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Australia’s Brad Kahlefeldt, who has had a disappointing season so far this year, had a breakthrough race at the ITU’s Dextro Energy World Championship Series race in Hamburg today, winning in a sprint finish over Great Britain’s Will Clarke and France’s David Hauss.
“I thought I’d just go for it in that last K and see what happens,” Kahlefeldt told an ITU reporter. “…I’m very happy.”
But perhaps the biggest breakthrough of the day went to Clarke, who is attempting to make Great Britain’s Olympic team, probably the most difficult team to qualify for in the world. His finish put him second in the overall series rankings, ahead of both Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee.
“I’m absolutely over the moon. I don’t know what to say. I’ve been dreaming about this for so long,” Clarke told an ITU reporter.
Australia’s Chris McCormack, who had a 15-second penalty and did a load of work on the bike, finished in a respectable 26th, greatly bettering his DNF in Kitzbühel, where he couldn’t keep up with the swim pack and started the bike in nearly last place.
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The day started off with Richard Varga of Slovakia swimming a blistering 16:50 1.5K, with reigning world champion Javier Gomez of Spain 13 seconds behind him and reigning Olympic champion Jan Frodeno 13 seconds off Gomez, leading the main pack of swimmers.
With Varga out front, Gomez, Frodeno and two other athletes attempted a breakaway. But they were quickly joined by a group of about 15.
McCormack, who had a good swim for him, led the chase pack early on in the race. It was about 30 seconds down on the group Gomez was riding with.
McCormack’s efforts helped the chase pack catch the lead group about a third of the way into the bike.
PHOTOS: Chris “Macca” McCormack
With only a few kilometers left in the bike leg, Frodeno had a mechanical issue with his bike. Although he started the run about 2 minutes down on the lead pack, he decided to run the 10K anyway, rousing the crowd with every lap.
With about 5K to go, Gomez, Kahlefeldt, Joao Silva of Portugal, Clarke, Hauss and Sebastian Rank of Germany separated themselves from the rest of the group.
Gomez, who typically surges at this point of the race and puts in a blistering few kilometers, never made a move, and with about a K to go Kahlefeldt, Hauss and Clarke surged, and Gomez, Silva and Rank couldn’t answer.
The Australian, Frenchman and Brit ran with each other until about 300 meters to go, when Kahlefeldt started his sprint and separated himself from the Clarke and Hauss.
Gomez, who finished sixth, took over the World Championship Series lead, but he was disappointed with his overall result.
“I’m not really happy, but I’ll just think of the next one,” Gomez told an ITU reporter, also remarking he felt bad on the run and couldn’t find his second gear.
American Jarrod Shoemaker finished a disappointing 47th.
1. BRAD KAHLEFELDT AUS 01:44:08
2. WILLIAM CLARKE GBR +00:01
3. DAVID HAUSS FRA +00:01
4. SEBASTIAN RANK GER +00:04
5. JOAO SILVA POR +00:08
6. JAVIER GOMEZ ESP +00:11
7. TIM DON GBR +00:25
8. RETO HUG SUI +00:27
9. JONATHAN ZIPF GER +00:36
10. SVEN RIEDERER SUI +00:48
26. CHRIS MCCORMACK AUS +02:05
47. JARROD SHOEMAKER USA +05:24
Overall series leaders
1. Javier Gomez ESP 2027
2. William Clarke GBR 1935
3. David Hauss FRA 1907
4. Sven Riederer SUI 1857
5. Alexander Brukhankov RUS 1819
6. Dmitry Polyansky RUS 1814
7. Alistair Brownlee GBR 1690
8. Jonathan Brownlee GBR 1480
9. Brad Kahlefeldt AUS 1386
10. Joao Silva POR 1155