Commonwealth Games gold medallist Jodie Stimpson admitted she felt right at home after winning today’s ITU Mooloolaba Triathlon World Cup in hot, humid conditions on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
Stimpson, the 27-year-old from Oldbury in the British Midlands, calls Australia her second home and was more than comfortable in the sweat-box conditions and even in the tricky, dumping Mooloolaba surf.
“I’ve come to Australia so many time now, I feel like it’s my second home,” said Stimpson, who backed up last week’s opening World Triathlon Series win in Abu Dhabi with a stunning victory.
“We have settled into our training base at Runaway Bay on the Gold Coast and I’ve got so many good friends down there.
“It really helps when you come here to train and to race to have so much support.”
And she knew there was no time to slacken off when she left the transition for the five-kilometre run home in and around the curving, hilly Mooloolaba beachside course.
“When you have a runner like Australian Emma Moffatt in the field there is no time to slacken off, no time to take chances,” said Stimpson.
“I know what Moffy is like, she is such a great runner and I had to make sure I made the most of getting away early in the run.”
Stimpson raced away for the first 2.5km lap with Moffatt and well-placed American Kirsten Kasper in hot pursuit.
And although Stimpson kept the pace on and won comfortably it was Moffatt who charged home on the back of a large supportive crowd with Kasper, who led out of the 750m surf swim, a solid third.
Simpson and Moffatt will now prepare for their next battle, when there is a lot more at stake – this time for Olympic berths in round two of the World Triathlon Series on the Gold Coast on April 9.
For the Glasgow Games gold medallist it will be a race in two with former two-time ITU world champion Helen Jenkins from Wales for the final place on the British team for Rio.
Vicky Holland and Non Stanford along with he Brownlee brothers Alistair and Jonathan have already earned early nominations.
For Moffatt, it will be the final chance for an early nomination onto her third Olympic team, to be earned if she can finish in the top ten in the Gold Coast race.
If not it will be for one of two discretionary positions to be determined in May.
Moffatt was delighted with her first hit out of the season, knowing just how well Stimpson is going.
“Today was like a little bit of the unknown, I didn’t know how I was going to go as I haven’t raced since November,” said Moffatt.
“But I’m really happy with how it all went. As much as you don’t want all the good girls to come, a lot of them were here and it’s actually really nice to race them and to give you an indicator of where you at.
“Jodie won last weekend, so getting second behind here I’m really happy, particularly stringing it all together for the whole race.
“I felt strong with no major big mistakes and I still think there are things to work on, so that’s also very exciting.
“I haven’t raced in a while and something this hot, takes you to Rio and what it potentially could be like (at the Olympics) so it was a good challenge.
“The crowd was unbelievable, it was that loud that at some stage I thought I was winning.”
“Today’s result is a nice indicator that everything in the off season has been in the right direction.”
“I love racing here in Mooloolaba. It feels like a home race. To do well in front of my family is always a bonus.”
Ashleigh Gentle, off the back of her second place behind Stimpson in Abu Dhabi, fought on strongly to finish sixth after coming out in the middle of the field in the swim and having a frustrating ride around the technical Mooloolaba course.
Other Australians were Gillian Backhouse, who was well placed out of the swim and who led off the bike onto the run finished 14th, ahead of Felicity Sheedy-Ryan (20th) and 21-year-old Emma Jeffcoat (24th) in her World Cup debut against some of the best triathletes in the world.
1. Jodie Stimpson (GBR) 58:31
2. Emma Moffatt (AUS) 58:48
3. Kirsten Kasper (USA) 58:56
4. Sara Vilic (AUT) 59:08
5. Renee Tomlin (USA) 59:24
6. Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) 59:30
7. Miriam Casillas Garcia (ESP) 59:36
8. Zsofia Kovacs (HUN) 59:39
9. Ai Ueda (JPN) 59:41
10 Kaidi Kivioja (EST) 59:44
Full Results here >>