From the dizzying, head-spinning pace of London, the Dextro Energy Triathlon World Championship Series moved to the quaint town of Kitzbühel, Austria. Set below the Alps, the town is usually associated with the prestigious ski race but when the snow has melted and the summer rolls in, triathlon takes over.
A modified bike course included a few steep climbs which opened the door for a potential breakaway on the bike. And that’s exactly what unfolded in the men’s race. With three laps to go, five men took off and separated themselves from the main pack. The group, which included Greg Bennett, Stuart Hayes and Matt Chrabot, worked together and built a lead of almost two minutes.
While world class runners like Javier Gomez and Jan Frodeno managed to catch most of the men, Hayes stayed in front for good. It was a long wait for the British veteran—who began his ITU career in 1996—as he celebrated his first ever ITU victory.
“The only way I can win these races is to get away on the bike, otherwise there’s no chance for me,” Hayes said afterward. “Either I get away and it works or I end up near last place because I gave everything I had trying to get away. That’s the way I like to race.”
Gomez, who had won the previous two rounds of the Series, came across in second place. Frodeno took the bronze and applauded Hayes’ victory after the race.
“I take my hat off to Stuart—that was a great performance. I always enjoy seeing guys win with a breakaway on the bike like that,” said Frodeno, who retained his grip on the number one ranking with just the Grand Final in Budapest left.
Among the women, Canadian Paula Findlay attracted more attention than usual. After pulling off a stunning win in London a few weeks earlier, many were curious to see what she would do for an encore. And once again, Findlay would surprise even herself.
Out of the second transition, five women established themselves as the leaders. The talented group included reigning World Champion Emma Moffatt, Andrea Hewitt, Findlay, Lisa Norden and 2008 World Champion Helen Jenkins.
But as the pace intensified, Findlay dropped them one by one and ran away with her second consecutive Series victory. Even Findlay herself had to shake her head in disbelief as she crossed the finish line as the champion again.
“I really surprised myself with a sprint like that,” Findlay said afterwards. “I ran a little bit of track back in high school, so I knew I had a little speed in my legs, but I also knew that Andrea and Lisa have great sprints, so I didn’t know if I’d be able to pull it out.”
Norden settled for the silver while Hewitt rounded out the podium and maintained her position at number two in the world.
“I knew from watching the race in London that Paula would be really strong in the end,” said Norden, who finished just three seconds back. “I was hoping that I would have a strong kick at the end today, but when Paula went, I couldn’t go with her.”
Moffatt came across in fifth place, good enough to keep her atop the world rankings heading into the Grand Final.
Kitzbühel will host the fourth round of the 2011 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series on June 18-19.
|Results: Elite Women|