American Gwen Jorgensen outran the competition to earn the victory in Yokohama, the third of eight races on the World Triathlon Series circuit.
The race at Yokohama kicked off with rain clouds looming. Japan's own Mariko Adachi led the women out of the two-lap swim and into T1. Australia's Emma Moffatt, Japan's Yuka Sato and Great Britain's Jodie Stimpson followed her. By the end of transition they were joined by Jorgensen, Canada's Kirsten Sweetland, Ireland's Aileen Reid, Japan's Juri Ide and the Czech Republic's Vendula Frintova. Those athletes made up the first lead group, but by the second lap were joined by Kate McIlroy (NZL), Kate Roberts (RSA) and Ashleigh Gentle (AUS).
That lead group of 12 appeared to be building a strong lead until the rain started pouring on the later laps of the 40K ride. The front group got more conservative as the chase pack pushed the pace. The groups merged on the final lap, making a front pack of 18 athletes.
There were several questions as the athletes headed onto the run. Would Jorgensen be able to duplicate her run performance form WTS San Diego? Would a Japanese athlete thrill the hometown crowd? Who would thrive under the wet and cold conditions? Moffatt and Stimpson pushed hard in the early kilometers on the run and built a lead of 10 seconds over the main chase pack, which included Jorgensen. Moffatt continued to do most of the work out front, well aware that Jorgensen, who caught her on the run in San Diego, was not far back. By the midway point of the third lap Jorgensen caught Moffatt and Stimpson and it looked like the podium was determined. What was not determined was who would earn the gold.
Jorgensen used the bell to signal the final lap as motivation to break away. With every step on that fourth lap she added to her lead. She earned her second WTS win in a row with a 32:44 10K run split.
"I'm glad it looked like I wasn't panicking," Jorgensen said of her progress on the run. "Those girls were really running fast first two laps. I tried to focus on the basics of my race."
Moffatt outpaced Stimpson in the final meters to earn second position. Stimpson claimed third, her first time on a WTS podium. Gentle finished fourth and, in the bravest performance of the day, Denmark's Maiike Caelers overcame two crashes on the bike to finish fifth.
With the back-to-back victories Jorgensen takes over the number one position in the WTS standings.