Best of 2011: Kahlefeldt finally conquers Hamburg
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Brad Kahlefeldt has been competing in Hamburg long enough to know that wins are hard to come by.
After claiming his first career World Cup medal in the German city back in 2003, Kahlefeldt then followed up that bronze with another in 2006. The next year the stakes were higher, at the 2007 ITU World Championships, and he came away with another bronze - or three third place finishes in five attempts. In 2009, the first year of the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series, he went one better for silver.
Brad Kahlefeldt in Hamburg
2011 – Gold (WCS)
2010 – 6th (WCS)
2009 – Silver (WCS)
2008 – DNF (World Cup)
2007 – Bronze (World Champs)
2006 – Bronze (World Cup)
2005 – 4th (World Cup)
2004 – DNF (World Cup)
2003 – Bronze (World Cup)
But this year, Kahelfeldt was within striking distance with just a few hundred metres to go and the seven-time World Cup winner went for it. He turned on a final finishing chute masterclass, pulling away from Great Britain’s William Clarke and France’s David Hauss in one of the closest finishes all year. Kahlefeldt has had his share of near misses - including that famous photo finish with Bevan Docherty to decide who won the very first Dextro Energy Triathlon Series race in Tongyeong in 2009 - and he said afterwards he wasn’t going to let it slip.
“In the run I felt great, and in that sprint finish and against Will and all the boys…I’ve been in a lot of sprint finishes in my career and I didn’t want to lose that one,” he said after crossing the finish line.
Reflecting on his race in November, Kahlefeldt said that it was satisfying to finally claim the win he had been chasing for so long.
“Hamburg is a race I have been trying to win. This year was my ninth year I think, so it was nice to finally win with so many close finishes in the past,” Kahlefeldt said. “It is without a doubt one of my favourite races on the circuit. The crowd is the best on the circuit with an amazing 200,000 screaming Germans. The German public are well educated on athletes from all over the world. The organisation is very professional and they have perfected it over the years. This year it was also an important race for us Australians as it was seen as one of the more important races for Olympic selection along with London WCS, so I was delighted with the win.”
Kahlefeldt’s win also put his season back on track. The Beijing Olympian had started off the season with a flourish, with a World Cup win in Mooloolaba, but then he didn’t finish in Sydney and finished 51st in Madrid. But Kahlefeldt’s fifth place in Kitzbuhel showed he was back, before that dominating performance in Hamburg. He then finished eighth in London and 11th in Lausanne to keep up his excellent mid-season run of form, before a bout of food poisoning ruined his Grand Final.
All About Brad
Dextro Energy Triathlon Series wins: 1
ITU World Cup wins: 7
Where he calls home: Wagga Wagga, Australia
You can follow Brad on Twitter @GOSticksy
But Kahlefeldt still finished as the highest Australian man in 2010, in 10th spot on the series ranking list. Not that it matters much, as he switches his focus now to next year and the London 2012 Olympics. The 31-year-old and partner Emma Moffatt escaped to Asia and then the Solomon Islands for some R&R, but now they are both back in Australia and working towards Olympic selection.
“It was a shame I got food poisoning in Beijing prior to the Grand final. But post race we headed away on a month long holiday to Vietnam, Cambodia, then Solomon Islands. It was a nice trip and a great way to wind down after the season. We find out soon about Olympic selection. From there we plan the 2012 season.”
There is one thing that Kahlefeldt doesn’t need to worry about next year though, ticking Hamburg off his ‘to win’ list.
A PERFECT PAIR
It wasn’t just a win for Australia in Hamburg, but a perfect result for one of triathlon’s power couples - Emma Moffatt and Brad Kahlefeldt. We asked them quickly about the other’s race in Hamburg, here’s Moffy’s take on Brad.“In Hamburg I was watching the men’s swim and the start of the bike in the hotel lobby on tv! A little bit lazy but the crowds are that big in Hamburg it’s a mission to get a good spot which takes time and energy. Sounds lazy but I had to race the following day so I had to keep that in mind! Half way through the bike I went to the second run turnaround and settled there for the remainder of the race! I get really nervous watching Brad as everything is out of my control. It was such a close race that I had know idea where he finished. I was making my way through the crowds to the finish with a British coach so all I knew is that Will was second. So I still didn’t know where Brad finished until I got to the finish area. I was pretty excited for him, it was great to see his hard and dedication be rewarded! Plus I I’d get a nice bunch of flowers!”
Australia's Brad Kahlefeldt claimed his maiden Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series race title in a dramatic sprint finish in Hamburg, and Will Clarke his first podium in a thriller of an elite men's race.02:18 - 16 Jul, 2011