Just two weeks after taking his first senior ITU professional victory at the Dallas Pan Am Cup, 19-year-old U.S. prodigy Lukas Verzbicas unleashed a blazing 30:55 run to shake off veteran Olympians Laurent Vidal of France and Dimitry Polyansky of Russia to win the ITU World Cup in Banyoles Spain.
Verzbicas, just the fifth man to break the 4-minute mile in high school and a recent ITU junior world champion, finished in 1:47:28 with a 17-seconds margin of victory over Vidal and 36 seconds on Polyansky.
This was Verzbicas’ second triathlon back after sustaining a shin injury in January.
After a huge lead pack formed on the flat bike course, Verzbicas joined Vidal and Polyansky and the three quickly broke away on the run and ran together until the last half of the final 2.5k lap.
Verzbicas then used his sub-4 minute mile foot speed to draw irrevocably away for a statement win that announced loudly the young American had truly arrived with the elites of his new sport.
“Polyanskiy and Vidal started the run out well,” Verzbicas told ITU media. “Without planning it, I pushed forward and just kept pushing the whole way.”
Gwen Jorgenson topped red-hot Australian Erin Densham, highly rated Aussie Ashleigh Gentle and 2011 ITU World Championship Series Grand Final gold medalist Andrea Hewitt with a race-best 35:10 run that gave her a 16 seconds margin of victory over Densham and 23 seconds over third place Gentle.
“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.”
Longshot Great Britain Olympic selection Lucy Hall did a lot to prove her selection as a domestique for gold medal favorite Jenkins was no mistake as she led the swim and made a break on the bike with Spanish competitor Carolina Routier that yielded a 1 minute, 40 seconds advantage on the main chase pack at T2.
On the first run lap, Erin Densham, coming off wins at Mooloolaba and Sydney and a second place at WTS San Diego, hammered past Routier. Midway through the second run lap, Densham then surged past a fading Hall. Soon after, fellow Aussie Gentle and Jorgenson pulled past the fading early leaders to take second and third with Hewitt close behind in 4th.
Early on the final lap, Jorgenson surged past Densham and cruised to a 16-seconds nargin over Densham at the finish, with Gentle another 7 seconds back in 3rd place.
“I basically just went out here to have a hit,” Densham told ITU media. “To come away with second today, I actually did a lot better than I thought I would. I´m really happy where I´m at going into London.”
ITU Banyoles World Cup
June 17, 2012
S 1.5k /. B 40k / R 10k
1. Lukas Verzbicas (USA) 1:47:28
2. Laurent Vidal (FRA) 1:47:45
3. Dmitry Polyansky (RUS) 1:48:04
4. Mark Buckingham (GBR) 1:48:16
5. Adam Bowden (GBR) 1:48:22
6. Vladimir Tubayevskiy (RUS) 1:48:33
7. Fernando Alarza (ESP) 1:48:35
8. Aaron Harris (GBR) 1:48:40
9. Uxio Abuin Ares (ESP) 1:48:45
10. Andreas Schilling (DEN) 1:48:50
11. Gregory Billington (USA) 1:49:03
17. Tommy Zaferes (USA) 1:49:33
1. Gwen Jorgensen (USA) 1:59:39
2. Erin Densham (AUS) 1:59:55
3. Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) 2:00:02
4. Andrea Hewitt (NZL) 2:00:35
5. Lois Rosindale (GBR) 2:01”10
6. Arina Shulgina (RUS) 2:01:27
7. Elena Danilova (RUS) 2:01:38
8. Felicity Sheedy-Ryan (AUS) 2:01:48
9. Anna Burova (RUS) 2:02:07
10. Tamsin Moana-Veale (AUS) 2:02:12