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Battling strong currents in the swim and wind on the bike, a group of five male elites took the lead early on in the Washington, D.C. Dextro Energy ITU World Championship and never let it go.
For Great Britain’s Alistair Brownlee, the only thing better than winning an ITU World Championship is winning two in a row. After taking first in Madrid on May 31, the 20-year-old Brit is quickly becoming one of the ITU’s rising stars and is currently ranked first in the series for the men. “We worked really well as a group out there today,” Brownlee said. “The wind meant that even in a group there wasn’t anywhere to hide and we really had to push it the whole time.”
It is often said in ITU racing that the race cannot be won in the swim, but it can be lost, and that was certainly true today. Star swimmers Andy Potts and Hunter Kemper of the U.S., Great Britain’s Brownlee, Germany’s Maik Petzold and Spain’s Javier Gomez broke free from the swim pack during the swim’s second lap amid strong currents and floating water debris from the previous day’s storms. “Getting hit in the head by logs wasn’t so great, but it was a really great swim and explosive right from the start,” said Potts. Despite strong efforts by strong cyclists like Olympic Gold medalist Jan Frodeno of Germany (who posted the fastest 10K of the day in 30 minutes and 26 seconds) and Australia’s Brad Kahlefeldt, they were never able to bridge the gap created during the swim.
Brownlee and the other four top-swimmers formed an impenetrable force on the bike and were already 32 seconds ahead of the chase pack by the time they hit Pennsylvania Avenue for the start of the eight-loop bike course. Belgium’s Peter Croes of Belgium, who led the chase pack for much of the race, was in awe of the lead-group’s unstoppable power. “Those five guys were really great,” Croes said. “We tried to organize as a group and chase them down but it just wasn’t happening.”
Potts said the deciding point in the race happened in the fourth lap of the bike, and after a blazing fast T2, the top-five guys exited out onto the run course more than a minute and a half in front of the chase group. Brownlee pulled in front early on and by the end of the first lap Brownlee, Gomez and Petzold had a 50 yard lead in front of Potts and Kemper. From there, Brownlee continued to push Gomez and Petzold harder and harder. Brownlee says he always had his eye on Gomez, who is coming back from injury. “I had to really push hard to keep Javier back,” Brownlee said. “He’s getting stronger every race, so the next one will be really tough.”
By the last half of the run course, Brownlee and Gomez had pulled away from everyone. Brownlee made his final move in the last half mile of the race to finish first in 1:48:57, 13 seconds in front of Gomez. Petzold held on for third place in 1:49:23, followed by Potts in 1:49:50 and Kemper in 1:50:23. “This was a world class field out here today,” Potts said. “I’m really happy to have been here representing the U.S.A. here in the nation’s capital.”
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Dextro Energy ITU World Championship Series
Washington, D.C.– June 21, 2009
Swim 1.5K, Bike 40K, Run 10K
1. Alistair Brownlee (GBR) 1:48:57
2. Javier Gomez (SPN) 1:49:10
3. Maik Petzold (GER) 1:49:23
4. Andy Potts (USA) 1:49:50
5. Hunter Kemper (USA) 1:50:23