It was another performance for the ages from USA’s Gwen Jorgensen in the Czech Republic on Sunday, as she motored through the final stages of the Karlovy Vary World Cup and edged out Netherlands’ Rachel Klamer down the blue carpet to seal the win.
The pair had been locked in an incredible battle for the second half of the gruelling 10km run, and it lasted right down to the line before Jorgensen lasered in on the finish to hold off one last Klamer push. Behind them, race number one Marlene Gomez-Goggel summoned a big finish of her own to win bronze, having served a 15-second penalty for a helmet violation and had to run her way back to the podium.
It was no surprise to see Italy’s Bianca Seregni spearheading the swim from her position on the right as the athletes hit the first buoy and began to string out early in the 1500m Rolava Lake swim. Right with her were Therese Feuersinger (SUI) and Sophie Alden (GBR), Selina Klamt (GER) able to hang on as that trio pulled clear over the first lap.
When they came out of the water to run down the long ramp and launch back in for lap two, Jorgensen was just 20 seconds back, but that had doubled by the time the athletes had negotiated the short transition and were out on the bikes.
It was Feuersinger out first, the front quartet coming together for the point-to-point with almost a minute over the chasers, but Julie Derron and Anja Weber set about reeling them in, home favourite Tereza Zimovjanova, Jorgensen and Klamer in there with her.
Lotte Miller (NOR) was driving a small third group with Sinem Francisca Tous Servera (TUR), Solveig Lovseth (NOR) leading a fourth group, but the Swiss duo took 20 seconds off the lead on lap one, Derron rarely off the front.
Jorgensen will have been delighted to see the packs come together after two laps, but then it was Weber again driving the pace up the hills, hoping to take Jorgensen’s run potential out of the picture on lap 4.
The 12-deep group stayed together, though, and as the likes of Lotte Miller and Hanne De Vet were forced out through mechanicals, the pack carved out a huge 90-second margin over the Kaidi Kivioja, Cathia Schar, Solveig Lovseth group.
Out onto the run it was Derron leading the charge early, Jorgensen camped on her shoulder, Klamer, Gomez-Goggel and Klamt tucked in too as Seregni’s challenge faded.
It was late on lap two that Jorgensen hit the detonator, though, kicking on and only Klamer was able to stick the pace. Shoulder-to-shoulder for two laps, both sharing the front spot, it looked like Klamer had the edge at the final turn only for Jorgensen to draw back and pull in front, soaring to the tape at full tilt.
Goggel was able to recover and take the bronze, Derron across in 4th ahead of Klamt and Seregni, Marta Pintanel Raymundo (ESP) and Cecilia Santamaria Surroca (ESP), Sophie Alden and Julia Hauser (AUT) rounding out the top ten.
The men’s race was won by Morgan Pearson