BANYOLES, Spain - 2012 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team qualifier Gwen Jorgensen earned her second career ITU World Cup win, and rising star Lukas Verzbicas was victorious in his ITU World Cup debut to give the United States a gold-medal sweep at Sunday's Banyoles ITU Triathlon World Cup.
The victories from Jorgensen (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Verzbicas (Colorado Springs, Colo.) lifted the U.S. to its first sweep of gold at an ITU World Cup event since 1992.
Jorgensen overtook eventual runner-up Erin Densham of Australia on the final lap of the run to earn the victory in 1 hour, 59 minutes, 39 seconds on the 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike, 10-kilometer run course. Densham was second in 1:59:55, and fellow Aussie Ashleigh Gentle took third in 2:00:02.
"We had some really good runners out there. Erin took out, and I just tried to keep within distance. I knew it was hot out, so I just tried to ... build throughout the race," said Jorgensen, who has four top-eight ITU finishes in 2012.
In the subsequent men's race, the 19-year-old Verzbicas also made his move on the run to claim victory in 1:47:28, 17 seconds clear of two-time Olympian Laurent Vidal of France, who was second in 1:47:45. Russia's Dmitry Polyanskiy rounded out the podium in 1:48:04. Greg Billington (Colorado Springs, Colo.) was 11th in 1:49:03, and Tommy Zaferes (Soquel, Calif.) placed 17th in 1:49:33 to give the U.S. three men in the top 20.
Verzbicas was 45th out of the water and joined the chase group out of T1 and onto the bike. On the second lap of the bike, the two lead groups merged, and 54 riders hit T2 within seconds of one another. The eventual podium finishers pulled away on the first lap of the run, and Verzbicas surged with 1k to go to lock up his second consecutive win. His 30:55 10k run split was 27 seconds faster than anyone else in the field.
"It's a great feeling - first World Cup, first victory," Verzbicas said. "Those guys really pushed me, and I was lucky enough to have the kick in the end."
Visit triathlon.org for a complete men's recap, including video highlights.
Today's ITU World Cup gold-medal sweep was the fourth all-time for the U.S. and first since Joy Hansen and Andrew Carlson earned wins at the 1992 Las Vegas ITU Triathlon World Cup. Americans also swept ITU World Cup wins on two occasions in 1991.
Banyoles ITU Triathlon World Cup
(1,500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run)
Women - Complete Results
1. Gwen Jorgensen (Milwaukee, Wis.), 1:59:39
2. Erin Densham (AUS), 1:59:55
3. Ashleigh Gentle (AUS), 2:00:02
DNF Kelly Whitley (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Men - Complete Results
1. Lukas Verzbicas (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 1:47:28
2. Laurent Vidal (FRA), 1:47:45
3. Dmitry Polyanskiy (RUS), 1:48:04
11. Greg Billington (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 1:49:03
17. Tommy Zaferes (Soquel, Calif.), 1:49:33
47. Matt Wisthoff (Wilmington, N.C.), 1:53:19