ITU World Triathlon Hamburg Sissons grabs third
Mola earns first-ever repeat WTS Hamburg win
Becoming the first man to ever repeat a win at the venue, Spaniard Mario Mola captured his fifth career sprint distance victory at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Hamburg.
Kiwi triathlete Ryan Sissons celebrated success in Hamburg "Amazing day in Hamburg for my first WTS podium with 3rd".. more below
Photo - ITU Janos M Schmidt
Surviving and conquering a mass pack that lasted throughout the race, Mola earned his win on the run, where he eased on by his competition on the five-kilometre course. The win not only put Mola in a tied position for most sprint distance victories in a career (with Jonathan Brownlee), but also pushed him to the position of most WTS sprint distance podiums in ITU history with eight.
Mola said of his performance, “It might be, I feel really good today. Since the beginning of the race I think I swam pretty good, was able to stay quite close to the front in order to avoid possible crashes, I just heard that Fernando (Alarza) crashed so I hope he is okay, but then I felt really good on the run so I haven’t seen any times yet but I am very happy with the result.”
“I am very happy when I am able to do a good swim and perform well. It does not always happen, unless you are one of those five or six guys you are going to be in a fight, but today I ended up successfully out of the fight and I am pleased with that.”
For the second year in a row, the silver medal went to Aussie Jacob Birtwhistle, who similar to 2016 put forth a last second effort in the final metres to bypass the competition and get the second place. The bronze medal then went to Kiwi Ryan Sissons, who earned his first WTS podium of his career. With the silver and bronze going to Birtwhistle and Sissons, it became the first time that two elites from Oceania were on the WTS podium together since 2010.
“I don’t know really, but I always seem to have that little something there I guess from my history as a runner before I made that switch to triathlon. I would rather not put myself in that position to not have to chase like that in the last 500 metres, but when it comes to days like today I am glad that it is there,” Birtwhistle said. “I love Hamburg, it is hands down my favourite race on the circuit. The fans are awesome, the crowds are awesome. Thankfully I have managed to have a couple of good races here as well, so really I am happy to be back and I hope it continues.”
As one of the longest-standing races on the WTS circuit, Hamburg is always an electric and thrilling race for fans and athletes. With thousands of people lining the streets to cheer on the elites, the men’s start list was stock full of talent looking to perform in front of the alive crowd.
Diving into the water for the short swim, the field did not have the distance to spread out. While Aussie Matt Hauser exited the waters first in only his second ever WTS race, he was not alone. The busy first transition followed out into the bike course and the pack reached well over 30 men, including all the top names.
Unfortunately the tightly-packed bunch had its effects and a bike crash occurred early in the first lap that forced the number one ranked Fernado Alarza (ESP) to pull out of the race.
The remainder of the bike leg was pretty consistent without much change. The large pack did not separate and as busy as the first transition was, the second was just as occupied.
That meant that the podium would be left to the run.
Right out of the gate a group of five men bunched up with Mola, Birtwhistle, Sissons, Javier Gomez Noya (ESP) and Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) getting the early advantage.
It was just a matter of moments however that Mola broke ahead and he never slowed down once. His push was enough to get the distance that he needed to head into the finish line without any pressure from the field behind him. He collected the Hamburg gold medal for the second consecutive year in a row.
The silver and bronze medal contenders changed multiple times. While Gomez had a small breakaway that put him into the second-place position, Sissons then caught up to him and for a while it looked like he would take the silver.
All the while, Richard Murray (RSA) who was left towards the back of the bike pack after the swim, came blowing by athlete after athlete and at one point was in fourth place.
It wasn’t until the final 500 metres that out of the woodwork Birtwhistle came blasting by and headed into the finish chute to claim the silver. Sissons followed shortly after to get the bronze, a historic medal for the Kiwi.
“I could not be happier really, this is one of my favourite races and I have always wanted to get on the podium. I just felt good today, I put myself in a good position the whole time and just believed in myself and have had a pretty good season so far, so my confidence is growing. I am just so happy, I can’t believe it,” said Sissons.
Flora Duffy Collects First-Career WTS Sprint Distance Win in Hamburg
It is hard to believe that Flora Duffy (BER) had to miss the first two races of the World Triathlon Series due to injury as she continues to be unstoppable after earning her third straight victory of the season at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Hamburg.
Collecting her first-ever sprint distance win, Duffy executed a breakaway performance that brought her into the finish line without a challenger in sight to earn her fifth WTS victory in her career.
Duffy said, “I really actually can’t believe it. Coming into the third race I felt a lot of pressure, especially it being a sprint and in Hamburg, I have not raced here in years. So, I just really had to go for it, I tried to race fast from start to finish and I had to make the most on the bike because I knew that my run pace speed was not at the same level as some of the top runners are, so I just took a chance and luckily it worked out.”
“I came out of the swim a little further back than I wanted to so I just really hammered the first part of the bike and I knew the chute was quite technical so I knew if I just hammered that into transition I would be ok. We were able to breakaway three of us, we were working ok, I was getting a little frustrated though so I thought I would attack and go solo and that ultimately made the race for me.”
The silver medal went to Aussie Ashleigh Gentle, who picked up the fastest run split time of the day (16:10) after the swim put her in a position where she needed to come from behind to get in the podium mix. The podium was finished then by Germany’s own Laura Lindemann who at a sprint finish on the blue carpet earned her a first-time WTS medal in front of a home crowd.
Gentle said of her race, “I actually had a good start at the dive in, but to be honest I got squished from either side and got dunked for a little bit, it was quite horrific to be honest. So I just got onto my bike and did the best I could. There has been plenty of races where I have been in that situation, but I have been able to salvage a good result so there is no reason you should quit after the swim you still have two legs to go. This is triathlon, so I just tried to race as hard as I could and thankfully it paid off and I was able to come away with second.”
Lining up for the fifth WTS race of the 2017 season, Hamburg always welcomes the elite athletes with thousands of fans filling the streets. With just cool enough weather for a wetsuit swim, the women dove from a pontoon for a short 750-metre lap. Finishing through a 40-metre long tunnel, Vittoria Lopes (BRA) exited the water first and led a long train of women behind her into the first transition.
Duffy was 11 seconds back out of the swim, but she managed to have a swift T1 and get near the front on the bike. Then continuing in the first lap, she teamed up with USA’s Kirsten Kasper and Great Britain’s Jessica Learmonth to breakaway as a trio.
From there the three women pedaled hard and created a gap that continued to spread wider after each lap, eventually reach about half a minute over the chase.
However, the large chase pack did not back down. With a lot of talent included in the group, many women pushed hard to make sure they had a chance to kick in gear on the run.
It was in the final five kilometres that Duffy once again proved her World Champion capabilities as she burst away from Kasper and Learmonth and decided to finish the bike leg alone. Upon entering the second transition, she had edged out a 25-second lead over her cycle-mates, who then were an additional 20 seconds ahead of the chase, so Duffy had a margin over 40 seconds over the majority of the field.
She then was left to ease up on her run. Knowing that she had the gold in the bag, Duffy completed the five-kilometre course solo and without pressure in order to stride into the finish chute and claim her third consecutive WTS win of the season, keeping her goal of claiming the World Title still in sights.
Gentle then was seen on the run having the performance of the day. After being near the back after the swim, she had to push it through the next two legs in order to have a shot. But Gentle is a top runner and once she got her feet on the pavement, her strength catapulted her through the competition and easily into second place. It was her second silver medal of the season.
The true battle came for the bronze medal. While at first a group of three women that included Lindemann, Jolanda Annen (SUI) and Andrea Hewitt (NZL) looked to be in the mix, USA’s Katie Zaferes pushed herself in the running.
At the final moments it then was a battle between Zaferes and Lindemann. Maybe it was the huge applause from the local crowd that gave her the last effort, but ultimately it was Lindemann who had the better sprint at the tape and finished third, giving her a first-time WTS podium place.
Lindemann said,”I am so happy about the podium today. It is so much more with the WTS than in junior races and here with the home crowd, it is so wonderful. It was so loud and I was just pushing as hard as I could, I was so amazed with the crowd!”
Another strong performance on the day was for Aussie Charlotte McShane, who with an eighth place finish qualified her for a spot on the 2018 Commonwealth Games team.
2017 ITU World Triathlon Hamburg - Men's Results
Results: Elite Men
1. Mario Mola ESPESP Flag 00:54:08
2. Jacob Birtwhistle AUSAUS Flag 00:54:20
3. Ryan Sissons NZLNZL Flag 00:54:23
4. Vincent Luis FRAFRA Flag 00:54:26
5. Javier Gomez Noya ESPESP Flag 00:54:28
6. Dorian Coninx FRAFRA Flag 00:54:29
7. Richard Murray RSARSA Flag 00:54:31
8. Léo Bergere FRAFRA Flag 00:54:36
9. Kristian Blummenfelt NORNOR Flag 00:54:39
10. Joao Pereira PORPOR Flag 00:54:45
017 ITU World Triathlon Hamburg - Women's Results
Results: Elite Women
1. Flora Duffy BERBER Flag 00:59:00
2. Ashleigh Gentle AUSAUS Flag 00:59:31
3. Laura Lindemann GERGER Flag 00:59:41
4. Katie Zaferes USAUSA Flag 00:59:42
5. Jolanda Annen SUISUI Flag 00:59:49
6. Andrea Hewitt NZLNZL Flag 00:59:52
7. Renee Tomlin USAUSA Flag 01:00:03
8. Charlotte McShane AUSAUS Flag 01:00:05
9. Kirsten Kasper USAUSA Flag 01:00:05
10. Rachel Klamer NEDNED Flag 01:00:06