Swim, Bike and Rerun: The Grand Final Comes to London


In 2013 the ITU Grand Final was staged in Hyde Park, with the capital playing host to some great racing and plenty of British success.

Just over 12 months after hosting the triathlon for the London 2012 Olympics, Hyde Park once again welcomed the best triathletes from around the world.

With the ITU Grand Final taking place in London for the first time, athletes on the World Triathlon Series (WTS) were joined by athletes competing in the Paratriathlon, U23, Junior and Age-Group World Championships in front of tens of thousands of spectators.

Above: View the course for the 2013 WTS Grand Final

On the WTS it was all to play for in both the men’s and women’s series. Coming to London only 13 points separated, the top three of Gwen Jorgensen (USA), Anne Haug (GER) and Non Stanford. Jodie Stimpson sat fourth, with her eyes set on achieving an overall WTS podium.

In the men’s series, and with 1200 points on offer, Alistair Brownlee had a 55 point lead over younger brother Jonathan with Javier Gomez (ESP) in touching distance of them both.

The women were the first to dive into the Serpentine on 14 September in what were cold and damp, British conditions.

Both Brits were in the lead group as they came out of the water and onto the bike, avoiding an early crash which affected Jorgensen.

Leading the way off the bike and into T2, Stanford and Stimpson were at the front and being cheered on by a loud home crowd.

Knowing she had a 15 second penalty to take for leaving her wetsuit outside of her transition box, Stanford stormed into the lead and left the rest of the field behind. Having built a commanding lead, she took her penalty on the penultimate lap, managing to hold onto her first place position.

Above: Stanford took the tape and series win in London/p>

Throughout the final lap, Stanford managed to extend her lead as Stimpson battled behind her with that overall series podium in sight.

Entering the finish chute to the acclaim of the grandstand, Stanford won the race to become the first woman to step up from U23 World Champion to WTS Champion in consecutive years. Stimpson came fourth on the day, securing her second place overall.

A day later it was the turn of the men, with a fast and competitive swim kicking off the race.

Richard Varga (SVK) led the field out of the water, with both Brownlees hot on his tail as a lead group of thirteen headed out onto the bike course.

Across the bike leg, Gomez made his way to join the leaders, meaning all three title contenders were at the front of the race as they headed towards T2. On his dismount, Alistair aggravated an Achilles injury that had affected him before.

On the run it was Jonathan and Gomez who charged ahead and away from the rest with both trying to leave the other behind. With each attempted break the other would simply follow in what turned into a tense 10km.

Above: Gomez, Brownlee, Mola in the men's overall podium in 2013

In this two-man shootout for the line, Jonathan pushed as they headed onto the blue carpet with the finish line in sight and the crowd hoping for a second British win. It wasn’t to be however, as with less than twenty meters to go and having been toe-to-toe with him, Gomez pulled ahead to take the tape and the world title.

Watch the sprint finish

Jonathan Brownlee maintained his second in the overall standings with brother Alistair slipping to fourth as a result of his injury inhibited 52nd place finish in London.

There was further medal success for Britain as Marc Austin and Grant Sheldon took second and third in the men’s junior race.

As the athletes headed out of the water there were three Brits in the top five, but it was Dorian Coninx of France who led the way.

A large group of seventeen came in from the bike course together, leaving T2 for the run as a pack in pursuit of the World Championship title.

Above: Austin and Sheldon in a sprint finish for second place

Austin, Sheldon and Coninx were joined by Gordon Benson and Jacob Birtwhistle (AUS) as they broke away early on in the 5km run. Coninx had a late burst of speed to surge ahead of Austin and Sheldon to win for France.

In the women’s race there was yet more success as Georgia Taylor-Brown took the silver medal.

Four British athletes took to the pontoon in the Serpentine for this sprint distance event in wet conditions. As the race unfolded, the lead changed hands many times with the multiple chase packs all trying to hunt down the leaders.

Taylor-Brown had a slow T2, however made up for this as she made her way through the field from seventh to second over the final 2.5km of the run. Tamara Gordon (USA) took gold, with Laura Lindemann (GER) coming third.

In the U23 races, Britain’s Lucy Hall came 16th with compatriot Lois Rosindale 29th; and in the men’s, Tom Bishop came 31st.

Above: Georgia Taylor-Brown took silver in the Junior World Championships

In addition to the elite racing, 450 Age-Group athletes raced for Great Britain in the aquathlon, sprint and standard distance Age-Group World Championships.

In the aquathlon, Britain achieved 10 gold, 10 silver and 7 bronze medals, with a further 12 gold, 12 silver and 5 bronze won in the sprint. The standard distance race, which took athletes past iconic venues such as Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square saw 8 gold, 9 silver and 10 bronze medals added to the haul.

You can read a full review of the Age-Group races here.

Before the triathletes took to the course in London it was the turn of the aquathletes for their World Championships. Adding to the medal tally of the Age-Group Team, four golds and two bronzes were won by the elite athletes.

Morgan Davies (Junior Men), Melissa Reid (Tri 6b Women), James Smith (Tri 3 Men) and David Bishop (U23 Men) all claimed gold.

The Swim, Bike and Rerun series looks back over the last few years, bringing to life stories of British success in the world of triathlon.

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