Australia’s two Emmas stole the headlines at the 2010 ITU Grand Final in sunny Budapest this afternoon. Snowsill turned the final race of the World Championship Series into a procession and Moffatt finished second to retain her world title.

Olympic champion Emma Snowsill roared back to form in no uncertain terms this afternoon in Budapest, taking the final race in the 2010 Dextro Energy ITU World Championship Series (WCS) by over a minute and a half. The signs were ominous for the rest of the field after she exited the swim in 18th place – well in touch with the leaders.

ITU Grand Final 2010 BudapestAfter biding her time on the bike leg she raced through the pack on the run like a knife through butter, recording a 10km split of 33:08, which was almost two minutes quicker than anyone else. She completed the final few laps in splendid isolation, having the luxury of greeting the crowd on the final run-in.

The three-time former world champion has endured a difficult season in 2010 (she was way down in the pre-race standings and had no chance of winning the world title). But she has still managed to steal the headlines and the two biggest races on the circuit, adding this race to her victory at Hy-Vee in June. The manner of her victory suggested that she will be a major force in 2011 and also in 2012 when she is set to defend her Olympic crown in London.

“It’s a great finish to an up-and-down year,” she told TriRadar after the race.

“I’ve learned a lot. I know why the ups-and-downs occured and have realised how to address them. And I’ve also learned to listen to my body and respect what it tells me. I guess I enjoy competing on the big stage and I really wanted to do myself justice today. I’m delighted to have won and am definitely going to celebrate later on.”

ITU Grand Final Budapest 2010 Emma MoffatImpressive enough as Snowsill was, most eyes were focused on the chasing pack and the fight for the world title. New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt was in second place pre-race, but had a day to forget and trailed in 22nd. It was left to series leader Moffatt and close contenders Helen Jenkins, Nicola Spirig and Lisa Norden to fight it out in a mini battle behind Snowsill.

In the end it was Moffatt who proved the strongest, gradually moving up the field on the bike and breaking the hearts of her pursuers on the final lap of the run. She needed a spot on the podium to retain her crown and eventually came home in 1:51:26 to achieve her goal – though just 11 seconds separated her in second and Carole Peon in ninth. Spirig rounded off the podium in third, just ahead of Norden and Paula Findlay, who rallied into fifth after a poor swimming leg. Jenkins and fellow Brit Vicky Holland finished sixth and seventh respectively.

“I’ve achieved my goal from the start of the season – to retain my title,” Moffatt told TriRadar after the race.

“I’ve been consistent, but not as much as last year as I haven’t actually won a race this time round. So in a way it’s even more satisfying than last year as it was more of a struggle to get over the line.”

RESULTS – ELITE WOMEN

1 E Snowsill (AUS) 1:49:43

2 E Moffatt (AUS) 1:51:26

3 N Spirig (SUI) 1:51:28

FINAL WCS SERIES STANDINGS

1 E Moffatt (AUS) 3806 points

2 N Spirig (SUI) 3413 points

3 L Norden (SWE) 3390 points