For the second weekend in a row, Spain’s Javier Gomez stood atop the podium at the Dextro Energy Triathlon World Championship Series, winning the fifth event of the tour in London after a hard-fought duel with a pair of Brits named Brownlee. Jonathan Brownlee, the younger brother of reigning world champion Alistair, finished a surprising second, as his older brother appeared on the verge of passing out at the finish, crossing the line in tenth place. Germany’s Jan Frodeno claimed the final spot on the podium and added to his lead in the ITU World Championship Rankings. With the win Gomez now sits second in the rankings after finishing the day with an amazing 29:30 10K run split.
“I think this weekend I felt even better than last weekend,” Gomez said. “I felt like I was flying today. It was very hard to race the Brownlees today. They pushed it very hard from the beginning of the run. On the final lap I just pushed it as hard as I could and I was able to get away.”
Sixty-five men took to the Serpentine Lake to kick off the race, as the midday temperatures neared 27 degrees (Celsius). American Ben Collins surged to the front after the first 500 metres and led the group around the first turn, before Alistair Brownlee took over lead heading into the quick pontoon run to start lap two. Even though Brownlee lost his goggles early on the second lap, he remained at the front with Germany’s Maik Petzold and France’s Frederic Belaubre on his heels.
Out of transition, the older Brownlee was joined by a number of the race favorites, including Gomez, Frodeno and Russias Alexander Brukhankov, as a group of 27 athletes formed at the front. After the second of eight laps, the lead bunch had a 36-second advantage on the chase pack, which included Brit Tim Don and American Jarrod Shoemaker.
The chasers were able to close the gap on lap four, forming a lead pack of over 40 riders. Alistair Brownlee attempted a break as soon as the two groups came together, but was quickly reeled back in. The next break attempt was made by fellow Brit Stuart Hayes, who was able to get away and was eventually joined by Spaniard Ivan Rana and Brazil’s Reinaldo Colucci. Heading into the final lap of the ride, the lead trio had built an advantage of 34 seconds over the field, as the peloton cut back to pace to save energy for the run.
“I knew I was running well, so I tried to hold back and save something for the run,” Gomez said. “At that point I was just looking to position myself well out of the second transition.”
The lead group of three was joined by Bruno Pais (POR), Clarke Ellice (NZL), Belaubre (FRA) and Erhard Wolfhaardt (RSA) on the final lap, as the new lead group of seven riders built an advantage of almost 50 seconds on the chasers by the start of the run. The Brownlee brothers, Frodeno and Gomez took up the charge of chasing down the leaders at the start of the run, catching everyone up the road by the end of lap one of three.
As with the women’s race yesterday, four men ran at the front from the start of lap two to decide the three medals. Heading into the final lap, the Brownlees and Gomez were able to drop Frodeno, and it appeared the podium was set. With only a kilometre left to run, Gomez surged, pulling away from the pair of Brits, as Alistair appeared to be in a world of hurt. With only 400 metres left to run, Alistair slowed to a pedestrian pace and appeared to be on the verge of passing out. Gomez strode toward the finish in first, with the younger Brownlee running in second.
As was the case in Hamburg last weekend, Gomez was the first to break the tape, finishing in 1:42:08, with Jonathan Brownlee finishing second six seconds later.
“I was just trying to hang onto the front guys for one lap, but I kept feeling better and better,” Jonathan Brownlee said. “I didn’t think I should be there, but I was able to hang on and just gave it everything I had at the finish.”
Frodeno, who appeared out of contention for a medal on the final lap, hung on to finish third, crossing the line 16 seconds after Jonathan Brownlee.
“To be honest I really wasn’t feeling fantastic on the run,” Frodeno said. “Mentally it was a big fight for me today. I was just really happy to be able to hang with Javier and the two Brownlees today. They made it really tough.”
Alistair Brownlee was reduced to a painful walk for the final 50 metres, crossing the line in 10th before being rushed off to the medical tent.
Brukhankov pulled himself up to fourth at the finish and is now third in the World Rankings behind Frodeno and Gomez. Spanish youngster Mario Mola rounded out the top five.
The men will now have a three-week rest before heading to Kitzbühel, Austria for the penultimate stage of the Series on August 14-15.
Elite Men Results
1. Javier Gomez (ESP) 1:42:08
2. Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) 1:42:14
3. Jan Frodeno (GER) 1:42:30
4. Alexander Brukhankov (RUS) 1:42:44
5. Mario Mola (ESP) 1:42:54
6. Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS) 1:42:57
7. Jarrod Shoemaker (USA) 1:42:59
8. Stuart Hayes (GBR) 1:43:04
9. Steffen Justus (GER) 1:43:05
10. Alistair Brownlee (GBR) 1:43:08
14. Simon Whitfield (CAN) 1:43:24
31. Kyle Jones (CAN) 1:44:23
56. Jordan Bryden (CAN) 1:51:28