Columbia Threadneedle Rankings Report Yokohama 2015
Welcome to the third Columbia Threadneedle Rankings Report of 2015 following the World Triathlon Yokohama.
The Gwensanity streak continued in Japan. By taking her third consecutive World Triathlon Series win in Yokohama, Gwen Jorgensen made it nine consecutive WTS victories. That winning streak began in Yokohama last year meaning that the 2014 ITU World Champion is now unbeaten in the top tier of racing for over a calendar year.
With Katie Zaferes absent in Yokohama, Jorgensen of course returns to the top of the standings with a maximum 3200 points from her four races this season. The USA team as a whole continues to impress. Once again they featured three athletes in the top 10 in Yokohama, with Renee Tomlin finishing fourth (her best WTS finish ever) and Kirsten Kasper ninth (a second consecutive top ten from her). The USA team features eight different women who have achieved at least one top ten finish in the first five WTS events of 2015, taking nine of the 15 podium positions in the process.
Former World Champ Non Stanford can be pleased with a strong seventh place in her first WTS event since the 2013 London Grand Final, achieved despite having to serve a 15-second penalty for a transition box infringement. That also makes her the highest new entrant into the rankings with 501 points (37th).
Yokohama proved to be a great day for Australia. With Ashleigh Gentle taking her first ever WTS medal in second place and twice World Champion Emma Moffatt taking the bronze medal that represents a significant turnaround from just two top ten finishes over the first four races from the Australian women’s team. Moffatt’s bronze was also her 16th career WTS podium finish, keeping her one ahead of Jorgensen on that score.
Breakthrough performance of the day was perhaps Gillian Sanders from South Africa. The London-based Olympian secured fifth place and moves up a massive 47 positions in the rankings to 30th. Interestingly, her previous best results were two tenth place finishes – also both achieved in Yokohama.
Ireland’s Aileen Reid continued her 2015 trend of improving in every race. Her four races to date have yielded 25th, 15th, seventh and now sixth in Yokohama, to leave her in seventh place in the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings.
The ever consistent Andrea Hewitt did manage to put a small dent into the USA dominance of the season so far, her eighth place in Yokohama moving her ahead of the absent Sarah True in the mid-season rankings into third place behind Jorgensen and Zaferes. The top four ranked athletes – Jorgensen, Zaferes, Hewitt and True have now all completed four events each.
Much like 2014, Javier Gomez won in Yokohama courtesy of a fantastic sprint finish on the blue carpet. Gomez now has four consecutive podium finishes and a lead of more than 500 points in the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings at the halfway point of the season.
As with the US women, the Spanish men have continued their consistent excellence, maintaining the top three positions in the rankings with Gomez, Mola and Alarza. Fernando Alarza (eighth) made it five consecutive top ten finishes in Yokohama. Indeed, all three of the top ranked athletes have raced in every WTS round of the season so far.
While Alistair Brownlee wasn’t able to add to his win in Cape Town, he still made a significant move in the rankings, moving up from 16th to ninth with just two races under his belt.
Yokohama also provided additional cheer for Great Britain supporters, beyond the name Brownlee. Mark Buckingham’s previous best WTS finish was 15th (also in Yokohama, 2013), but on Saturday he exceeded perhaps even his own expectations to finish just one step away from the podium in fourth. As a result he gains 54 places in the rankings, moving up from 74th to 20th.
Fellow British ex-Steeplechaser Adam Bowden also made a significant rankings move from 51st to 22nd, thanks to his seventh place finish. Yokohama clearly works well for Adam, as he has finished in the top ten there for five consecutive editions.
Having mentioned the Australian women’s success in Yokohama, we should also note the very encouraging result from Jacob Birtwhistle. The 2014 World Junior Triathlon Silver medalist finished ninth in only his second WTS event. He is certainly an emerging talent to keep an eye on.
Finally, we have to say what a great season it has been so far for Mexico’s Crisanto Grajales. Like the leading Spanish trio, Grajales has raced in all five events so far. Fifth place in Yokohama was his best ever WTS result and combined with strong finishes in every race to date, he is currently ranked fifth at the midway point of the season.
The next stop on the World Triathlon Series is London on May 31st over the sprint distance, and the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings Report will be back then to bring you all the insights from the Series.
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