Stockholm, Sweden (August 25, 2012) - A pair of Olympic medallists climbed to the top of the podium at the ITU World Triathlon Stockholm today. Great Britain's Jonathan Brownlee claimed his fourth ITU World Triathlon Series title, besting Spain's Javier Gomez and France's Vincent Luis in Stockholm on Saturday. While in the women's race, Sweden's Lisa Norden gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about, finishing ahead of the the Netherlands Maaike Caelers and Chile's Barbara Riveros Diaz.
Olympic bronze medallist Jonathan Brownlee excelled at the sprint distance yet again, speeding ahead of the men's field to take gold in a time of 54 minutes, 24 seconds ahead of his Spanish rival Javier Gomez.
It was also enough for Brownlee to overtake the overall ITU World Triathlon Series rankings lead, putting him in the driver's seat for the overall ITU World Championship title, with just Yokohama and the Grand Final in Auckland to come. But he wasn't always confident before the race, especially given the limited preparation after London.
"I was confident on this distance, I know I do quite well at the sprint, it wasn't that long ago I was a junior," said Brownlee. "But I wasn't sure how I was going to feel as I usually like going into races really prepared, so usually when I go into a race I've been thinking about it for months before but this one I didn't, so I wasn't sure how I was going to feel."
"The swim was hard and rough and the bike, there was no easy part the whole way round was tough. Then on the run, Javier is normally in the front pack but he had a bit of a mucky start, and it was a bit of a rough swim, and then I'm not used to being chased by Javier, he normally starts next to me and it's hard work getting chased from behind. I knew with about a kilometre left that I had him as I had a little bit left, I thought I could outsprint him up the hill, although I wasn't really sure."
The fast and furious race in Stockholm started with a wetsuit swim, and just like he did in London, Slovakia's Richard Varga was first out of the water with an 8:52 split. In the first lap, a 13-man lead pack came together including Varga, Brownlee, Luis, Alexander Bryukhankov, Alessandro Fabian, Tony Moulai, Anthony Pujades and Fernando Alarza. Gomez started the bike just behind, in a small chase group that exited T1 about 30 seconds down on the leaders. But together with Kris Gemmell, Dan Wilson, Matt Chrabot and Sven Riederer they managed to cut the gap on each lap and enter T2 on the heels of the leaders.
From there, Brownlee went flying off the front. While Bryukhankov looked like he might catch him for a while, but then Gomez emerged as the major threat in the second lap. But he just didn't quite have enough speed to make up for the 15 second deficit he had coming out of T2, even though Gomez's run split was six seconds faster.
Behind him, Luis said that a strategy to slow himself heading out of T2 paid off. The 2012 Olympian and 2008 ITU Junior World Champion said he aimed to start the run at his own pace, and then ran himself past the rest of the contenders and into his first ITU World Triathlon Series medal. Spain's Alarza capatilised on a strong all round race to finish fourth, his best World Triathlon Series result, while Bryukhankov's fifth place finish was enough to see him hold onto second place in the overall rankings. Click here for full review
2012 ITU World Triathlon Stockholm - 25 August 2012
Final Results - Elite Men - 750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run
1. Jonathan Brownlee GBR 00:54:24
2. Javier Gomez ESP 00:54:31
3. Vincent Luis FRA 00:54:35
4. Fernando Alarza ESP 00:54:36
5. Alexander Bryukhankov RUS 00:54:41
6. Sven Riederer SUI 00:54:50
7. Tony Moulai FRA 00:55:02
8. Alessandro Fabian ITA 00:55:15
9. Richard Varga SVK 00:55:21
10. Dan Wilson AUS 00:55:27
Sweden's Lisa Norden gave the home crowd what they were hoping for, a win on home soil as she claimed her third ITU World Triathlon Series win in a dominant all around performance in Stockholm on Saturday. Norden beat the Netherlands' Maaike Caelers and Chile's Barbara Riveros Diaz, just two and a half weeks after her incredible sprint for silver at the London 2012 Olympic Games. In summing up what the win meant to her, Norden said she couldn't think of a more perfect outcome.
"If you have kind of a dream scenario how could my life possibly turn out as it's best, this would have been it and I'm in it which is incredible," Norden said. "Going out on the second lap knowing I had a gap, I knew all I had to do was keep running and I felt I had the strength, I had the legs and I had the crowd for it. So, incredible."
In the 750m wetsuit swim, Norden was one of the first out of the water, just behind Spain's Caroline Routier and next to Australia's Emma Moffatt and Erin Densham. In a fast and frenetic 20km bike through the streets of Stockholm, Norden, Barbara Riveros Diaz and Densham stayed in the lead pack for the entire leg, while others changed around them.
The packs did come together just ahead of T2, and it was Norden who was first out of transition and straight to the front. While her former Team ITU development teammate Riveros Diaz stayed on her shoulder for the first lap, Norden stormed ahead from the start of the second lap and didn't look back. She crossed the line in 1 hour and 36 seconds for her third ITU World Triathlon Series win, and first since Hamburg in 2010.
Behind her the fight for podium places became interesting. Densham and Haug pulled ahead of the field but they were both caught by the barnstorming Caelers, who when flew past Riveros Diaz with half a lap to go. The London Olympian has has a breakthrough season, as she claimed her first ITU World Cup podium in Tiszaujvaros just before the Games and now her first ITU World Triathlon Series medal in Stockholm.
Riveros Diaz said she was excited to be able to put a positive spin on her August, after a frustrating Olympic race. Haug finished fourth for the third consecutive ITU World Triathlon Series race, after also finishing just off the podium in Madrid and Hamburg. Densham's fifth place was enough for her to take over the lead in the overall ITU World Triathlon Series rankings, moving ahead of New Zealand's Andrea Hewitt. Click here for full review
2012 ITU World Triathlon Stockholm - 25 August 2012
Final Results - Elite Women - 750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run
1. Lisa Norden SWE 01:00:36
2. Maaike Caelers NED 01:00:45
3. Barbara Riveros Diaz CHI 01:00:55
4. Anne Haug GER 01:00:59
5. Erin Densham AUS 01:01:04
6. Non Stanford GBR 01:01:14
7. Ainhoa Murua ESP 01:01:17
8. Yuko Takahashi JPN 01:01:20
9. Alice Betto ITA 01:01:28
10. Rebecca Robisch GER 01:01:33
Photo Credit: ITU