By ITU Admin on 07/06/03 at 12:00 am
ITU Media Release: 7 June 2003
Tongyeong, Korea, 7 June 2003: For immediate Release: Japanese swimming star Tsukasa Hirano took to the front off the pontoon start and lead through the entire swim course. After the 1st lap of the 2-lap 1.5km swim, he had a small lead over Csaba Kuttor of Hungary, Chris Hill of Australia - the current World-Ranked #1 and Kris Gemmell of New Zealand. By the end of the swim, Hirano had increased his lead to 10 seconds and was first through transition onto the 40km very technical bike section.
Once on the bike Hirano was quickly caught by Gemmell and Hill, who took charge at the front, trying to build time on the chase pack that was about 20 seconds behind on the first lap of the bike. Greg Bennett of Australia, the 2001 World Champion Peter Robertson and the Olympic Champion Simon Whitfield were all working together with the rest of the chase pack to catch the leaders.
By the halfway point of the bike, the second chase group caught the main chase group to form a huge group, but due to the size of the group they lost valuable time on the leaders. All of the major contenders such as Peter Robertson, Greg Bennett and Simon Whitfield were in the chase group, but time was running out on their ability to catch the leaders during the final run section.
By the end of the bike, the leaders had built their lead to almost 1:50, as Chris Hill slid through transition and onto the final 10km run section followed closely by Kris Gemmell, Tsukasa Hirano of Japan, Jonas Djurbach of Sweden and the strong Hungarian connection of Tamas Liptak, Csaba Kuttor and Szabolcs Varga. The chase pack swept through transition about 1:45 back of the leaders, as Greg Bennett, Simon Whitfield and Peter Robertson stormed through at the front with one thing on their mindWhere is Chris Hill?
On the 1st and 2nd lap Chris Hill ran very strongly and continually increased his lead on Kris Gemmell, who was being chased down by the Hungarian trio of Csaba Kuttor, Tamas Liptak, and Szabolcs Varga, Japanese teammates Tsukasa Hirano and Ryosuke Yamamoto and Swedens Jonas Djurback The chase group of Bennett, Whitfield, Robertson were making some headway on the leaders at this point.
Chris Hill continued to build his lead through lap 3 and appeared to be running away with the Tongyeong World Cup title, except for the drama surrounding Mark Fretta of the USA has he ran through the pack and threatened to take one of the coveted podium spots. Kris Gemmell continued to maintain his 2nd place, with Hungarys Csaba Kuttor trying desperately to claim the last step on the podium. Meanwhile, Greg Bennett was running extremely well through the heat, but did not appear to have the time to catch Chris Hill.
Chris Hills lead was insurmountable by the start of the final lap on the run as he cruised home for his first World Cup title of 2003. Kris Gemmell was able to maintain his second place position despite the charging young American Mark Fretta, who impressed the local fans as he reeled in those ahead of him. By the start of the last lap he had moved into 3rd place and captured that career-building podium finish. The Hungarian connection of Csaba Kuttor, Tamas Liptak and Szabolcs Varga were still all in a strong position to finish in the top 10.
With an amazing run split, Greg Bennett, current World Ranked #2 took 4th place, with Szabolcs Varga of Hungary wrapping up the top 5.
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Find more details about this event - 2003 Tongyeong ITU Triathlon World Cup