After a slow start to the 2010 season due to a hip injury, Spain’s Javier Gomez is back in world-class form, as the Spaniard proved today with a win at the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Hamburg. Gomez, the 2008 ITU World Champion, took the win with a last-lap surge to edge out heavy crowd favourite Jan Frodeno of Germany. Gomez finished the race with an amazing 29:17 10K run split.
“I knew Jan would be the one to beat going into this race,” Gomez said afterward. “He’s shown amazing form all year long and I knew he’d have a little extra motivation from racing in front of a German crowd. Jan was very tough today, but it feels so good to be back in first place again.”
A field of 67 men dove into the River Alster to kick off the race. Warm temperatures throughout the past two weeks warmed the Alster up to almost 26 degrees Celsius on race morning, meaning no wetsuits were allowed. To no one’s surprise, Russia’s star swimmers moved to the front right from the start, with Denis Vasiliev leading the way. Right behind Vasiliev after the first of two swim laps were Germany’s Maik Petzold and fellow Russian Dmitry Polyansky. Vasiliev held the lead throughout the second lap, exiting the swim first, but the Russian had a group of 32 men only a few seconds behind heading into the first transition. Noticeably absent from the lead group were Simon Whitfield (CAN) and defending race winner Jarrod Shoemaker (USA).
The lead bunch of 33 tried to hold off the chasers on the eight-lap bike, but Whitfield and Shoemaker rode well to pull the chase group up to the leaders at the end of lap seven. Vasiliev forced a small break with 8 kilometres left to ride, building a gap of 30 seconds heading into the second transition. American Mark Fretta pulled up to within a few seconds of Vasiliev and the pair set off on the four-lap run with a small gap on a very fast chase pack.
Vasiliev and Fretta’s lead would be short-lived, as Frodeno and Aussie Courtney Atkinson moved to the front and cranked the pace up to another level. After the first lap, Frodeno and Atkinson were at the front, joined by Gomez, Brad Kahelefeldt (AUS), Sven Riederer (SUI), and Tim Don (GBR). That group was too big for Frodeno and Gomez, who forced a break on lap 2 and built a lead of 20 seconds by the 5-kilometre mark. The pair continued to battle side by side until Gomez put on a huge surge with 2 kilometres left to run.
“Javier was too strong today,” said Frodeno. “When he kicked on that final lap I had nothing left. I couldn’t go with him.”
Even the boisterous home crowd couldn’t pull Frodeno back up to Gomez, as the Spaniard grew his lead throughout the final lap. Gomez broke the finishing tape in 1:43:07, with Frodeno securing second 16 seconds later.
“I knew Jan would be faster than me if I let it come down to a sprint,” Gomez said. “So I gave everything I had at the beginning of that last lap. I believed that I could do it if I put everything I had in the final lap and I was able to pull away.”
With his second-place finish, Frodeno now takes over the lead in the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series Rankings, with an advantage of only one point over Brukhankov, who had lead the Series since round two in Seoul.
Don had a strong final lap to finish third, crossing the line 34 seconds after Frodeno. It’s Don’s second solid performance in a row, after winning the world’s richest triathlon at the Hy-Vee ITU Elite Cup five weeks ago.
“This was an absolutely amazing event,” Don said. “The atmosphere here is incredible and the support from the crowd is unlike any event I’ve ever done. I definitely plan on racing in Hamburg again.”
Rounding out the top five were Switzerland’s Sven Riederer (4th), who finished third at round three of the Series in Madrid, and Russia Vladimir Turbayevskiy (5th).
The next event for the men will be next weekend in London for round 5 of the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series. The Elite women will race tomorrow (Sunday, 18 July) in Hamburg, starting at 3:15 local time. Live coverage from tomorrow’s race and next weekend’s races in London will be available at triathlon.org/tv.