Jorgensen emerged from the water with a 40-second deficit but her effort on the early laps catapulted her into the lead group and she was able to remain their for the entire 40km --giving her the time to push ahead early in her signature strong run. Crossing the finish-line at 2:09:04 with a lead of over 90 seconds, she earned her second gold of the year and granted her the rights to an early perfect 2015 WTS season.
"I really wanted to be with the leaders in T2 so I am really happy that I was able to do that. I was able to execute with my run today but my main goal is to keep with front pack during the bike," said Jorgensen.
Mile temperatures and sunny conditions saw a group of about nine, which was headed by Jessica Learmonth (GBR) and Carolina Routier (ESP), lead out of the swim with a healthy gap between them and the chase group for the entirety of the 1500-metre swim.
After the first transition, a strong lead group was led by Lucy Hall (GBR) and Sarah True (USA) for the first couple of laps of the bike. But entering into the third lap, a huge push from the chase caused the frontrunners to turn 21-deep. The pack managed to drop half the group, dwindling down to 11 women that included Jorgensen, True, Lisa Norden (SWE), Andrea Hewitt (NZL) and Vendula Frintova (CZE).
Norden executed a strong performance on the bike as she brought herself back from a forty-second deficit from the water to be the leader on the bike for five out of the eight-laps. However she was forced to pull herself out of the race once she hit the run portion with confirmed Achilles trouble.
On the pavement, the three podium positions were determined early with Jorgensen, Zaferes and Hewitt when the trio broke away. While Jorgensen took off on her trademark run, fellow teammate Zaferes was able to hold onto a consistent run to land her the second-place finish.
Also mirroring that first WTS race earlier in the year, fellow American Katie Zaferes was able to take home the silver medal with a time of 2:10:42.
2015 ITU World Triathlon Auckland Results:
Auckland, New Zealand - March 29, 2015
|Elite Men Results||Time||
|Elite Women Results||Time|
|Jonathan Brownlee (GBR)||1:55:26||
|Gwen Jorgensen (USA)||2:09:04|
|Javier Gomez Noya (ESP)||1:55:41||
|Katie Zaferes (USA)||2:10:42|
|Pierre Le Corre (FRA)||1:55:52||
|Andrea Hewitt (NZL)||2:10:58|
|Fernando Alarza (ESP)||1:56:48||
|Vendula Frintova (CZE)||2:11:23|
|Ryan Bailie (AUS)||1:56:53||
|Lisa Perterer (AUT)||2:11:40|
|Henri Schoeman (RSA)||1:57:03||
|Emma Moffatt (AUS)||2:11:43|
|Richard Varga (SVK)||1:57:07||
|Yuka Sato (JPN)||2:12:02|
|Crisanto Grajales (MEX)||1:57:17||
|Sarah True (USA)||2:12:22|
|Ben Kanute (USA)||1:57:20||
|Sarah-Anne Brault (CAN)||2:12:35|
|Tony Dodds (NZL)||1:57:39||
|Simone Ackermann (NZL)||2:12:57|
Following a less than perfect start to his 2015 season, Brownlee turned in a master-class performance over the tough, hilly course made even more difficult in the wet conditions to beat out the reigning WTS Auckland champion Javier Gomez Noya (ESP), who took the second-podium spot. For Frenchman Pierre Le Corre (FRA) it was a career best result of bronze.
In the lead pack the entire race, Brownlee proved his gold-medal worth once foot hit the pavement and he secured a healthy gap that brought him into the finish-line first. Adding a 10-second lead after each of the lap on the 10-kilometre run, he took home the top podium position with a time of 1:55:26.
"It was great to win today, first World Series event that I have won in a while. In Abu Dhabi I made a lot of mistakes and I have been beating myself up about it over the last three weeks and training hard because I did not want to do it again," said Brownlee. "I felt good, I really enjoyed it today and I am pleased to win."
It was no surprise to see the familiar sight of Richard Varga (SVK) at the front of the swim pack and first out of the water, after which a lead group formed crossing through the first transition that remained a tight pack until the end of the bike.
With the leaders becoming interchangeable, a 15-man lead group held a united front and stayed uninterrupted for all eight laps of the bike, including Brownlee, Thomas Bishop (GBR), Varga, Gomez, Henri Schoeman (RSA) and Pierre Le Corre (FRA). The chase group, which housed New Zealand's own Ryan Sissons (NZL) and the WTS Abu Dhabi gold medallist Mario Mola (ESP) could not close the gap and stayed behind by over 30 seconds.
Spain's Gomez returned to form after his 6th-place finish in Abu Dhabi and earned himself a podium position. Despite not being able to match Brownlee's furious pace, in the final lap he broke away from Le Corre to take silver. This is the first time in the four outstanding appearances in Auckland that Gomez has not placed first.
"Jonathan was just really strong today. I have been through a pretty tough time lately, I got sick right before Abu Dhabi and between that race and today I was taking a strain too so I am really happy with second place. Obviously I would have loved to win but I performed the best I could," said Gomez.
Photo credits: Delly Carr