Press Release - 2003 ITU Gamagori World Cup - Elite Men

Press Release - 2003 ITU Gamagori World Cup - Elite Men

By ITU Admin on 15/06/03 at 12:00 am

ITU Media
Release: 15 June 2003

Peter Robertson   Out Sprints Frank Bignet for Win in Gamagori

Gamagori, Japan,   15 June 2003: For immediate Release: The start of the mens event was   picture perfect as directed by the chief starter, Kiriyo Suzuki of Japan. As   the large and impressive field of 65 men moved towards the first turn buoy on   the 2 lap swim, there was no evidence of a breakaway as the entire field was   still in an almost perfectly straight line.

At the halfway   point of the swim, which is a very dramatic straight-through ramp onto the pontoon,   then a second dive, Hirano Tsukasa of Japan was at the front followed by Frank   Bignet of France, Joe Umphenour of the USA, Courtney Atkinson of Australia and   Szabolcs Varga of Hungary. There was very little separation from the rest of   the field.

Hirano Tsukasa   exited the swim first and swept through transition with newcomer Andy Potts   of the USA on his heels. Frank Bignet, Joe Umphenour and Hirokatsu Tayama of   Japan quickly joined forces with Tsukasa and Potts as a tight working group   of 5 at the front. A huge pack of over 40, that included most of the whos   who of triathlon blew through transition led by Matt Reed of New Zealand. The   chase group was down about 15 seconds at the start of the bike.

By the end of the   4th lap, the leaders increased their lead to almost 1 minute, while behind a   group of 6 lead by Stephane Poulat of France split from the big pack in an attempt   to catch the leaders. Meanwhile Chris Hill, World Ranked #1 and the winner of   last weeks Tongyeong ITU World Cup withdrew from the competition because   of a flat tire.

The group at the   front continued to increase their lead through lap 5, as Simon Whitfield, Sydney   Olympic Champion fell victim to the heat and humidity and withdrew from the   competition.

The chase group   finally started to make up some ground on the leaders through lap 6 and 7 and   managed to reel them back to under 1 minute. Peter Hobor of Hungary and Nick   Hornman of Australia made a credible breakaway at the end of the bike, which   served to make the large chase pack work harder to catch the leaders.

On the last lap   of the bike, the lead of the group of 5 at the front was cut to 30 seconds by   the breakaway duo of Peter Hobor and Nick Nornman. Hirokatsu Tayama and Tsukasa   Hirano were first through transition and onto the run, followed by Joe Umphenour,   Andy Potts and Frank Bignet. The huge pack entered transition 45 seconds behind   the leaders with Aussies Greg Bennett, Peter Robertson and Courtney Atkinson   first of that group onto the run in the hunt for the leaders.

The question on   everyones mind at this point was, Can the five at the front hold   off the power runners like Peter Robertson, Greg Bennett and Dimitri Gaag, and   was there enough time left for the leaders to hold on to their position at the   front.

The entire 3 lap,   10km run course was very dramatic as athletes surged and faded. Frank Bignet   posted his best results to date and at one point appeared to have such an insurmountable   lead that he would be able to add the World Cup title to his credit. Sadly for   this charismatic French athletes, this was Peter Robertsons day as he   came from a 45 second deficit to steal the title from Bignet just as they entered   the stadium for the last time. Greg Bennett, with another incredible run split,   ran down the rest of the lead group to take the final podium position.

Prior to the race   Peter Robertson said, I think Ill be good enough today to make   it an Aussie sweep of the World Cup title. A rather prophetic statement   given that Liz Blatchford had not won the womens title at that point.  

The medal ceremony   that followed the mens event was a delightful affair presided over by   Princess Takamada and the Mayor of Gamagori and his wife. Presenting the champagne   was Mr. Chiharu Igaya (IOC), ITU Vice President and Les McDonald, ITU President.

For complete results,   please visit www.triathlon.org.
 
 

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