Bowden.
At the end of the two-lap, 1500m swim, Alistair and Jonathan were both amongst the top five athletes to collect their bikes and head out onto the 40km bike leg around the streets of the Swedish capital.
Across the technical course, a small lead group emerged and rode at an impressive pace to move further ahead of the chasers. With a lap and a half to go on the eight-lap bike leg, Alistair put the hammer down to give himself a lead exiting T2.
Pursued by Jonathan and Javier Gomez (ESP), Alistair started to fatigue across the 10km having pushed hard to create his lead. He just had enough left in the tank to reach the line first.
Gomez came second and Jonathan third, meaning all three were in contention for the overall WTS title and it would be winner takes all in London.
Vicky Holland was the first British athlete to exit the water, quickly followed by Vanessa Raw and Stimpson.
It was Raw and Stimpson who set the pace across the early part of the bike leg as part of the lead group. Stanford, who had broken her arm in the crash in Hamburg, was part of the chase group trying to catch up to the leaders.
Towards the end of the bike leg, Raw and Andrea Hewitt of New Zealand pushed on to build a lead for themselves and entered the run with a lead of over thirty seconds.
Gwen Jorgensen (USA) led the chasers out of T2 to hunt down Raw and Hewitt, taking the lead at the end of the first lap of four.
Stanford and Stimpson had also made ground to sit third and fourth, sixteen seconds behind the top two.
As Jorgensen stretched her lead, Stanford cemented her position in second with Anne Haug (GER) taking third. Holland finished fourth, seventeen seconds back, with Stimpson fifth having just been edged out by her compatriot.
Stanford’s silver medal meant that she ended the race in third place in the overall series, just thirteen points behind leader Jorgensen, with Haug splitting the two. The Grand Final would be the decider between these three a few weeks later.
The 2013 Grand Final was hosted in London’s Hyde Park, the same venue at which Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee won Team GB’s first ever Olympic medals for triathlon.
Both Brownlees would once again battle it out with Javier Gomez (ESP), this time for the men’s WTS title, as it would be a winner takes all race. The same was true of the women’s series, with Non Stanford racing Gwen Jorgensen (USA) and Anne Haug (GER) for the crown.
Alongside the WTS finales, the Paratriathlon, U23, Junior and Age-Group World Championships would also be staged in London, and all the action from the 2013 ITU Grand Final will be covered in a future Swim, Bike and Rerun.