Portugal’s Joao Silva sizzled under the Yokoham sun today, besting Spain’s Javier Gomez on the final lap of the run to take his second consecutive ITU World Triathlon Yokohama win. Russia’s Dmitry Polyanskiy followed close behind for bronze just one week after winning the Tongyeong ITU Triathlon World Cup.
A breakaway on the last lap of the bike by Yuichi Hosoda (JPN) and Kris Gemmell (NZL) went at such a pace that the two could not keep up with the leaders on the run and Gomez soon pulled into the lead. By the bell lap Silva had caught the Spaniard and was pushing a few metres ahead, holding on to the line to claim his second straight Yokohama title.
“I had a tough season with lots of injures in the beginning. I’m glad I recovered in time for the Olympics and the end of the season,” said Silva. “I’m really, really pleased with this result here. I’m really emotional as some of the best moments of my career are here so I’m really proud to perform like this in Yokohama.”
The men’s race began under rising humidity levels and it was Richard Varga (SVK) who led the field out of the water after a two lap swim. Close behind were Russians Ivan Vasiliev, Igor Polyanskiy, Dmitry Polyanskiy and Denis Vasiliev along with Gomez and Japan’s Hirokatsu Tayama heading up the large pack entering T1.
On the first lap the riders formed a large group out in front with two main chase packs, but by the end of lap one the first chase pack including Gemmell, Joao Pereira (POR), Sven Riederer (SUI) and Laurent Vidal (FRA) had caught up, creating around 24 out ahead.
This main pack stayed together with a number of failed breakaway attempts until Hosoda and Gemmell raced ahead on the penultimate lap gaining 20 seconds on the rest of the field. By the end of the bell lap the pair had gained even more time and with a 50-second lead, collectively claiming the day’s bike prime of $20,000
Behind, Pierre Le Corre (FRA), Gomez, Silva and Vidal turned up the pace to catch the runaways out of T2. Within the first lap the pair had been swallowed up and Gomez appeared strong with a six second gap ahead of Dmitry Polyanskiy and Silva followed by the small group of Vidal, Adam Bowden (GBR) and David Hauss (FRA).
With a lap and half to go Silva made his move and began to pull away from Polyanskiy. The Russian responded and bridged the gap to join Gomez and Silva up front. By the closing stages Polyanskiy had slightly dropped off the pace and Silva powered ahead, gaining metres over Gomez all the way down the finish chute.
“Javier is a great athlete, but everyone has good days and bad days and sometimes even on a good day things can go wrong, I mean that is racing sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and that’s why we love it,” said Silva. “I won’t shave my beard, it has brought me luck so I’m keeping it.”
Gomez claims his sixth ITU podium in a row, but has recently been troubled with injury.
“I actually decided to come here at the last minute because I sprained my ankle warming up for the national championships and I took more than a week off. I couldn’t swim or run basically, so my fitness was not great, I knew that, but I needed the points for the championship,” said Gomez. “Obviously when you are leading you think about the win and yeah, I’m not really happy with the second place, but thinking about my fitness I have to be pleased and it’s quite good for the championships, I think I still have my chances in Auckland so we’re going to fight for it.”
Polyanskiy stands on his second podium in as many weeks with another strong all round performance by the Russian.
“After the Olympic Games I was sick and off training for about two weeks,” said Polyanskiy. “Now I feel rested, last week I won in Tongyeong and now I’m very happy because it’s my second good result after the Olympics. I don’t know why but I feel I have more power in Asia.”
Frenchmen Vidal and Hauss finished behind the leaders for fourth and fifth with Tayama the top finishing Japanese athlete in tenth.
In the overall series rankings, Gomez moves ahead of Alexander Bryukhankov for the second spot. While Gomez still trails Jonathan Brownlee, he cut the deficit to 180 points, which sets up a phenomenal clash for the world championship in the Auckland Grand Final.
Mirroring the London 2012 Olympic Games, Yokohama witnessed a spectacular sprint finish and this time Sweden’s Lisa Norden was not denied gold beating Germany’s Anne Haug to claim her second straight WTS victory
Olympic medallists Lisa Norden, Erin Densham and Javier Gomez along with 2011 Yokohama winner Joao Silva and the 2012 Japanese Olympic team discussed current form before the 2012 ITU World Triathlon Yokohama.
With the Grand Final of the ITU World Triathlon Series fast approaching, precious WTS rankings points are at stake at the penultimate stop in Yokohama this weekend