USA's Verzbicas keeps promise to win Junior Men's World Championship for McDowell
Your video is loading. If the video fails to load please upgrade your Flash player
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.
“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.
Related Event: 2011 Dextro Energy Triathlon - ITU World Championship Grand Final Beijing
|Results: Junior Men|
Great Britain's Helen Jenkins won her second ITU World Championship, but New Zealand's Andrea Hewitt stole the show with her win in the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series Grand Final Beijing.08:30 - 11 Sep, 2011
Agnieszka Jerzyk (POL) pulled out a gutsy sprint finish amidst brutal conditions to claim Poland’s first ever world championship medal in the women’s ITU Triathlon Under23 World Championships.05:15 - 10 Sep, 2011
On cold, rainy day in Beijing, Mikayla Nielsen of New Zealand shone through, securing the biggest win of her promising career thus far – the ITU Junior Triathlon World Championship.02:59 - 10 Sep, 2011
Alistair Brownlee completed a stunning season in perfect style, winning the Beijing Grand Final and reclaiming the ITU World Championship in China. Jonathan Brownlee claimed overall silver, and Javier Gomez overall bronze.07:47 - 10 Sep, 2011
Matthew Sharp anchored a spectacular gold-silver-bronze British sweep of the medals in today’s men’s ITU Triathlon Under23 World Championships. David McNamee and Tom Bishop took silver and bronze respectively09:03 - 09 Sep, 2011