Stanford, the under-23 world champion, edged out former senior world champion Emma Moffatt of Australia at the death for second as America's Gwen Jorgensen took victory.
The Brit was prominent at the front of a large chasing pack of cyclists after the swim but was over a minute behind the lead group of four at the start of the run.
Jorgensen took the lead from Moffatt in the closing stages while Stanford fought hard to catch and overhaul the Australian to place second with Anne Haug fourth.
Fellow Brits Jodie Stimpson and Katie Hewison were fifth and 29th respectively and Stanford was made up with her efforts at the second World Triathlon Series race.
"I couldn't believe that we were actually catching, and to have a sprint finish is always exciting," she said. "I put my head down and worked really hard, and just got there. I'm absolutely delighted."
© Sportsbeat 2013
- Sports & Recreation
- Emma Moffatt
- Gwen Jorgensen