Jonathan Brownlee of Great Britain followed up his Olympic bronze medal with a smashing victory at the Stockholm World Triathlon Series sprint event that also served as the ITU Sprint World Championships.
Brownlee finished the 750 meter swim, 20 kilometer, 5-lap bike through the winding streets of Stockholm and the 5 kilometer, 2-lap run in 54:24 with a 7-seconds margin over the fast-closing Javier Gomez of Spain, the Olympic silver medalist. Vincent Luis of France also closed fast to finish 3rd in 54:35.
Jonathan’s brother Alistair, the Olympic gold medalist, passed up Stockholm because early season injuries left him too far out to win the ITU World Triathlon Series season long points championship. Alistair instead will focus on the $151,000 top prize at next weekend’s Hy-Vee 5150 race.
With his win, Brownlee took over the lead in the 2012 World Triathlon Series points chase from Alexander Bryukhankov of Russia, who fell to 5th after a chaotic moment on the run. In the first lap , Bryukhankov was running shoulder to shoulder with Brownlee when the two leaders followed leader’s guide bike to the right of a concrete barrier which paralleled the correct course. A few yards later, Bryukhankov sensed the error, reversed course and circled back to the first opening in the concrete barrier to rejoin the inside lane, which cost him about 10 seconds. At the finish of the race, ITU officials declined to penalize Brownlee because he was following the official men’s run lead bike – and the error did not offer Brownlee a significant advantage in distance.
The win was also the younger Brownlee’s third ITU Sprint World Championship title.
"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,” Brownlee told ITU media. “But I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel as I usually like going into races really prepared. But this one I didn’t, so I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel.”
Brownlee told ITU media that the conditions and the course were tough. “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. I’m not used to being chased by Javier, he normally starts next to me and it’s hard work getting chased from behind. [But] I knew with about a kilometer left that I had him as I had a little bit left, I thought I could outsprint him up the hill."
Brownlee emerged from the swim in the first pack, a just a few seconds behind Richard Varga of the Czech Republic’s leading 8:40 split. Javier Gomez, who was swimming well at London, said after the race he was pushed, pummeled and kept back by flailing arms and that cost him an anticipated place in the front bike pack.
“I’m happy with my fitness," Gomez told ITU media. "I think I had a victory in my legs today but the swim was terrible, there is always people trying to grab you and hit you in the water and I just couldn’t swim. I was fighting the whole time and I was pretty far back after the water.”
As usual, Brownlee pushed hard on the bike to lead much of the time in a lead pack of 11 who had a 10-second advantage at T2 on Gomez and Vincent Luis.
Gomez chased hard on the run, posting an incredible 13:58 for an obviously short-of-posted 5k run that vaulted him to challenge but not catch Brownlee’s 14:05 split. Luis passed a ton of runners as his 14:15 split propelled him to the podium.
Stockholm World Triathlon Series
August 25, 2012
750m swim / 20k bike / 5k run
1. Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) 54:22
2. Javier Gomez (ESP) 54:29
3. Vincent Luis (FRA) 54:33
4. Fernando Alarza (ESP) 54:36
5. Alexander Bryukhankov (RUS) 54:39
6. Sven Riederer (SUI) 54:48
7. Tony Moulai (FRA) 54:47
8. Alessandro Fabian (ITA) 55:13
9. Richard Varga (CZE) 55:19
10. Dan Wilson (AUS) 55:25
12. Steffen Justus (GER) 55:37
13. Kris Gemmell (NZL) 55:39
16. David Hauss (FRA) 55:45
17. Jarrod Shoemaker (USA) 55:49
58. Tommy Zaferes (USA) 1:03:51