Spain's Javier Gomez continued his unbeaten record in Auckland on Saturday, claiming victory in the opening round of the ITU World Triathlon Series ahead of fellow countryman Mario Mola (ESP) and Joao Silva (POR).
?Gomez maintains his unbeaten record in New Zealand with four wins over the past decade, a 2008 World Cup in New Plymouth, 2003 Under23 World Championship in Queenstown and series Grand Final in Auckland last year. He has added another title today, after opening his season with a win at the ITU World Cup in Mooloolaba just three weeks ago.
"It's pretty amazing to win here again, fourth race in New Zealand," Gomez said.
"It was a pretty good day, I had a good swim and was solid on the bike then my team mate Mario, made me run really fast and so happy for him making his first podium."
Auckland turned on perfect conditions to kick start the 2013 ITU World Triathlon Series, the water temperature measured 20.7 degrees with the air temperature a moderate 21 degrees.
Gomez showed what a class athlete and smart racer he is with a calculated win after emerging from the 1500m swim in fifth place behind Richard Varga (SVK), Ivan Vasiliev (RUS), Igor Polyanskiy (RUS) and Aaron Royle (AUS) with the remainder of the field out in quick succession.
Gomez worked hard in the early stages of the bike leg over the tough 8-lap course to ensure he stayed out of trouble and ensure the group remained effective and away from the chase group that was headed by Jan Frodeno (GER) who had been having trouble with a hip injury prior to the race in the early stages. However, it was Mola who then took charge of the chase group to close the gap on the leaders and the two became one in the final stages.
A small breakaway heading back to transition by Stuart Hayes (GBR) and Ryan Bailie (AUS) gave them a slight buffer as they headed out onto the run but the Spanish didn't take long to respond with Gomez and Mola spearheading the charge. Tony Dodds (NZL) and Joao Silva (POR) joined the pair for the initial laps, Silva was the first casualty from the group then Dodds.
It was then the Spanish duo left to fight it out. On the final lap Gomez stepped it up another gear to tearaway from Mola and claim his fourth consecutive victory. Mola was delighted to claim his first podium and finish second to his idol Gomez. Silva dug deep to claim the bronze in a thrilling race, holding off Laurent Vidal (FRA), in front of a vocal crowd.
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Image: Delly Carr/ITU