STOCKHOLM — Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.) led the U.S. women with an eighth-place finish at ITU World Triathlon Stockholm on Saturday, marking her seventh consecutive top-10 WTS finish this season. The Stockholm race marked the final stop on the ITU World Triathlon Series circuit before the Grand Final in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on Sept. 16.
The Olympic-distance course began with a 1,500-meter swim in the Riddarfjärden, followed by a 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run through the Old Town, and concluding with a dramatic finish line next to the Royal Palace.
Bermuda’s Flora Duffy came away with the win, joining the United States’ Gwen Jorgensen as the only two women in ITU history to win five WTS races in a single season. Jessica Learmonth of Great Britain took second to earn her first career WTS medal, and Australia’s Ashleigh Gentle earned her fourth WTS podium of the season with a bronze.
Katie Zaferes (Hampstead, Md.) was top-five out of the water, emerging in the lead pack with Duffy, Learmonth, Lucy Hall of Great Britain and Maaike Caelers of the Netherlands. Kasper and Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.) were about 15 seconds back from the leaders at the end of the swim.
Zaferes, Learmonth and Duffy took off as a group of three on the bike, but Zaferes crashed around a tight corner on the third lap and ultimately pulled out of the race.
Kasper and Spivey, meanwhile, were working hard among a chase pack of 10 that included strong cyclists like Jodie Stimpson of Great Britain, Alice Betto of Italy and Joanna Brown of Canada. Still, they trailed Duffy and Learmonth by about two minutes heading into the second transition.
On the run, Kasper recorded a 35:54 10k and Spivey clocked a 36:38 — but neither were enough to bridge the gap on the frontrunners. Duffy crossed the line in 2 hours, 9 seconds, with Learmonth close behind in 2:01:30. Gentle ran a 33:27 10k than was nearly a minute faster than anyone else in the field, an effort that secured her the third spot on the podium in 2:01:42.
Kasper crossed the line eighth in 2:03:29, and Spivey came through in 11th in 2:04:17.
With her victory, Duffy now has a perfect score of 4,000 in the overall WTS rankings heading into the Grand Final. Gentle is second with 3,507 points, and Andrea Hewitt of New Zealand is third with 3,224. Zaferes, who was third heading into the Stockholm race, only dropped one position with a point total of 3,192.
Kasper held onto her fifth-place standing with 2,869 points, while Spivey dropped one position to 11th overall (2,102 points). For complete WTS season rankings, visit wts.triathlon.org/rankings.
For more information about the Rotterdam ITU World Triathlon Grand Final, set for Sept. 14-17 with the elite men and women racing Sept. 16, visit rotterdam.triathlon.org.
ITU World Triathlon Stockholm
1,500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run
Elite Women — Complete Results
1. Flora Duffy (BER), 2:00:09
2. Jessica Learmonth (GBR), 2:01:30
3. Ashleigh Gentle (AUS), 2:01:42
8. Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.), 2:03:29
11. Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 2:04:17
Katie Zaferes (Hampstead, Md.), DNF