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Samuels and Polyanskiy get gold at Tongyeong

Samuels goes wire-to-wire, Polyanskiy repeats as champion.

New Zealand Olympian Nicky Samuels scored a dominating wire-to-wire victory today in Tongyeong, Korea for her second career ITU World Cup title.

Following a successful two-woman bike breakaway with Korea’s Yun-Jung Jang, Samuels held off the hard-charging Maria Czesnik (POL) and Yuka Sato (JPN) to take gold in a time of 2 hours, 1 minute and 51 seconds.

A relatively small field of about 30 women kicked off the day with a two-lap non-wetsuit swim in Tongyeong Bay.  Samuels did not waste any time asserting herself as the one to beat as she led the women out of the water.

Out onto the 5-lap 40km bike course, Samuels and Jang broke from the field and surged to the lead.  After the first lap, they built a 35-second lead, which grew to 50 seconds by the second lap.

The main chase pack pack failed to close the gap and by the time they took the bell lap Samuels and Jang owned a lead of one minute, ten seconds.  Despite stepping onto the 4-lap, 10km run course at the same time, Samuels accelerated away from Jang almost immediately.

Jang’s position near the front was short-lived and she was quickly reeled in by stronger runners like McShane and Sato.  The pair ran shoulder-to-shoulder as they attempted to close the gap to Samuels. But they would soon find opposition from Czesnik who was storming through the field and passed McShane and Sato in the final lap.

As she approached the finish chute and stepped on the blue carpet, Samuels looked behind and knew victory was hers, triumphantly raising the finish tape for her second career World Cup victory.

“I wanted to have a strong swim, be strong to that first buoy, so once I got there I just set my race up from there really,” said Samuels after the race.  “The race plan never really goes to plan, but I wanted to go on the bike and bring one other with me and it happened from the start, so it was playing out perfectly and a good enough time on the run, I knew I could hang in there.”

Czesnik gained a lot of ground in the final lap to finish strong for silver, her second straight World Cup podium this month after taking silver in Guatape two weeks ago. Japan’s rising star Sato crossed the line three seconds behind Czesnik to claim bronze and earn her first trip to a World Cup podium.

Best for the home country Korea was Jang in tenth place, despite being near the front for the entire swim and bike.

2012 Tongyeong ITU Triathlon World Cup

1.3km swim, 40km bike, 10km run

Final results – Elite Women

1. Nicky Samuels NZL NZ 02:01:51
2. Maria Czesnik POL PL 02:02:00
3. Yuka Sato JPN JP 02:02:03
4. Charlotte McShane AUS AU 02:02:29
5. Natalie Van Coevorden AUS AU 02:03:11
6. Charlotte Morel FRA FR 02:03:37
7. Rebecca Kingsford NZL NZ 02:03:40
8. Anna Burova RUS RU 02:04:11
9. Ashlee Bailie AUS AU 02:04:20
10. Yun-Jung Jang KOR KR 02:04:52

Full results

Elite Men’s Review

Russia’s Dmitry Polyanskiy claimed his second Tongyeong World Cup title in a row finishing ahead of Poland’s Marek Jaskolka. Polyanskiy was joined on the podium by younger brother Igor Polyanskiy who took his first ITU World Cup medal with bronze.

The Polyanskiy brothers worked together on the swim and bike to set each other up for the run. Within the first lap, Dmitry dropped his challengers and never looked back all the way to the finish line.

“I’m very happy, I have the victory again. It’s a very good swimming course here, fast water and Raoul had the best swim today. The bike course is a little hilly so for me it’s very good too,” said Dmitry. “Today I think I showed a good performance and I feel rested after the Olympic Games. I think I will be ready next week in Yokohama.”

A gutsy performance by Jaskolka placed him among the leaders throughout, but it was his final push on the run that secured him silver. Igor established his third place early in the run and held on for bronze 40 seconds behind older brother Dmitry.

The men dove into Tongyeong Bay mid-morning for a non-wetsuit swim in 22 degree waters. France’s Raoul Shaw was the strongest swimmer of the day, leading the field around the course. The Polyanskiy brothers tucked in behind Shaw along with Benjamin Shaw and the group of four entered T1 with the edge over the field.

By the second bike lap the slight advantage had disappeared as a large pack of 16 riders had formed including Korea’s Ju Seok Kim, Akos Vanek (HUN), and Australians Ryan Fisher, Kenji Nener, Ryan Bailie, Drew Box and Taylor Cecil.

The leaders gained even more time on the chasers all the way to the bell lap when a breakaway attempt was made by Fisher who steamed through the transition area. Bryce McMaster and Ju Seok Kim took the bait and went after Fisher, but the effort was short lived when the main group reformed to enter T2.

Dmitry appeared strong throughout the four lap run before cruising over the finish line for gold in a time of 1:48:39. Jaskolka celebrated his silver down the finish shoot for his second World Cup medal.

Igor Polyanskiy claims his first World Cup medal and is proving that he has become a close competitor for Dmitry, while at the same time working together.

Poland’s Sylwester Kuster just missed out on the medals in fourth, while Korea’s Ji Hwan Kim had a great race to please the home crowds to finish in fifth.

2012 Tongyeong ITU Triathlon World Cup

1.3km swim, 40km bike, 10km run

Final results – Elite Men

1. Dmitry Polyanskiy RUS RU 01:48:39
2. Marek Jaskolka POL PL 01:49:06
3. Igor Polyanskiy RUS RU 01:49:22
4. Sylwester Kuster POL PL 01:49:40
5. Ji Hwan Kim KOR KR 01:49:51
6. Akos Vanek HUN HU 01:49:54
7. Ryan Fisher AUS AU 01:49:59
8. Ryan Bailie AUS AU 01:50:06
9. Raoul SHAW FRA FR 01:50:21
10. Drew Box AUS AU 01:50:25

Full results