Germany continued their run of triathlon success as Franz Löschke stormed to the men’s under 23 title at the 2009 ITU Triathlon World Championships on Australia’s Gold Coast ahead of home favourite James Seear and Portugal’s Joao Pereira. Crossing the line in 01:46:19 the German registered the biggest win of his short career as he looks to follow in the footsteps of Olympic champion Jan Frodeno.
Stepping up in his first year out of the junior ranks, Löschke was an unexpected force at the front of the race, although things didn’t go his way from the outset. Having missed the front pack, the German was forced to ride up to the leaders along with Seear, the pair driving the chase pack into contention. Early leaders Denis Vasiliev from Russia and Australia’s Josh Amberger were forced into a running race, unable to escape on the bike.
Once on the run the triathletes quickly began to string out across the course, although a core pack of four including the three medallists and New Zealand’s Tony Dodds were left to battle it out for the win. Further behind Jonathan Zipf from Germany ran through from the chase pack to take fifth, finishing an agonising nine seconds away from the medal positions.
On the final lap Löschke made his move on an incline to nudge ahead of Seear who tried to respond; however the youngster was able to get far enough ahead to prevent a sprint finish, crossing the line with the German flag held aloft. Seear was delighted to take second in front of an ecstatic crowd with Pereira out sprinting Dodds for the bronze.
"It was a very fast race, but very good," said Löschke. "Everything just came together, a great swim, a good bike and then an amazing run. With so many role models, like Jan Frodeno, Daniel Unger and Maik Petzold, it’s a great time to be a German, and hopefully I can become as successful as them."
"The crowd was unbelievable, the support was just fantastic, and I really needed it as I didn’t have the greatest of swims and had to catch up on the bike," said Seear. "I was lucky that the guys with me worked a bit and we managed to do enough to hold off the chasers. On the run I tried to test the guys a bit and put in a few attacks, but stayed patient and came through at the end. I would have loved to have taken the gold in my home town, but silver is unbelievable."
"It was a very quick run and everyone was changing the pace and the rhythm," explained Pereira. "This summer I trained really hard and very consistently and I had the hope that everything would come together on the day, and it did. I have to thank the Portuguese Federation coaches and my training partners for helping me make this possible."
2009 Gold Coast U23 ITU Triathlon World Championship Results
1.5km swim, 40km cycle, 10km run.
1. Franz Löschke, GER. 01:46:19
2. James Seear, AUS. 01:46:25 +0:06
3. Joao Pereira, POR. 01:46:32 +0:13
4. Tony Dodds, NZL. 01:46:39 +0:20
5. Jonathan Zipf, GER. 01:46:41 +0:22