Rio 2016: Jenkins-Stimpson 'too close to call' - Stanford

Jodie Stimpson and Helen Jenkins
Jodie Stimpson and Helen Jenkins have one race left before GB announce their Olympic choice

Wales' Olympic triathlon medal hopeful Non Stanford cannot predict whether compatriot Helen Jenkins or England's Jodie Stimpson will take the last Team GB place at Rio 2016.

Stimpson won last Saturday's first ITU series race in Abu Dhabi, with Jenkins finishing third.

But Stanford says the outcome of such events may not decide who goes to Rio.

"Even if one of them wins the race, it doesn't necessarily guarantee their selection," said Stanford.

"So it's going to be an interesting one and I'm very glad that I'm all wrapped up, done and dusted and on the plane."

Stanford and training partner Vicky Holland qualified in Chicago last year.

Selection policy

Jenkins and Stimpson will continue their rivalry at Australia's Gold Coast on the weekend of 9-10 April, with the selectors making their choice after that event.

Stanford added: "Helen swam and biked very, very strongly (in Abu Dhabi). Jodie was a little bit down on the swim, but ran very well.

"So it all really depends on how the race pans out on the Gold Coast.

"And that's the thing with triathlon - it's quite unpredictable and each race is different.

"So it will be very interesting to watch.

"I couldn't call it. I don't know which girl is going to perform better on the day.

"It's not just about the person that crosses the line first.

Vicky Holland (L) and Non Stanford hope to challenge Gwent Jorgensen for Olympic gold in Rio
Vicky Holland (left) and Non Stanford hope to challenge Gwent Jorgensen for Olympic gold in Rio

"The selection policy says it's showing an ability to podium in Rio so there's a lot of other factors that are going to come into play."

Stanford believes she is in a "very strong position" to win a medal in Rio, but says United States' Gwen Jorgensen will be the "hot favourite".

"She has been undefeated almost for the last two years - quite incredible and she's quite a formidable athlete and the complete triathlon package," said Stanford.

The ITU series began in Abu Dhabi and finishes in Mexico on the weekend of 17-18 September, almost a month after the Rio Games ends.

Break time?

Stanford's focus is entirely on bidding to win a medal in Brazil, for which she will treat the world series as preparation, and may not return to it when the Games are over.

"We'll very much make a decision after the games as to whether I continue racing for the rest of the season," said Stanford.

"Nobody really knows how they're going to come out the other end of it in terms of whether they're still able to race or whether they just need to take a break."

Stanford plans on racing in Cape Town on 24 April and at her base in Leeds on 12 June, among other events.

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