Press Release - 2003 ITU Geelong World Cup - Elite Men
23 November 2003
Walton Wins Geelong World Cup By Largest Margin Ever.
Walton powered his way through the 1500 metre swim to exit almost 45 seconds ahead of his teammate Bryce Quirk and Hamish Carter of New Zealand, but a slow transition cost Walton 15 seconds and he started the 8 lap bike course with his lead cut to 25 second.
Behind him was a large pack of 24 led by Carter and Quirk, which stormed through the swim to bike transition and headed off in hot pursuit of Walton.
At the end of the 1st lap Walton hsf maintained his 25-second lead, but went to work on the second lap and increased his lead to over a minute.
Although the chase pack of 24 had all the credentials they needed to reign Walton in, i.e., some of the best cyclists in the sport; Frank Bignet (FRA), Carter, Joe Umphenour (USA) Olivier Marceau (SUI) and Spanish brothers Hektor and Eneko Llanos, Waltons lead just got larger and larger on each lap.
Brave Heart Walton at the front was not only holding off the chase group, he was dramatically building his lead on each lap. Local fans were visibly praying that the foot injury that has been nagging at Walton for several months has completely healed so he could run all the way to finish line in the lead.
By the halfway point of the bike Walton had increased his lead to one minute 40 second, and he continued to power away from all challengers. At this point in the race Shane Reed of New Zealand attempted a lone breakaway from the large chase pack and was soon joined by Graham OGrady of Australia and Ritchie Cunningham of Australia.
Incredible as it might seems, Waltons lead increased to almost 3 minutes by the bike to run transition, as Shane Reeds strategy to break from the big pack was mildly successful and provided his trio with a clear break from the madness that big pack create through transition.
Still coping with the three-minute deficit, Ritchie Cunningham was the first one from the chase pack onto the run followed by OGrady, Quirk, Carter, Bignet, Craig Alexander (AUS), Chris Hill (AUS) and pre-race favourite Bevan Docherty (NZL).
Walton lost 34 seconds to the chasers on the first lap of the run, as Kiwi teammates Hamish Carter and Bevan Docherty moved through the crowd not in the hunt for Walton, which was an unreasonable objective, but for the 2nd step on the podium.
Although Carter and Docherty ate away at Waltons lead through the 4-lap 10km run course, Waltons lead was too large for any ordinary mortal to overcome.
Craig Walton won his first World Cup of 2003 in style, along with the adoration of the thousands of fans who lined the course. Hamish Carter was 2nd back 1:40. Bevan Docherty was 3rd followed by Craig Alexander and Shane Reed who were 4th and 5th.
After the race
Craig Walton said, I was totally focused, and I knew that I was in good
form. It was a surprised that the guys didnt get their act together on
the bike, and it gave me the chance to put my stamp of authority on the race.
I want to be on the start list in Athens (2004 Olympic Games Triathlon) and
I know now that nothing is going to stop me.
Related Event: 2003 Geelong ITU Triathlon World Cup
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