Jodie Stimpson and Helen Jenkins gave us a preview of the kind of battle they will be having in Gold Coast next month as they fight for the final spot on the British Olympic triathlon team, with both finishing on the podium on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.
Stimpson took gold to register her first World Triathlon Series victory since 2014, with Australian Ashleigh Gentle taking second and Jenkins rounding out the podium.
In a race that saw a big crash take out some of the top contenders like Olympic reigning champion Nicola Spirig and Sarah True, Stimpson edged out the competition, clocking 1:56:09.
“The swim was terrible, I dived in and I was straightaway in the washing machine,” the 27-year-old Stimpson told Sport360.
“The bike felt good, it was very tactical and with the crash and stuff on the last lap, I hope all the girls are okay. The run felt really good. I had in my head that I wanted to have a go and a surge.”
While winning gold may have been a welcome confidence booster for the Brit, she says it doesn’t really affect her Olympic qualification chances.
“It’s great to have won but to be honest it doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things. The selectors are looking on Gold Coast and they’ve said that, and that the races before don’t mean anything,” she explained.
“If Helen beats me in Gold Coast then she’ll probably get selected to go, so it is on that race but it does give me confidence in the back end of my race, I just need to concentrate on my front end.”
Asked if the fight to qualify to Rio is making this season a stressful time for her, Stimpson added: “You’d be silly to say it’s not. Stressful is probably the wrong word. I’m doing all I can, I’ve had a great winter of training with my coach Darren Smith. I’m doing all I can do.
“If Helen is the better athlete to go then Helen is the better athlete to go and I can’t control how her training is going and how she performs, so I’m just trying to control what I can do.”
Jenkins, who competed at the London 2012 Olympics, is also looking to focus on her own form.
“I think we should be given four spots, that would be great,” Jenkins said with a laugh. “It’s going to be tough. Me and Jodie are going to be racing the Gold Coast and all we can do is do our best. I think we both respect each other enough to know that the best person is going to get the spot.”
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