Itu Auck - Brownlee Finally Gets His Spanish Nemesis In Auckland
Jonathan Brownlee finally broke Javier Gomez’s stranglehold on the Barfoot & Thompson ITU World Triathlon, defeating the Spaniard today to move to the top of the World Series Rankings after two races.
Photos - Sportzhub
Unlike previous races between the two this time there was no sprint finish as Brownlee took control from the start of the run and never let up, winning by 15 seconds, with former world U23 champion Pierre Le Corre (FRA) earning his first WTS podium in third.
The New Zealanders enjoyed a solid outing too, with Tony Dodds running home in 10th place and Ryan Sissons coming home 12th, while Sam Osborne on debut at this level was 47th.
The race was broken open on the swim with a lead group getting away and given it included Brownlee and Gomez, few expected them to be caught. But thanks to some hard work from Ryan Bailie (AUS) in particular and Dodds, a small chase group did move up to form a lead group of 17 who then set about maximizing their margin back to the chasers that included Abu Dhabi winner Mario Mola (ESP) and Sissons amongst their number.
While the margin stayed at just over 30 seconds for a long period on the bike, the effort soon took a toll on the chasers and the lead ballooned out to over a minute by the time they transitioned to the run. Brownlee went off quickly but a poor transition cost Gomez vital seconds and in the space of 50 metres, the Spaniard was 5 seconds down and chasing, with Le Corre alongside.
That proved the difference, with Brownlee too strong as he eased away to win comfortably, high fiving down the finish chute and enjoying the moment after by his own standards a disappointing start to the season in Abu Dhabi and a rare non-podium finish.
Brownlee was delighted after beating himself up for three weeks since finishing 6th in Abu Dhabi.
“He has dominated me in this event in the past so it is nice to do that but most of all it is nice to win. After Abu Dhabi I beat myself up for three weeks because I made some terrible mistakes and I wanted to do well in this race to show the form I am in. I love this course, it is an honest course and you can make people work on the bike and when it came to the run I felt good.”
Brownlee credited a great training block in the South Island for this success.
“You are never quite sure how fit you are until you race but Queenstown was a great set up with the British team, in the past I have got it wrong with doing too many miles but this worked well, all I did for two and half weeks was train, I had everything done for me and all I had to do was swim, bike, run and sleep. I get inspiration from the surroundings and environment and the hills so that is why I went to Queenstown and thankfully it worked.”
Gomez was gracious in defeat, highlighting a sloppy second transition as the key turning point.
“I wasn’t at my best today but Jonathan was better, it was as simple as that. I was happy I had a good swim and we worked hard on the bike, but in transition I made a mistake and I was 5 or 6 seconds behind, I kept that distance for one and half laps but then he opened the gap and my battle was with Pierre for second. I dropped him on the last lap so that is okay, better than 6th place in Abu Dhabi, I am getting better and it is a long year.”
For the Kiwis both Dodds and Sissons were happy with their days work, with Dodds enjoying the fact he was able to ride comfortably in the lead group and hold his own with those around him on the run.
“That was a hard day, especially when you are feeling a little bit off, that is awesome though, especially on the bike, you are working so hard and then Brownlee attacks and then you are fighting with him and Gomez, it was awesome. I had to gain some sort of alliance with those guys because if they don’t like you in the group they are going to drop you so I did my work on the bike and made ‘friends’ with them so to speak which was awesome. I wasn’t running at my best but that was okay, awesome really.”
Sissons was pleased with his progress too, especially given the work he is currently doing on his swim, work that he says will have its pay off some months down the track.
“I am still reasonably happy, my swim is going to be a work in progress over the next 12 months and I am not expecting to be near the front but I was where I thought I needed to be in the main pack, I guess for me that is a good improvement, at the end of last season I was out the arse of every race so for me I am happy and running through the field like I did on the work I have been doing I can be pretty happy with that.
“I tried to run with Mario for the first 2k and then I decided to settle on my own pace, I got into a nice rhythm and kicked away towards the end which was perfect for me.”
For full results CLICK HERE