Olympic bronze medalist Jonathan Brownlee of Great Britain was impressive in his first race since the 2012 London Olympics, taking the win at today’s ITU World Triathlon Series race in Stockholm. Olympic silver medalist Javier Gomez of Spain earned second, with Vincent Luis of France taking third. The sprint-distance event was the sixth event of the series.
Read the race recap from ITU below
Brownlee excelled at the sprint distance yet again, speeding ahead of the men’s field to take gold in a time of 54 minutes, 24 seconds ahead of his Spanish rival Gomez.
It was also enough for Brownlee to overtake the overall ITU World Triathlon Series rankings lead, putting him in the driver’s seat for the overall ITU World Championship title, with just Yokohama and the Grand Final in Auckland to come. But he wasn’t always confident before the race, especially given the limited preparation after London.
“I was confident on this distance, I know I do quite well at the sprint, it wasn’t that long ago I was a junior,” said Brownlee. “But I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel as I usually like going into races really prepared, so usually when I go into a race I’ve been thinking about it for months before but this one I didn’t, so I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel.”
“The swim was hard and rough and the bike, there was no easy part the whole way round was tough. Then on the run, Javier is normally in the front pack but he had a bit of a mucky start, and it was a bit of a rough swim, and then I’m not used to being chased by Javier, he normally starts next to me and it’s hard work getting chased from behind. I knew with about a kilometer left that I had him as I had a little bit left, I thought I could outsprint him up the hill, although I wasn’t really sure.”
The fast and furious race in Stockholm started with a wetsuit swim, and just like he did in London, Slovakia’s Richard Varga was first out of the water with an 8:52 split. In the first lap, a 13-man lead pack came together including Varga, Brownlee, Luis, Alexander Bryukhankov, Alessandro Fabian, Tony Moulai, Anthony Pujades and Fernando Alarza. Gomez started the bike just behind, in a small chase group that exited T1 about 30 seconds down on the leaders. But together with Kris Gemmell, Dan Wilson, Matt Chrabot and Sven Riederer they managed to cut the gap on each lap and enter T2 on the heels of the leaders.
From there, Brownlee went flying off the front. While Bryukhankov looked like he might catch him for a while, but then Gomez emerged as the major threat in the second lap. But he just didn’t quite have enough speed to make up for the 15 second deficit he had coming out of T2, even though Gomez’s run split was six seconds faster.
Behind him, Luis said that a strategy to slow himself heading out of T2 paid off. The 2012 Olympian and 2008 ITU Junior World Champion said he aimed to start the run at his own pace, and then ran himself past the rest of the contenders and into his first ITU World Triathlon Series medal. Spain’s Alarza capatilized on a strong all round race to finish fourth, his best World Triathlon Series result, while Bryukhankov’s fifth place finish was enough to see him hold onto second place in the overall rankings.
ITU World Triathlon Series Stockholm
Aug. 25, 2012 – Stockholm, Sweden
750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run
1. Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) 54:24
2. Javier Gomez (ESP) +00:07
3. Vincent Luis (FRA) +00:11
4. Fernando Alarza (ESP) +00:12
5. Alexander Bryukhankov (RUS) +00:17