The United States’ Gwen Jorgensen and Lukas Verzbicas beat out tough fields to take the Banyoles ITU Triathlon World Cup titles.
Read the recap from Triathlon.org below:
USA’s Gwen Jorgensen and Lukas Verzbicas both left it until the last lap of the run to make their move and claim the 2012 ITU Triathlon World Cup Banyoles title. Jorgensen surged past Australia’s Erin Densham to take gold and in the men’s race a young Verzbicas won his first ever ITU World Cup in his World Cup debut. This also marks the first time since September 26, 1992 that the U.S. has swept gold at an ITU World Cup.
The elite women were met with clear blue skies and rising temperatures at the 2012 Banyoles ITU Triathlon World Cup. A race brimming with athletes heading to London, triathlon newcomer Gwen Jorgensen (USA) gave her competition reason to fear her presence in England with a win in Spain on Sunday.
“It was a really great course,” Jorgensen said. “Those girls really made me work. There are some really good runners out there and when Erin took it out, I really tried to keep the distance.”
From the start, amphibious Lucy Hall (GBR) and Banyoles local Carolina Routier (ESP) wasted no time in creating a 20-meter distance on the two-lap swim. Routier swam on Hall´s hip throughout the swim, exiting to cheers from her compatriots.
Together, the young athletes headed out on the bike with a minute lead over favorites Andrea Hewitt (NZL) and Erin Densham (AUS). While they were expected to reign in the two runaways, the opposite actually happened.
Hall and Routier continued hammering out even splits, while the chase pack failed to find a rhythm. However, the group lost nearly 40 seconds on the final two laps. Unfortunately for them, even one minute and 40 seconds wasn’t enough to secure a podium position. The pair was quickly overtaken by a swift Densham. The Aussie pulled even with Routier on the first lap and trailed Hall by just 14 seconds.
By midway through the second of three run laps, Hall was nowhere to been seen, while the Spaniard had fallen out of contention. Meanwhile, Densham continued ahead, while teammate Ashleigh Gentle and Jorgensen pulled up third. Hewitt trailed close behind.
On the final lap, Densham owned a nine-second lead over Jorgensen. Her lead, however, was soon destroyed. With a final surge, Jorgensen overtook a fatiguing Densham early on in the last lap. She breezed over the finish line 16 seconds ahead of the competition to claim her second world cup title. Densham cruised into second, while her teammate Gentle gave Australia a two-three finish with bronze.
While the temperatures certainly heated up at the men’s race of the 2012 Banyoles ITU Triathlon World Cup, the competition didn’t get steamy until the final discipline. The race was a game of wait and see, as a pack of more than 50 men competed in one large group until the run.
It was worth the wait for young Lukas Verzbicas (USA), as the run proved to be a pivotal moment in the competition and his career. The 19-year old Junior World Champion made his debut on the elite international circuit with a tremendous final run lap to earn him his first World Cup title.
“It was great,” Verzbicas said. “It was my first world cup, as well as my first world cup victory.”
The day began predictably enough when the Polyanskiy brothers quickly moved to the front of the swim.
With a flat course lacking many opportunities for strong or technical riders to pull away, another 20 men joined the lead congregation by the end of the first lap. Only a small assembly of six riders remained trailing.
Vidal, who left the water in 24th place made his way to the front of the ride just in time for Russia’s Denis Vasiliev to break away to a 38-second lead. Meanwhile, Polyanskiy opted to fall to the middle of the pack where Verzbicas was nearby. For the final two laps, Vidal pulled the sizable field, while Verzbicas and Polyanskiy conserved energy.
After pushing through a congestive second transition, Verzbicas, Vidal, and Polyanskiy ran shoulder to shoulder, having quickly overtaken Vasiliev and the rest of the competitors. Together, they continued forging further ahead until the final lap when Vidal and Verzbicas dropped Polyanskiy.
Vidal had a slight edge over Verzbicas, but it didn’t last long. Verzbicas kicked into turbo speed with half a lap to go and left the Frenchman behind.
“Polyanskiy and Vidal started the run out well,” Verzbicas said. “Without planning it, I pushed forward and just kept pushing the whole way.”
Wearing number 43, Verzbicas surged over the finish line to his first world cup victory with a 17-second lead.
Vidal claimed second, while Polyanskiy crossed over 36 seconds after the top time of one hour, forty seven minutes and twenty eight seconds.
For more on Verzbicas, pick up the July/August issue of Inside Triathlon, on newsstands Tuesday, June 19.
Banyoles ITU Triathlon World Cup
Banyoles, Spain – June 17, 2012
1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run
1. Gwen Jorgensen (USA) 1:59:40
2. Erin Densham (AUS) +0:16
3. Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) +0:24
4 Andrea Hewitt (NZL) +0:56
5 Lois Rosindale (GBR) +1:32
1. Lukas Verzbicas (USA) 1:47:28
2. Laurent Vidal (FRA) +0:17
3. Dimitry Polyanskiy POLYANSKIY (RUS) +0:36
4. Adam Bowden (GBR) +0:56
5. Vladimir Turbayevskiy (RUS) +1:05