Norden, Gomez Noya Triumphant At ITU Grand Final in Auckland, NZ
It’s been quite the year for both Sweden’s Lisa Norden and Spain’s Javier Gomez Noya. That year was going to come to an end one way or the other in Auckland, NZ this past weekend. Leave it up to the two London Olympic silver medalists to cap off two already outstanding seasons with impressive performances at the ITU Grand Final. Gomez Noya won the final race in the ITU World Triathlon Series on Sunday, beating out runner-up Jonathan Brownlee in a dramatic run through downtown Auckland. Gomez Noya’s winning effort landed him in second place the overall season standings. While Norden wound up finishing fourth on the day in New Zealand, it was all she needed to claim her first elite world championship title.
The weather on Sunday mirrored the battle between Gomez-Noya and Brownlee throughout the entire season: tough. A wet, windy day in Auckland made the Grand Final interesting. The race was tight right up to the finish. There were three lead changes in the final three hundred meters of the run. Gomez outlasted the 2012 Olympic gold medalist and secured the first ITU Grand Final victory of his career. His victory in Auckland closed out his season, landing him the overall World Championships silver medal.
“This race was really tough, all the conditions, the course the wind the rain made it really hard for everyone but I felt good it was a good way to finish the season.” said Gomez Noya.
Lisa Norden traveled to Auckland on high. She was already having the season of her life. She’d won the Olympic silver medal, defended her title as Hy-Vee Triathlon Champion and won ITU stops in Stockholm and Yokohama. Norden came into the race in Auckland with one mission: Stay in front of Erin Densham. The Australian Olympic bronze medalist entered the Grand Final just a few points ahead of Norden in the overall season standings. If Norden finished ahead of Densham in the final race, it would mean she’d leapfrog the Aussie in the season standings to become the 2012 ITU World Champion. Densham unfortunately withdrew from the race after a short stint on the bike, siting illness as the reason. At that point, Norden only had to finish in the top six to overtake Densham for the season title. Norden did just that, finishing fourth on the day. One of the most impressive parts to her fourth place finish was that Norden spent the night before the race in the hospital with food poisoning. The Swede discharged herself from the hospital just a few hours before the big race. Norden’s finish in New Zealand was enough to give her 4.531 points on the season, 191 ahead of race winner, Annie Haug, who took the overall silver. Finally, New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt launched into third place overall on the season in front of her home crowd. This was Norden’s first ever elite ITU World Championship. She had previously won an Under-23 World Championship.
“I dug the deepest I’ve ever dug in my life,” Norden said. “It’s been an amazing year with lots of ups and downs but if you have enough downs at some stage you’re going to get the ups. I’m just so pleased to be part of my own fairytale.”
Congratulations to both Norden and Gomez Noya on impressive ends to the ITU World Triathlon Series season. Extra congratulations go out to Norden on her first ever ITU World Championship.
Women’s Grand Final Result:
1 Ann Haug, Germany, 2 hours 10 minutes 49 seconds.
2 Gwen Jorgensen, United States, 2:10.59 OAKLEY
3 Barbara Riveros Diaz, Chile, 2:11.00 OAKLEY
4 Lisa Norden, Sweden, 2:11.03 OAKLEY
5 Jodie Stimpson, Great Britain, 2:11.04 OAKLEY
1 Lisa Norden, Sweden, 4531 points OAKLEY
2 Anne Haug, Germany, 4340
3 Andrea Hewitt, New Zealand, 3893
4 Barbara Riveros Diaz, Chile, 3707 OAKLEY
5 Erin Densham, Australia, 3611 OAKLEY
Men’s Grand Final Result:
1. Javier Gomez Noya, Spain. 2 hours, 0 minutes, 29 seconds OAKLEY
2. Jonathan Brownlee, Great Britain, 2:00:31
3. Sven Riederer, Switzerland, 2:01:18
4. Steffen Justus, Germany, 2:01:40 OAKLEY
5. Gregor Buchholz, Germany, 2:01:46
1. Jonathan Brownlee. 4935 points
2. Javier Gomez Noya, 4845 OAKLEY
3. Dmitry Polyanskiy, 3822 OAKLEY
4. Sven Riederer, 3773
5. Richard Murray, 575