Fernandes, Gemmell glorious in Greece
The unstoppable Vanessa Fernandes of Portugal added another world cup win to her collection, her sixth of the season, at the 2007 Rhodes BG Triathlon World Cup in historic Greece. With her win Fernandes has equalled the standing ITU record for most world cup wins by a single athlete at 19, held by triathlon legend, Aussie Emma Carney. Fernandes’ time of 2 hours 2 minutes and 6 seconds was almost a minute faster then second place Andrea Whitcombe of Great Britain. In third, a further 17 seconds back, was Vendula Frintova of the Czech Republic.
“Look I never talk about records…never…never…,” explained Fernandes. “I don’t know why but it’s the one thing I never talk about. But it’s good to win 19 world cups, I think it’s great for Portugal and for me being 22 yeas old to have this record, I think I have to be happy.”
“I’m very proud of my season,” continued Fernandes, on this being her last race of 2007. “Because my goal at the beginning of the season was the world champs and I won. But everything is a work for the Olympic Games, for my life, for my sport.”
Fernandes was second out of the water in a time of 20:21 and first onto the hilly and technical 40-kilometre bike course. Early on the Portuguese star would break away with Pan-American Games gold medalist Julie Ertel of the United States building a 24-second lead on the chase groups. This lead would not hold, however, as bike-specialist Nicola Spirig of Switzerland managed to reel in, first the second group, and then the leaders by the fourth of eight laps. The Swiss athlete continued right through the large group, breaking away with Fernandes on the second last lap, building a 20 second lead into transition two.
From there it was left to a running race with a large group of 37 women coming off the bike behind the two leaders. In typical fashion, Fernandes would run away from the chasers immediately, never to look back, crossing the line with a 34:56 10-kilometre run split for her sixth world cup win of the season.
The race would be for the silver medal after Fernandes exploded from the front. After the first of three laps it was Whitcombe, Frintova, Spirig and Emma Moffatt of Australia running together, pacing each other. Quickly though it was only Whitcombe and Frintova left as Spirig and Moffatt dropped off the pace mid way through the run. Whitcombe would make the deciding move a kilometre from the finish line to pull ahead of the Czech athlete claiming the first world cup silver medal of her career.
Spirig and Moffatt would both fade over the final few kilometres as temperatures began to rise, enabling Ertel and Christiane Pilz of Germany to cross the line in fourth and fifth place, respectively.
2007 Rhodes BG Triathlon World Cup - Elite Women Results
1. FERNANDES, Vanessa (POR) 2:02:06
2. WHITCOMBE, Andrea (GBR) 2:03:05 +:58
3. FRINTOVA, Vendula (CZE) 2:03:22 +1:15
4. ERTEL, Julie (USA) 2:03:52 +1:45
5. PILZ, Christiane (GER) 2:03:52 +1:45
6. SPIRIG, Nicola (SUI) 2:03:56 +1:49
7. NORDEN, Lisa (SWE) 2:04:02 +1:55
8. LISK, Ricarda (GER) 2:04:24 +2:17
9. OHMATSU, Saori (JPN) 2:04:28 +2:21
10. HIDALGO, Pilar (ESP) 2:04:35 +2:29
New Zealand’s Kris Gemmell won the 2007 Rhodes BG Triathlon World Cup with flair after out-sprinting young Alistair Brownlee of Great Britain. Gemmell finished four seconds up on the youngster as Brownlee celebrated a silver medal in only his second ever world cup. Third place was Australian Courtney Atkinson, who ran himself onto the podium from 90 seconds down after the bike leg.
“I always want to win a race like that. I think it is the truest way to win a race,” said Gemmell. “I’ve always had to race to a plan this year. I’ve had to sort of hold myself back all the time and make sure I got the Olympic spot. Where this race I could go and do whatever I want. Off the front and aggressively.”
One long line of 65 men would exit the calm Mediterranean within 30 seconds of each other after the opening 1,500-meter swim due to the front group missing the final swim buoy and having to swim back almost 50 meters to make it. This resulted in almost the entire field exiting the water together.
“The race could have panned out differently,” commented eventual bronze medalist Atkinson. “I was sitting right on Marko’s [Albert] feet and we missed the final buoy and we had to turn around and go back and that changed the race because all the lead guys were in the middle of the pack.”
“Lucky enough for me halfway through on that second lap a few of the front guys went the wrong way,” said Gemmell. “I profited from that as I was in the second group and managed to catch up.”
Right away on the bike Gemmell and Reinaldo Colucci of Brazil to put their heads down and break away from the large pack, increasing their lead every lap to a minute-thirty on the main chase group which included the likes of pre-race favourites such as Atkinson, Ivan Rana of Spain, Brad Kahlefeldt of Australia and numerous others.
It was young Brownlee who recognized the threat in letting Gemmell get away on the bike and attempted to bridge the gap with Sven Riederer of Switzerland. The two would pull to within 15 seconds from the leaders, enabling the former World Junior champion, Brownlee, to get his first world cup medal. Atkinson, however, decided to stay with the large group, conserving his energy for the run.
Out on the run, Brownlee caught the veteran Gemmell right away and the two ran together for almost the entire 10-kilometre run before the Kiwi would pull away with less then 300 metres to go for his third world cup win.
“Gemmell was saying I could get on the podium here and to keep my cadence up,” said Brownlee. “I gave it one quick go and he covered every move I made and there was nothing I could do when he went. I was just dead.”
“Brownlee was pushing really hard,” recalled Gemmell. “His coaches were telling him to put water on his head so I made sure he did that. I just wanted to make sure he didn’t blow himself up and finish in fifth place.”
Only recently both Gemmell and Atkinson were named to their country’s respective Olympic teams for next summer’s Olympic Games.
2007 Rhodes BG Triathlon World Cup - Elite Men Results
1. GEMMELL, Kris (NZL) 1:51:53
2. BROWNLEE, Alistair (GBR) 1:51:57 +:04
3. ATKINSON, Courtney (AUS) 1:52:20 +:27
4. FLEURETON, Cedric (FRA) 1:52:22 +:29
5. POLIKARPENKO, Volodymyr (UKR) 1:52:31 +:38
6. KAHLEFELDT, Brad (AUS) 1:52:41 +:48
7. RANA, Ivan (ESP) 1:52:49 +:56
8. MALYSHEV, Yulian (RUS) 1:52:54 +1:01
9. RIEDERER, Sven (SUI) 1:53:02 +1:09
10. HAYES, Stuart (GBR) 1:53:07 +1:14
Kris Gemmell (NZL) pays respect to the great performance of young Alistair Brownlee
(GBR), who claimed second place in only his second world cup ever.
The beautiful ancient city of Rhodes played host to round 13 of the BG Triathlon
World Cup Series.
Related Event: 2007 Rhodes BG Triathlon World Cup
|Results: Elite Men|
|Results: Elite Women|