Triathlon: Non Stanford's confidence boost after Hamburg bronze

Holland pushes Jorgensen all the way

Non Stanford says she is almost back to her best after claiming bronze at the ITU World Triathlon Series in Hamburg.

The 2013 world champion spent 20 months out with a foot injury and then a stress fracture before returning to action in May in Yokohama.

The Welsh athlete, 26, now hopes to secure a place for the 2016 Olympics at the Rio test event on 1-2 August.

"It's done loads for my confidence going into Rio, which is the next race," Stanford said.

"I really feel like I'm back on top of my game now and getting closer to making that team."

The test event in Rio is the first of two races this year that British Triathlon has nominated as offering automatic selection for next year's Olympics.

Athletes who finish in the top three in Rio and at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Chicago on 15-19 September will clinch selection for Team GB.

The other British women competing at Rio in August will be Vicky Holland - who took silver in Hamburg behind world number one Gwen Jorgensen - Stanford's Welsh compatriot Helen Jenkins, Jodie Stimpson and India Lee.

Non Stanford (far right) celebrates her Hamburg podium with winner Gwen Jorgensen and Vicky Holland
Non Stanford (far right) celebrates her Hamburg podium with winner Gwen Jorgensen and Vicky Holland

Stanford believes that after her injury problems she is starting to find her form again in the battle to be one of the three British women selected for Rio 2016.

"If you look at how I did in London [ITU race on 30 May] to now I think I've gone from 36th to third," she said.

"I was really quite embarrassed after my performance in London, I was really disappointed.

"I've gone away, put my head down, really focused on all the things I did wrong going into London and just tried to execute a good race.

"I did everything I could to get myself up there and I'm inching closer to get back to the top."

Last weekend's race in Hamburg saw Holland push USA's Jorgensen all the way to the line, with Stanford holding off another American - Sarah True - for third.

Stanford says a lot of hard work during the cycling segment helped her remain in contention.

"I knew if I wanted to be in contention on the run I had to get back into that front group," she said.

"I think we got off 20-25 seconds behind and every lap we went round it was coming down two or three seconds.

"I was really trying to get the other girls to help out because it's the only way we're really going to close down on the front pack of riders that were really strong.

"I think I did most of the work, which I think I paid for a bit on the run.

"But if I hadn't done the work there then I wouldn't have been in contention so it had to be done."