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Germany’s Steffen Justus Surprises in Sydney; Russian Ivan Vasiliev Makes Gutsy Performance

Ivan Vasiliev's sixth place will go far in Russia's bid to secure three Olympic country spots.

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Germany’s Steffen Justus surprised at the Sydney leg of World Triathlon Series today by running away from the field and winning in dominating fashion.

South Africa’s Richard Murray, who comes from a duathlon background, had a career breakthrough performance by finishing second over France’s Laurent Vidal, who is coming off of a recent win at the Mooloolaba World Cup.

“For me it was phenomenal,” Justus told an ITU reporter after the race.

In Olympic qualification news, Russia’s Ivan Vasiliev put together a heroic and near career best performance by finishing sixth overall. It was a feat he accomplished by virtually time trialing the entire bike leg and entering T2 with more than a minute lead. The finish will go far in terms of securing Russia three country spots.

The Canadian team also raced well in terms of its bid to secure three country spots to London, as Kyle Jones finished 13th, Simon Whitfield finished 18th and Brent McMahon finished 20th.

In terms of individual qualification, Kiwi Kris Gemmell punched his ticket to London by finishing seventh, as Triathlon New Zealand had stated before the race that the first Kiwi across the line, provided he finished in the top eight, would automatically qualify for London.

American Jarrod Shoemaker put together a performance that was reminiscent of his 2010 form, as he finished 10th overall, bolstering his bid for Olympic selection if the U.S. men’s Olympic qualification process comes down to discretion.

The other two American men in the race, Manny Huerta and Matt Chrabot, had disappointing performances; Huerta finished 42nd and Chrabot finished 48th.

The race started off with Dmitry Polyanksy leading a group of Russians out of the water, and although the Russians began pushing the pace on the bike, the field immediately merged into a huge pack of about 50 riders.

Vasiliev didn’t wait long to make his break, which he made with New Zealand’s James Elvery riding on his wheel for the most of it, as it was clear Elvery could barely hold on to the Russian’s blistering pace.

Vasiliev was able to keep his lead until about midway into the run, when Murray, Justus and Vidal barreled down on him.

At this point in the race, Justus slowly began to pull away from the pack, growing his lead until the finish line.

In Chris McCormack news, about midway into the bike the two-time Ironman world champ, who had a poor swim and missed the main bike pack but was able to bridge up, attempted a breakaway with an athlete from the Netherlands, but he was unable to keep any kind of lead. He eventually finished 34th.

1.         STEFFEN JUSTUS      GER     01:51:04
2.         RICHARD MURRAY    RSA     + 00:07
3.         LAURENT VIDAL        FRA     + 00:10
4.         DAVID HAUSS            FRA     + 00:24
5.         ALEXANDER BRYUKHANKOV          RUS     + 00:26
6.         IVAN VASILIEV          RUS     + 00:29
7.         KRIS GEMMELL         NZL     + 00:37
8.         WILLIAM CLARKE     GBR     + 00:38
9.         DMITRY POLYANSKY           RUS     + 00:43
10.       JARROD SHOEMAKER           USA     + 00:46
42.       MANUEL HUERTA     USA     + 02:53
48.       MATT CHRABOT        USA     + 03:43