Twenty-year-old Brit Jonathan Brownlee took home top honours at the first-ever ITU Sprint Triathlon World Championship, earning the first world title of his young career. It makes four ITU World Championships in the Brownlee household, as older brother Alistair has earned world titles in the Junior, U-23 and Elite categories. The younger Brownlee topped veteran teammate Tim Don in Lausanne this morning, finishing 12 seconds ahead.
“I guess I’m lucky because I raced as a Junior last year, and Juniors race the sprint distance,” Brownlee said. “I think I have a bit more experience at this kind of race than a lot of these guys and that helped today.”
Don, who has previously won world championships in Lausanne in the Junior and Elite categories, completed the one-two British punch, finishing five seconds ahead of Frenchman David Hauss.
“There’s something about Lausanne that makes it a special place for me,” Don said. When I won the Junior world title here in 1999, it really set up my career and made me believe in myself. This is one of my favourite places to race.”
Seventy-three men dove into the 21-degree water of Lake Geneva to kick things off, and after just over nine minutes in the Lake, Canada’s Andrew McCartney led the way out of the swim. He was joined by a group of five men, including Brownlee.
“That was one of the hardest swims I’ve ever done,” Brownlee said. “Everyone was pushing really hard from the start.”
Onto the hilly and technical four-lap bike course, Brownlee led a break of five men on the first lap. As the group of five headed onto lap two, they had a 15-second advantage on the big chase group, led by Greg Bennett (ITU) and Cameron Dye (USA). The chase pack was able to catch the leaders on the second lap, thanks in large part to the strong riding of Dye and Bennett.
After a hard 20K of riding, a group of over 50 men rolled into the second transition together, leaving the race to the fastest 5K run. It was clear early on that the run would come down to Brownlee and Don, as the pair pulled away on the first of two run laps, with Hauss and Aussie Brad Kahlefeldt giving chase.
Brownlee pulled away from his countryman as he started the final 2.5K lap, and cruised to the win in 52:58, with Don hitting the finish line 12 seconds later. Hauss put the exclamation point on the best year of his career, finishing third in 53:16.
“I’m very happy with third place today,” Hauss said. “The level of intensity was really high today. It was difficult to hang on, and I’m so glad I was able to make the podium.”
Rounding out the top five was Kahlefeldt (4th) and Aussie teammate Dan Wilson (5th).
The weekend of racing will wrap up with the Team Triathlon World Championship at 2:30 p.m. local time tomorrow (Sunday). The 2009 ITU Team Triathlon World Championship was hosted by Hy-Vee in Des Moines, Iowa, alongside the prestigious Hy-Vee ITU Triathlon Elite Cup, with the Swiss Team taking home top honours, topping Australia by only eight seconds. Team Canada rounded out the podium. Twenty relays represnting 17 countries will contest this year’s Team championship, with Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand fielding two squads.