Euro City Series Garmin Barcelona Triathlon 18th October 2009
(Report and photos from our reporter John Coxon
Britain’s Jodie Stimpson has won the inaugural Garmin Barcelona Triathlon in a winning time of 1.52.04 with her training partner Bex Milne home in fourth position. She finished three minutes ahead of Czech Republic’s Radka Vodickova ( 1.55.14 and Eva Ledesma Calver ( 1.57.27) The Barcelona Triathlon forms part of the newly introduced Euro Cities Triathlon series which now includes Barcelona, London and Stockholm and has the highest participation rate for any triathlon in Spain (approximately 3,500 entrants 30% of whom were from outside Spain.)
In what is a strange and rare set of circumstances for events at this level where GPS based electronic chip timing is commonly used to monitor and accurately record timings throughout the course , there were serious technical issues with detailed results and timings. When the results were finally sorted out late Monday and published , Jodie was alone in being the only athlete whose splits had been lost and only her first place and overall time appeared. What’s more there was no record of Bex’s participation let alone her fourth position. This is no only disappointing for athletes but particularly embarrassing not only for the organisers but also for the major sponsors Garmin, world leaders in GPS technology. It is not yet clear whether these failings were human or technical.
This has been a defining year for Jodie who earlier this year won bronze in the National championships in what is her first season racing as a Senior Elite. Her podium finish won her a place on the GB team for the under-23 European Championships in Italy. This is her first season competing as a Senior elite. Jodie back in June won the Blenheim Sprint, the Nokia Windsor Triathlon (breaking the course record) , then was crowned Champion of the British Super Series with a win at Bryn Bach Parc. She won silver in the Mazda London Tri and was second in the ITU World Champs Series, Hyde Park, in August. Her eyes are now set firmly on gold at the 2012 Olympics. Her intensive preparation for Barcelona was sadly over shadowed by the untimely death of her Nan and in fact Jodie dedicated the win to her grandmother.
Jodie was not phased that the beach start in the swim co-incided with the men’s and made it, as she commented ,wryly , a “slightly rougher race than normal.” She reached the first buoy in the second bunch behind the leading group. Jodie emerged from the surf just behind the Czech Republic’s Radka Vodickova but had a fast T1 transition and hit the bike in front. Jodie says she then went into time trial mode and focused on catching up with two men ahead of her with Vodickova doggedly tailing her. In the final lap she latched in behind a group of team male riders and came into Transition 2 just ahead of the Czech.
Jodie reports “going into Into T2 I knew I had been running strong, so I was confident I would run well. I ran out of T2 with two other men not looking back I went out as hard as I could and I didn’t let off. I kept running hard and one man dropped off and I ran in front of the other male elite until 8k where the bugger came past me and managed to get a little gap. But I held the gap until the finish line where I tried to sprint him - but couldn’t quite get past. Damn It!”
She continued “was chuffed to finish my 2009 race season on a high note. To be honest I’m really lucky as most of my 2009 season has been a high and I’m so lucky to have the family, friends and coach that I have to help make this possible. Cloud 9 I think it’s called!! Asked about her future ambitions , Jodie replied that she has her mind clearly set on Gold at the London 2012 Olympics.
Jodie is in no doubt that teaming up with professional coach Michelle Dillon and Team Dillon, earlier this year has been the significant turning point in her career. Michelle retired from Triathlon following a serious back injury but has one of the sport’s most outstanding outstanding CVs ; a national champion at triathlon and duathlon, a European triathlon champion, a multiple world cup winner, a world duathlon champion, a world triathlon bronze medalist, a two-time Olympian and in Sydney achieved the highest placing ever of any GB athlete male or female. Michelle combines a wealth of experience , a legendary steely toughness in her mental approach and “tough love” when it comes to mentoring athletes. Jodie tells us :-
“Michelle’s training is definitely hard core but so is triathlon and it’s not for the weak hearted but I love it! Michelle is the most determined, strong minded person I know which gives me such motivation. For the first time I’m actually feeling like a runner and have improved so much in all three disciplines in the short space of time training under Michelle and I couldn’t be happier!”
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS