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Bevan Docherty from New Zealand outsprinted Australia’s Brad Kahlefeldt to win the opening leg of the Dextro Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship Series as they crossed the line together in 1:50:25. A photo finish awarded victory to the Kiwi in the US$150,000 event held in the Korean city of Tongyeong and places him at the top of the Dextro Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship rankings.
The two lap 1500m swim was led out by Korea’s Chang Yon Lee which sent the Tongyeong crowd into a frenzy. Hot on his heels was France’s three time European champion Frederic Belaubre and Australia’s Courtney Atkinson who was given a 15 second time penalty in transition for a false start.
On the 40km cycle a large front pack of 50 athletes formed until Mark Fretta from the USA and Belaubre managed to escape up the road, carving out an ever increasing lead as they pushed on. The duo managed to open up a one minute advantage over the main pack coming into second transition following 30km of hard graft. On the final cycle lap a Russian pairing of Dmitry Polyansky and Alexander Brukhankov also managed to open a gap of 30 seconds taking them clear of the chasers which included Canada’s double Olympic medallist Simon Whitfield and 2008 Tongyeong ITU World Cup winner Tim Don from Great Britain.
Once on the run the Russians quickly caught Belaubre as Kahlefeldt, Beijing Olympic Games bronze medallist Docherty, and his compatriot Kris Gemmell set about reducing the gap to the leaders. Polyansky managed to break Brukhankov but was caught by the chasers lead by renowned runner Jarrod Shoemaker from the USA as the athletes hit half distance on the 10km run.
Despite being caught Polyansky refused to be dropped as a surging Kahlefeldt first shelled Shoemaker, and later Gemmell from the lead pack. The Russian eventually succumbed to the brutal pace in the final 500m as the Aussie and Kiwi broke clear to fight it out in the home straight.
Kahlefeldt stole the early yards but Docherty responded and sprinted past. The Australian kicked again and overhauled the Kiwi but then slipped some ten metres from the line, losing momentum and allowing Docherty’s last ditch effort to gain the extra inch that he needed to win.
Kahlefeldt appealed against the verdict to award Docherty the race victory but the decision was upheld after a review of the photo finish.
“It’s all a blur, when it comes down to those sort of situations,” admitted Docherty. “It’s just mind over body. I couldn’t really feel my legs but they wanted to go forward. Brad got a bit of a lead on me and I came back and inched in front and we both just went for the line. It was a case of just cross your fingers and go for it!”
“Deep down I know I have a pretty good sprint. That was my game plan going into the Olympic Games but unfortunately it didn’t quite go my way. This time it paid off but that Olympic gold medal is going to haunt me and until I achieve that I’m not going to stop.”
I was more than happy with my result, but of course I wanted to win,” said Kahlefeldt. “I felt really good out there and kept trying to push the pace through the twisty and windy sections on the run but I was waiting for Bevan to come around me. In the home straight he got past, then I came over the top of him, then he came back in front and I just gave it 100 percent. I’ve been in these situations before when it’s oh so close, and I knew I just had to give it everything in such a big race.”
Tongyeong Dextro Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship
1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run
Elite Men – Official Results
Gold – Bevan Docherty (NZL) 1:50:25
Silver – Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS) 1:50:25
Bronze – Dmitry Polyansky (RUS) 1:50:30 +0:05
4th – Kris Gemmell (NZL) 1:50:40 +0:15
5th – Steffen Justus (GER) 1:50:43 +0:18
6th – Jarrod Shoemaker (USA) 1:50:47 +0:22
7th – Alexander Brukhankov (RUS) 1:50:47 +0:22
8th – Laurent Vidal (FRA) 2:04:25 1:50:47 +0:22
9th – Tim Don (GBR) 1:51:01 +0:36
10th – Courtney Atkinson (AUS) 1:51:06 +0:41
Dextro Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship Standings
After Race One of Eight
1. Bevan Docherty (NZL) 800pts
2. Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS) 740pts
3. Dmitry Polyansky (RUS) 685pts
4. Kris Gemmell (NZL) 633pts
5. Steffen Justus (GER) 586pts