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© Delly Carr / ITU
Kahlefeldt wins, Will Clarke second in Hamburg
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Saturday 16th July 2011


Tags  Brad Kahlefledt  |  David Hauss  |  Hamburg  |  WCS Hamburg  |  Will Clarke


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Rain was threatened in the days leading up to the men's race at the Dextro Energy ITU World Championships Series Hamburg on Saturday, but race day saw blue skies over the Hamburg City Centre, and a reported crowd of 250,000 - at an event that also inlcuded an Age Group race boasting 10,000 athletes.

Swim dynamo Raichard Varga (SVK) made short work of the 1500m two-lap swim, heading Javier Gomez by 13 seconds with home favourite, 2010 Hamburg silver medal winner and of course reigning Olympic Champion, Jan Frodeno in close order. While Varga had a gap, he was not considered a threat for the overall, and with a closely bunched line of athletes following Gomez and Frodeno out of the swim, a large lead group soon formed at the head of affairs early in the eight-lap technical bike course. That lead group included British athletes Tim Don and Will Clarke.

Behind the lead group of 20, Ironman World Champion Chris McCormack was pushing the pace in a chase pack - including the other GB representative Todd Leckie - and at the end of lap two they had closed to just 16 seconds. Were we to see - even briefly (!) - Macca to be leading a WCS event? That seemd a long way off after his first aborted attempt at Kitzb├╝hel last month, just two weeks after winning Challenge Cairns but was looking much more realistic in Germany.

©Delly Carr / ITU

Petzold, Don, Toft, Moulai and others were keeping the pressure on at the front of the race, yet by the end of lap three of the bike the two front groups were just seconds apart and it wasn't long before we had a huge group at the front of the race... including McCormack, clearly enjoying his day. At this point, he probably wasn't aware of a 15 second penalty waiting for him in T2 however. He wasn't alone, Jan Frodeno had one awaiting him too...

Emil Dalgaard (DEN) and Kris Gemmell (NZL) made a break in the later half of the bike - the work primarily coming from the Dane - and while they had a couple of laps away from the main bunch, their buffer never got much above 10 seconds and come the final 5km it was looking all set up for a 10km run fest... and surely, set up for Javier Gomez to repeat his 2010 win the absence of the Brownlee brothers. With plenty of athletes seemingly keeping the pace high at the front, and Gomez keeping pretty sheltered, who would bet against the legend. Not me anyway...

Exiting T2, 50 athletes hit the run course within 15 seconds, Tony Moulai (FRA) leading out a long line of the world's best.

A small group formed quickly on lap one of the run, Germany's Sebastian Rank heading Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS), Gomez, Joao Silva (POR), Will Clarke, Reto Hug (SUI), David Hauss (FRA) and Jonathan Zipf (GER), with Tim Don around nine seconds back after the first of four 2.5km run laps. Gomez seemed content to go with the pace, at least for the first 5km, and not apply his traditional increasing pressure to athlete-by-athlete drop his opponents. Tactics or form?

Approaching the 7.5km mark Gomez hit the front, but didn't pull away in his usual fashion and with finishing power of Brad Kahlefeldt on your shoulder, that's not a great position. Was Gomez, by his standards, struggling? Yes.

With a kilometre to go David Hauss put in a huge surge, Kahlefeldt and Clarke followed... but Gomez couldn't. Will Clarke was looking strong, and at the very least, on course for his first WCS podium - could he win it?

He couldn't... but losing a sprint to Kahlefeldt is no shame, and he held off David Hauss to take the silver and arguably his best ever performance. Tim Don ran strongly for seventh, which along with the Brownlee brothers suggests that the British Olympic team will be a very strong one.

"I've been dreaming of this moment for years and years, I can't believe it's finaly happened." said a delighted Clarke to Barrie Shepley at the finish line.

Ironman World Champion Chris McCormack ended his day 26th, 2:05 back on the Kahlefeldt - including that 15 second stop-go penalty - a huge step forward for him.

Todd Leckie finished 32nd (1:46:44)

Pos Men
1st Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS) 1:44:08
2nd Will Clarke (GBR) 1:44:09
3rd David Hauss (FRA) 1:44:09
4th Sebastian Rank (GER) 1:44:12
5th Joao Silva (POR) 1:44:16
6th Javier Gomez (ESP) 1:44:19
7th Tim Don (GBR) 1:44:33
8th Reto Hug (SUI) 1:44:35
9th Jonathan Zipf (GER) 1:44:44
10th Sven Riederer (SUI) 1:44:56

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