World Champion shows his class in Sydney
10 April 2011
World champion Javier Gomez has mastered horrible conditions to take out the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship in Sydney.
The two-time world champion Spaniard overcame a nasty fall on the bike leg to power away in the final stages of the run leg to post a comfortable victory over Great Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee in a time of 1:50.22, with Swiss star Sven Riederer taking the final place on the podium.
In great news for the local contingent, Australian Brendan Sexton claimed fourth position to signal his arrival amongst the world’s elite.
Sexton performed admirably in the run leg to latch on to the breakaway pack of three, but Gomez was biding his time before racing to what was a comfortable victory.
If the women’s event began in picture perfect Sydney conditions, the men’s event was the complete opposite, with heavy rain falling throughout the entire race.
The bike leg in particular became a case of staying upright rather than charging through the field, as rider after rider came to grief in the treacherous conditions.
While it made racing incredibly difficult for the elite performers, those spectators who braved the heavy rain were greeted to some spectacular, if not very painful crashes that even extended to the run leg.
That leg provided a bitter-sweet moment for second placed Brownlee who watched his brother Alistair slip and crash to the bitumen while at the front of the lead group in the run. Casting aside the anguish of seeing his brother not only out of contention but clearly injured as well, Jonathan did a remarkable job to regain his composure to finish second.
Despite his gallant attempt, Alistair could not regain his place in the lead group and faded to finish 29th.
Sexton, the popular Australian was over the moon with his performance and agreed this result could be a turning point.
“I’m pretty amazed with what I did out there. Gomez was amazing, he’s a freak, but I’m just over the moon,” he said.
“I’ve taken a big step and in the company I was in that was just incredible for me. Today has given me more than I could do in any training session, and it’s a bigger step psychologically than physically.
Despite his career high, Sexton isn’t satisfied and wants to go one, and eventually more steps better.
“You’ve always got to keep aiming and this was three places from the top so I’m always going to keep moving,” Sexton said.
Fellow Australian Courtney Atkinson finished 13th while Brad Kahlefeldt did not complete the course after retiring after the bike leg.
Even though the eventual winning margin was a comfortable seven seconds, Gomez had such a bad tumble while on the bike he thought he’d have to retire from the race.
“My hips were a bit sore and I had to push through two laps by myself but when I got to the run leg I realised I was running faster than the leaders so I just kept going until I caught them,” he said.
Gomez believes the conditions faced in Sydney were some of the toughest he had encountered, making his victory even more special.
“It was not too cold but it was really very slippery, and I had the wrong tyres on my bike so I nearly crashed many times. It was quite hard and dangerous,” he added.
And in an ominous warning to those nipping at his heels, the Spanish superstar believes he will only get better as the year progresses.
“Today showed me that I am fitter than what I thought coming in. I felt I should give up after the crash, the pack was a bit far ahead but then I realized I was very strong.
“It was a strong field so to win here is very special,” he said.
The next round of the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU Championship race is in Japan on 8 May.