USA's Verzbicas keeps promise to win Junior Men's World Championship for McDowell

by Merryn Sherwood on 11 Sep, 2011 10:24 • Español

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Verzbicas fulfills World Title promise

The USA’s Lukas Verzbicas kept his promise to training partner and friend Kevin McDowell when he turned in a world class performance to win the ITU Junior Men’s World Championship on the final race in Beijing on Sunday.

Verzbicas made a statement, he would return to triathlon for one more year to win the gold medal he was sure McDowell would have won had he not been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in March.

He did just that in Beijing, beating junior men’s European Champion Justus Nieschlag (GER) and another American, Tony Smoragiewicz over the line.

“It’s a big relief, I finally did it. It all just came together. It’s a great feeling,” said Verzbicas. “I was holding back tears on the podium, hearing the national anthem, it really meant a lot to me.”

Youth Olympic Games gold medallist Aaron Barclay (NZL) and bronze medallist Alois Knabl (AUT) were first out of the swim and joined by six other athletes. They formed two small groups leading onto the bike. 

The chase pack which included Verzbicas, quickly caught the leaders on the first uphill and then rode together for the rest of the 20 kilometres pulling further away from the rest of field all the way into T2.

Nieschlag was the leader coming out of the transition, but Verzbicas’ world class running prowess came to the fore as he flew to the front rounding the first bend and stayed there to win by 34 seconds, in a total time of 56 minutes and 21 seconds.

“It’s just so amazing, that’s the best way to describe it, I’m just truly speechless, it’s hard to believe, coming into triathlon so late and be able to do this,” said Verzbicas.

“I really enjoyed the race, the swim was great,” said Nielschlag. “On the bike I was at the front, but it was very hard with the hills and the second transition was great too, I ran out first. I knew Verzbicas is very strong on the run, so I didn’t try to go with him and just tried to defend the second place.”

“I saw the group weren’t too far ahead coming out of T2, so that gave me hope for the run,” said Smoragiewicz. “I had worked really hard on the bike so I didn’t know if I was going to run that fast, but coming up to the last stretch I was in fifth and I said that I’d be thinking about this race for the rest of the year and not be happy with it if I finished fifth so I had to think of a strategy to get up there and I gave it another kick.”

The Junior Men’s World Championship decided over a sprint distance of a 750m swim, 20km bike and a 5km run, wraps up the week of racing in Beijing.

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Related Event: 2011 Dextro Energy Triathlon - ITU World Championship Grand Final Beijing
09 - 11 Sep, 2011 • event pageall results
Results: U23 Women
1. Agnieszka Jerzyk POL 02:07:07
2. Zsófia Kovács HUN 02:07:08
3. Rebecca Robisch GER 02:07:14
4. Kaitlin Donner USA 02:07:18
5. Yuliya Yelistratova UKR 02:07:30
6. Non Stanford GBR 02:07:44
7. Anja Knapp GER 02:07:48
8. Charlotte Morel FRA 02:07:51
9. Lauren Goldstein- Kral USA 02:07:54
10. Alexandra Coates CAN 02:08:08
Results: U23 Men
1. Matthew Sharp GBR 01:52:12
2. David Mcnamee GBR 01:52:17
3. Thomas Bishop GBR 01:52:19
4. Gregory Billington USA 01:52:38
5. Franz Loeschke GER 01:53:01
6. Igor Polyanskiy RUS 01:53:05
7. Pierre Le Corre FRA 01:53:17
8. Ivan Ivanov UKR 01:53:26
9. Rodrigo Gonzalez MEX 01:53:28
10. Davide Uccellari ITA 01:53:53
Results: Junior Women
1. Mikayla Nielsen NZL 01:03:40
2. Ashlee Bailie AUS 01:03:42
3. Hanna Philippin GER 01:03:47
4. Eszter Pap HUN 01:04:02
5. Kelly Whitley USA 01:04:12
6. Joanna Brown CAN 01:04:16
7. Adriana Barraza MEX 01:04:22
8. Allison Hooper CAN 01:04:27
9. Christine Ridenour CAN 01:04:38
10. Annika Vössing GER 01:04:49
Results: Junior Men
1. Lukas Verzbicas USA 00:56:21
2. Justus Nieschlag GER 00:56:54
3. Tony Smoragiewicz USA 00:56:59
4. Ron Darmon ISR 00:57:06
5. Matt Brown AUS 00:57:11
6. Matthias Steinwandter ITA 00:57:19
7. Alois Knabl AUT 00:57:28
8. Dávid Pap HUN 00:57:30
9. Raphael Montoya FRA 00:57:35
10. Gordon Benson GBR 00:57:37
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