By ITU Admin on 25/05/09 at 12:01 am
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2009 Madrid Men's Preview
The 2009 Dextro Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship Series got underway with an electric men’s race in Tongyeong, Korea. Following breakaways on the bike, first by France’s Frederic Belaubre and Mark Fretta from the USA, and then the Russian pairing of Brukhankov and Polyansky, it was left up to the big guns to chase down the leaders.
It took Bevan Docherty, Brad Kahlefeldt and Kris Gemmell seven kilometres of running to catch Polyansky who held on to finish third, whilst the sprint finish between Kahlefeldt and Docherty provided spectators with the closest finish ever recorded in ITU history. The Kiwi was awarded the win following close analysis of the photo finish evidence.
With the season moving on to Madrid attention turns to Spanish home favourite Javier Gomez. Gomez went through the 2008 World Cup series unbeaten, claiming four victories and a World Championship title before finishing an agonising fourth in Beijing at the Olympics. Having picked up a foot injury after the Games Gomez has been getting back to full fitness, finishing second at the recent Pontevedra European Cup race behind Polyansky.
However, Gomez’s record over the Caso del Campo course in Madrid is exceptional with two wins and a second place finish over the past three years, and he will be one of the men to look out for.
Also making a return to international action is Germany’s Olympic Games gold medallist Jan Frodeno. Frodeno stunned the triathlon world back in August as he sprinted away from Canada’s Simon Whitfield to be crowned as Olympic champion in Beijing. Despite registering six ITU World Series podiums over his career Frodeno is yet to win a World Series event… could Madrid see his first victory?
Series leader Bevan Docherty misses Madrid as he prepares for next month’s World Championship race in Washington DC, and so Australia’s Brad Kahlefeldt will look to put himself on the top of the rankings with a strong performance in the Spanish capital. Disappointed to narrowly miss out on the win in Korea, Kahlefeldt may feel he has something to prove, and has spent the month of May training in Tiszaujvaros, Hungary to prepare himself for the second leg of the Dextro Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship Series.
He will line up with fellow Aussie Courtney Atkinson who has shown excellent early season form which saw him take ITU World Cup wins in Mooloolaba and Ishigaki and a tenth place finish at the World Championship season opener in Tongyeong. Also from the Southern hemisphere, New Zealand’s Kris Gemmell will be looking for a strong performance in Madrid having just missed out on a top three finish in Korea as he recovered from a nasty crash sustained whilst racing back on home soil. The Kiwi has based himself at altitude in Boulder, Colorado for the past month before he heads to Europe to contest the Spanish race.
USA’s Jarrod Shoemaker should feature towards the fore as he looks to build on recent results. The American featured highly in Tongyeong until a stitch late on the run put him back to sixth place.
Across Europe many of the continents best athletes are looking to make their series debuts. Joining compatriot Jan Frodeno will be Daniel Unger, Germany’s 2007 World Champion who steps up alongside Steffen Justus who was an impressive fifth in Tongyeong. World under 23 champion, Alistair Brownlee from Great Britain will look to get his season underway following on from an impressive 29 minutes 35 seconds clocking at a blustery Manchester 10km race. He will be joined on the pontoon by recently crowned British national champion Will Clarke and fellow Brits Tim Don, Olly Freeman and Stuart Hayes.
Veteran Swiss duo, Reto Hug and Sven Riederer, will also be hoping to make a mark on the new series whilst France’s Laurent Vidal and Frederic Belaubre will look to improve on solid starts to their 2009 seasons. Perhaps the biggest outsider who could feature will be Filip Ospaly from the Czech Republic who out-sprinted Gomez to take victory in Madrid in 2007. Russia will be strongly represented as Dmitry Polyansky aims for his third podium finish in as many races, whilst Ivan Vasiliev returns to action following a second place result at the Ishigaki ITU World Cup in Japan last month.