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Posted: April 3, 2016:  

Triathlon: Gwen Jorgensen Victorious at New Plymouth World Cup, Kirsten Kasper Third

NEW PLYMOUTH, New Zealand -- Reigning world champion and 2016 U.S. Olympic qualifier Gwen Jorgensen picked up the win on Sunday in the New Plymouth ITU World Cup, while compatriot Kirsten Kasper earned the bronze.

Gwen Jorgensen earned her 15th consecutive win in 15 starts on Sunday. (Scottie T Photography/ITU)

Jorgensen (St. Paul, Minn.) finished the sprint-distance 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run course in 58 minutes, 51 seconds for her 15th consecutive ITU win in 15 individual race starts. It was Jorgensen's first ITU World Cup performance since winning in Mooloolaba, Australia, in 2014. New Zealand's Andrea Hewitt picked up the silver medal in 59:13, and Kasper (North Andover, Mass.) was third in 59:20 for her second ITU World Cup podium in back-to-back events.

Jorgensen and Kasper were in the lead group coming out of the water, along with Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.) and Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.). The lead group maintained a solid gap on the chase pack throughout the 20 kilometer ride, with a 48 second lead at the start of the run. Jorgensen then turned on her signature run speed to claim the win. Kasper held on for bronze, and Cook, who had lost ground midway through the bike leg, ran her way back into the top 10 to finish eighth.

"There were a lot of tough, good athletes, a lot of fast swimmers, and so it was a good test. Andrea was pushing it on the swim, the bike and the run, so it was a really hard race," Jorgensen said. "The plan is always to execute processes on swimming, biking and running, and I think there are a few things I could improve upon."

Jorgensen was the third American to win in New Plymouth in three years. Katie Zaferes (Hampstead, Md.) won on this course in 2014 and Kaitlin Donner (Satellite Beach, Fla.) was the 2015 champion.

"I've loved the racing. We've been training here for a bit so it's been a great experience, and I'm happy to start the season off so well," Kasper said. "I think I executed what my coach and I set out to do - I swam hard, I worked on the bike and it came down to the run. I just followed my instinct."

Following the women, the men took to the race course where Greg Billington (Spokane, Wash.) finished as the top American in 10th and Ben Kanute (Geneva, Ill.) was 11th. South African Richard Murray defended his New Plymouth title, finishing in 53:08 after a blazing run split.

Kanute was in the lead group on the bike along with Billington, Eric Lagerstrom (Portland, Ore.) and Joe Maloy (Wildwood Crest, N.J.), but broke away from the pack with eventual silver medalist Andreas Schilling of Denmark to have a nearly 30 second advantage at the second transition.

Kanute tweeted about the break after the race, saying, "Saw a chance and took it today. Came up a bit short, but solid execution. Excited to build on this for next weekend!"

Many of the 14 Americans racing Sunday in New Plymouth will be in action again next weekend as the ITU World Triathlon Series continues in Gold Coast, Australia.

New Plymouth ITU World Cup
750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run
Elite Women - Complete Results
1. Gwen Jorgensen (St. Paul, Minn.), 58:51
2. Andrea Hewitt (NZL), 59:13
3. Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.), 59:20
U.S. Finishers
8. Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.), 1:00:02
20. Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 1:00:47
23. Kaitlin Donner (Satellite Beach, Fla.), 1:00:56
28. Erin Dolan (Bentonville, Ark.), 1:01:31
DNF Erin Jones (Hood River, Ore.)
Elite Men - Complete Results
1. Richard Murray (RSA), 53:08
2. Andreas Schilling (DEN), 53:28
3. Rostyslav Pevtsov (AZE), 53:32
U.S. Finishers
10. Greg Billington (Spokane, Wash.), 53:43
11. Ben Kanute (Geneva, Ill.), 53:44
18. Joe Maloy (Wildwood Crest, N.J.), 54:00
37. Eric Lagerstrom (Portland, Ore.), 54:48
53. Nick Karwoski (Hollis, N.H.), 56:43
58. John O'Neill (Vail, Colo.), 58:11
DNF Sean Jefferson (Palisades, Calif.)

About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

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