A plan to go all out in the run carried Richard Murray to his first ITU World Triathlon Series win in spectacular style.
The South African blew away everyone except Javier Gomez and then outsprinted him in the final few hundred metres in Hamburg on Saturday. Germany's Steffen Justus excited the home crowds, taking bronze in a furiously fast race in Hamburg.
The new sprint format in Hamburg promised a fast race, but it was even faster than predicted when the men hammered out an 8:32 swim. Gomez was first out of the 750m swim, with Maik Petzold and Richard Varga just beside him, but they were quickly followed by most of the field into T1. From there a small group of nine managed to pull away, led by Gomez, Petzold, Varga, Christian Prochnow, Courtney Atkinson and Aurelien Raphael, as behind them the field formed into three distinct chase packs, two close behind and a third one minute down after the first lap.
Within the second lap, the first chase had merged with the leaders, but Atkinson, Clark Ellice and Dan Wilson then went off the front and managed to stay away, until the fourth and final lap when Reinaldo Colucci bridged up to join them. Those four then left T2 with a 24-second lead on the rest of the field, and Colucci powered to the lead straight away on the run. But Murray, Gomez and Justus immediately cut into the gap, and midway through the first lap they had overtaken all four. From there it was clear it was going to come down to Gomez and Murray, who had an incredible battle with multiple lead changes, bringing the crowd to its feet.
After going toe to toe at the front for the final lap of the 5km run, Gomez initially tried to make a move but couldn't shake the red-hot Murray, who stayed on his heels and then rocketed to the front down the finishing chute to claim his first series win. Murray said his plan to put the hammer down from the start paid off, as he recorded an incredible 14:05 run split for the Hamburg course.
Images: Janos Schmidt/ITU