STOCKHOLM -- 2016 U.S. Olympic qualifier and 2012 Olympian Sarah True successfully defended her title at ITU World Triathlon Stockholm on Saturday, winning gold over fellow USA Triathlon National Team member Katie Zaferes, who finished second.
True (Hanover, N.H.) clocked in at 2 hours, 1 minute, 5 seconds on the 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike, 10-kilometer run course for her second straight win in Stockholm. The victory is also the second WTS title of True's career. Zaferes (Hampstead, Md.) ran her way back into second place, finishing 14 seconds behind True in 2:01:19 for her fifth silver medal of the season. Andrea Hewitt of New Zealand, who finished second here last year, was third in 2:01:26.
True and Zaferes set the pace from the start with Spaniard Carolina Routier, leading the way out of the water with a 30 second gap. In the early part of the nine-lap bike course, the American duo broke away from Routier. They were soon joined by Flora Duffy of Bermuda, but couldn't keep the distance from the chase pack. True, Zaferes and Duffy were caught by the chase pack, led by London 2012 gold medalist Nicola Spirig of Switzerland, by the start of lap five, and the group of 15 stuck together into the second transition.
Once on the run, True immediately moved to the front of the group, holding her lead throughout the 10k run and logging the fastest run split of the day in 33:14. While the field began to string out behind her on the four-lap run course, due in part to a steep hill at the start of each lap, Zaferes moved back into a prime position by the 5k mark. Though she trailed Hewitt at the start of the final lap, she found the speed she needed to move into the second spot with the second-fastest run time of 33:23.
"It's a beautiful city, a beautiful place to be. Obviously I came back here wanting to do last year justice, and I'm pleasantly surprised," True said. "There were some really strong women today; I have to give them credit for pushing. Katie on the swim, she really went for it. Flora was so strong on the bike, Nicola put her head down, and obviously Andrea on the bike and the run - they kept it an honest race. My goal this year was to make my Olympic team and I'm so proud to do that, because look at Katie getting second. It was a high bar to make our team this year."
"It was super tough. There were parts of this race where I made it harder for myself," Zaferes said. "It definitely was just grit, especially the last part trying to catch up to Andrea was just about willpower, because it didn't feel good, but I wanted to do it. I'm so proud of Sarah. She had a strong race here, a strong race in Rio. We're on the same team so it's pretty cool to be doing this together."
The U.S. women maintain the 1-2-3 position in the Columbia Threadneedle ITU World Triathlon Series Rankings heading into the final two events of the season. Gwen Jorgensen (St. Paul, Minn.), who did not compete in Stockholm, remains atop the leaderboard with 4,000 points. Zaferes holds on to her No. 2 world ranking with 3,700 points, and True is No. 3 with 3,322 points. Hewitt is fourth with 3,131 points, with a solid gap over fifth-ranked Rachel Klamers of Netherlands, who has 2,196 points. The world championship podium will be decided in Chicago next month, with the elite women scheduled to race at 5 p.m. CT on Friday, Sept. 18.
The elite men will race in Stockholm tomorrow, with eight Americans on the start list. The complete men's start list is available at wts.triathlon.org. The race will begin at 9:35 a.m. ET (3:35 p.m. local time) and will be broadcast live on triathlonlive.tv.
2015 ITU World Triathlon Stockholm
1,500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run
Elite Women - Complete Results
1. Sarah True (Hanover, N.H.), 2:01:05
2. Katie Zaferes (Hampstead, Md.), 2:01:19
3. Andrea Hewitt (NZL), 2:01:26
24. Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.), 2:05:54
35. Erin Jones (Hood River, Ore.), 2:08:19
DNF Jessica Broderick (Boulder, Colo.)