Just four months since giving birth to her second son, 2016 Olympic Triathlon champion Gwen Jorgensen USA returned to World Triathlon racing for the first time in nearly seven years today and earned bronze in the 2023 Oceania Triathlon Cup Taupo.
The fields were stacked for the Oceania Cup in Taupo featuring stars such as Jorgensen, Spain’s David Castro Fajardo, Italy’s Delian Stateff and some of Australia and New Zealand’s finest triathletes including Olympian Nicole Van Der Kaay and Commonwealth Games representative Luke Willian from Australia. Many athletes were looking to test their pre-season form in Taupo as they prepare for the 2023 World Triathlon Championship Series season opener in Abu Dhabi on March 3rd.
For Jorgensen, getting back to the top level of World Triathlon racing will require results at the Continental and World Triathlon Cup events.
“I didn’t really know what to expect and so I went out there and a big saying of mine this year is ‘play over perfection’ and I think I definitely executed on that, I had a ton of fun out there. It was not perfect by any means but it was super fun, I really enjoyed myself. I felt the competition was pretty good and kept me on my toes forsure.
“I had a hard time in the swim, I haven’t swum that much and I haven’t been in open water with other people. I would have liked to come out first. The bike was super fun. I actually felt super strong on the bike, it was a really fun course, this course in Taupo was amazing, just super fun little risers, little down hills, just a really fun course that flowed really nicely.
“The run was beautiful along Lake Taupo. I just didn’t have another gear, I couldn’t run any faster and had some pretty slow transitions but I came out and was just trying to chase down the leaders and could never catch,” said Gwen Jorgensen.
Jorgensen told the world via video on her YouTube channel that she was returning to the blue carpet this year with Paris 2024 as her target. Jorgensen will stay in New Zealand with World Triathlon Cup New Plymouth (25 March) being the next race to secure starting points for her quest to Paris 2024.
In the women’s race New Zealand’s Nicole Van der Kaay struck gold once again today, after a brilliant race in Wanaka last weekend where she took the title, showing strong early season ahead of the World Triathlon Championship Series season opener in Abu Dhabi next week. Fellow compatriot Ainsley Thorpe claimed silver and a content Jorgensen stood on the podium with bronze.
In the men’s race Spain’s David Castro Fajardo won the battle for gold in an exciting sprint to the finish against New Zealand’s Janus Staufenberg and Australia’s Luke Willian finished with the bronze medal.
Review the full list of race results online.
NZL teams named for Oceania Mixed Relay Championship on Sunday 26th February includes USA’s superstar Jorgensen, who will be adopted as a Kiwi for a day. Read more.
Replay the race in Taupo and follow the 2023 World Triathlon season over on TriathlonLive.tv