By Erin Greene on 28/11/12 at 7:47 pm
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Highlights of the 2012 Kitzbuehl ITU Mens Elite Race
Nestled in the Austrian Alps, Kitzbühel was the last ITU Olympic distance race prior to London 2012. It served as one of the final opportunities for the elites to compete against each other and fine tune their race strategies. It also marked Alistair Brownlee’s return to triathlon after suffering an injury that forced him to sit out most of the 2012 ITU season.
Alistair Brownlee (GBR) made himself a clear favourite for the Games with his performances in the years ahead of 2012. But his Olympic form was questioned when he missed races and had to change his training strategy to accommodate the injury.
However, Alistair squashed any doubts with a dominating performance in his debut return at Kitzbühel. At the start of the swim, his shape appeared shaking when he trailed on the first lap of the swim. But after the second lap, he was back to looking like his normal triathlon superstar self. Alistair, along with brother Jonathan Brownlee and Ivan Vasiliev (RUS), stormed off to build a quick and early lead on the bike.
It didn’t take long, however, for the strong German cycling group of Jan Frodeno, Steffen Justus and Maik Petzold to reel the leaders in. A large lead pack entered T2 together, but Alistair was a man on a mission running for the finish line. He posted a blistering sub-30 minute 10k split for gold, announcing his sensational return. Jonny finished nearly a minute later, followed by Javier Gomez. Read about the race here
The podiums at both the men’s and women’s races in Kitzbühel foreshadowed the 2012 Olympic medallists. In London, Alistair again put up a dominating run for Olympic gold, while this time Gomez bested Jonathan for silver.
Similarly, the women’s medal stand in Austria closely resembled that of London. In Kitzbühel, the group of Nicola Spirig (SUI), Lisa Norden (SWE), Andrea Hewitt(NZL) and Sarah Groff (USA) broke away on the run. However, just like in London, it was Spirig and Norden who dropped the group in the final moments.
Armed with wins from the ITU World Triathlon Madrid and the European Championships, Spirig out sprinted Norden at the last minute to claim the WTS win. Norden took silver and bronze went to Hewitt in Kitzbühel, while Erin Densham (AUS) took third at the Olympics. Read up about the women’s race here
Find more details about this event - 2012 ITU World Triathlon Kitzbuehel