Javier Gomez labelled his performance in the opening round of the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series in Sydney as one of his best-ever, as he fought back from a bike crash to claim an impressive victory.
A downpour of rain hit the course in the second lap of the elite men’s bike and from then on it almost became a survival of the fittest, particularly when Gomez went down on the bike.
But the reigning ITU World Champion got back on, rode the last 10 kilometres by himself and then proved his class even further when he managed to catch the leading pack.
It was then whether Gomez still had the legs to drop Jonathan Brownlee, Alistair Brownlee, Sven Riederer, Brendan Sexton and David Hauss. For a time it looked like the Brownlee brothers would work together to get there, but Alistair came unstuck when he fell rounding a corner in the rain and dropped off the pace.
Jonathan Brownlee fought to match Gomez but he couldn’t as the two-time world champion broke away and finished with scintillating 30-minute, 9-second run. Brownlee ended up second, and Sven Riederer ran his way into third. But the afternoon really belonged to Gomez, and after showing his emotion with a fist-pump over the line, he said he wouldn’t forget the race easily.
"It was definitely one of the hardest ones," Gomez said. "It doesn’t happen many times that you crash and then you get up again and catch the first group again and then be the fastest runner, I’m really proud. I will always remember this race."
He also said it helped him to realise just how good his form was.
"I realised that I was fitter than I thought," he said. "I thought maybe I should give up after the crash, the time (gap) was a bit far and I wasn’t sure if I would catch them or not and the rain and I realised I was really strong today."
Overall, the British men’s team had a strong day with Jonathan Brownlee making the podium, Tim Don coming in sixth – 11 years after he competed in the Sydney Olympic Games Triathlon – and Will Clarke finishing ninth. Alistair Brownlee finished in 29th place, but if he hadn’t have fallen, the Brits may have had four men within the top ten.
Sexton backed up his impressive silver medal from Mooloolaba two weeks ago with a solid fourth place here, top for the home team.
Last year’s winner Bevan Docherty finished 18th, 2008 Olympic champion Jan Frodeno finished 45th, while 2011 Mooloolaba winner and last year’s world championship bronze medallist Brad Kahlefeldt did not finish.
Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Sydney – April 10, 2011
Final Results – Elite Men – Official
1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run
Gold – Javier Gomez (ESP) 1:50:22
Silver – Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) 1:50:29
Bronze – Sven Riederer (SUI) 1:50:34
4th – Brendan Sexton (AUS) 1:50:41
5th – David Hauss (FRA) 1:50:49
6th – Tim Don (GBR) 1:50:58
7th – Jonathan Zipf (GER) 1:51:04
8th – Joao Silva (POR) 1:51:18
9th – Will Clarke (GBR) 1:51:20
10th – Dmitry Polyansky (RUS) 1:51:27