By ITU Admin on 06/12/03 at 12:00 am
7 December 2003
Peter Robertson Takes Second World Title
Queenstown, New Zealand: For immediate release: A jam-packed field of all the world’s best triathlete assembled on the start platform for the start of the Elite Men’s 2003 ITU Triathlon World Championships. The stunningly beautiful mountains surrounding Lake Hayes provided the perfect backdrop for such a high quality field of athletes.
Richard Stannard of Britain moved to the front of the 1 lap, 1500 metre swim, but was never able to get more than a body length of clearance from the rest of the field. Stannard exited the swim first, but it was Courtney Atkinson of Australia who was the first through the swim to bike transition and onto the 7-lap 40km challenging bike course. There were at least 50 athletes on his heels, all trying to catch the train.
Courtney Atkinson took it out alone for the first lap of the bike, with a chase pack of all the who’s who of triathlon in hot pursuit. Olivier Marceau of Switzerland and Bevan Docherty of New Zealand led a breakaway group from the chase pack and bridged up to Atkinson and by the start of the 2nd lap there was a good working group of 7 at the front.
The lead group of 7 was caught on the 3rd lap, which created a huge pack of 45 at the front. Hamish Carter of New Zealand tried to organise a breakaway group, and with the challenge of the big hills, everyone waited in anticipation of some action to breakup the big group.
The action came in spades on the 3rd lap when Australia’s Peter Robertson and Olivier Marceau (both former World Champions - 2001 for Robertson and 2000 for Marceau) broke from the main pack and built up a 20 second lead by the end of the lap.
The Kiwi connection of Hamish Carter, Bevan Docherty and Craig Watson tried several times to build the momentum to break from the lumbering chase pack in an attempt to catch the leaders, but in the end their efforts failed and by the start of the 4th lap the duo at the front had a 28 second lead on the chasers.
Robertson and Marceau worked like a well-oiled machine at the front and increased their lead to almost 2 minutes by the bike to run transition. Their lead appeared to be insurmountable, given the running ability of both athletes, and the only question remaining was, “Which former world champion would add a second world title to their credits?”
Peter Robertson was through transition and onto the 4 lap 10km run course with lightning speed, a full 5 seconds ahead of Olivier Marceau. The gap to the chase pack was in excess of 1:58. Two desperate Aussies, Brad Kahlefeldt and Courtney Atkinson, and two Kiwis, Kris Gemmell and Hamish Carter, were the first ones from the big pack to enter the run course.
At this point it was obvious that their race was for the final step on the podium.By the end of the 1st lap, Robertson had a 9 second lead on Marceau, as the defending World Champion, Ivan Rana of Spain surged through the field into 3rd place ahead of Docherty, Atkinson, Simon Whitfield of Canada and Greg Bennett of Australia.
Rana passed Marceau on the 3rd lap and moved to within 30 seconds of Robertson, as Docherty and Carter were closing in on Marceau. With 1km to go, time was running out on all attempts to catch the rabbit at the front.
Peter Robertson won the 2003 Triathlon World Champion title in grand style as Ivan Rana settled for second - the opposite to last year’s World Championship finish.
Olivier Marceau had his best finish since his 2000 Triathlon
World Championship title, as he held on for third. Places 4 to 6 went to the
hometown heros - Bevan Docherty, Hamish Carter and Craig Watson.
Find more details about this event - 2003 Queenstown ITU Triathlon World Championships