Four-time ITU World Champion Javier Gomez of Spain took another step towards a 5th crown with a dominating victory at WTS Stockholm Sunday.
Gomez broke away from Portugal’s Joao Pereira and Australia’s Aaron Royle at the 3 kilometer mark of the run, and closed with a race-best 29:27 10k run to finish in 1:49:33 with a 45 seconds margin over Pereira and 53 seconds over Royle.
The victory marked his 11th WTS win and boosted his Columbia Threadneedle ITU WTS Series points total to 3820, which gives him a 446 lead on fellow Spaniard Mario Mola and 859 on 3rd-place Fernando Alarza.
“I was not very happy with my swim,” said Gomez, who emerged from the non-wetsuit swim 18th, 17 seconds behind the leader. “I was a little bit asleep at the start, so when I knew I was far behind I fought the second lap to move forward a little bit in the swim. I think I was the last person to make the first group on the bike. It was an intense first lap on the bike, and then after that I just worked to keep the distance between the second group. I felt good on the run because I could control the pace the whole time.”
Pereira was thrilled with his best finish of the WTS season, 6 places ahead of his finish at WTS Gold Coast. “I had a very good swim and a very good bike, so it was easy to run,” said Pereira.
Royle was very happy with his day. “This was my first podium in 18 months,” said Royle, who qualified for the 2016 Olympics with his strong showing at Rio three weeks ago. “It’s been a long, hard time and this made it all worth it. The hills, cobblestones and many corners made it an unrelenting course – a real strength course, which suited me.”
Henri Schoeman of South Africa led the swim in 19:23, with Aaron Royle of Australia in 3rd place and 4 seconds back. Tommy Zaferes was 9th, 10 seconds back and Gomez was 18th, 17 seconds back.
Quickly, a pack of 23 established a significant gap on the chasers who included strong runners Mario Mola of Spain and Sven Riederer of Switzerland. Top cyclists including Tommy Zaferes of the U.S., Kristian Blummenfelt of Norway, Eric Lagerstrom of the U.S., Gomez, and Andreas Schilling of Denmark took turns in the lead. By the time the cyclists hit T2, Zaferes led for the last time and the chasers, led by top Spanish runners Mola and Fernando Alarza, were 1:20 down – too far back to threaten for the podium. .
Early in the run, Gomez, Joao Pereira of Portugal, and Aaron Royle broke away, with Henri Schoeman of South Africa and Ryan Bailie of Australia 50 meters back. By the end of the first lap, Gomez, Pereira, and Royle crossed the line in a blanket, with Bailie and Schoeman 11 seconds back, and Anthony Pujades of France 14 seconds down.
At the beginning of lap two, Gomez immediately shook off Pereira and Royle, creating a 75 meter lead with Schoeman and Bailie 4th and 5th. With one lap to go, Gomez established an insurmountable 51 seconds lead over a quartet that included Pereira, Schoeman, Royle and Bailie - all on the same tick of the clock.
Gomez closed strong with a race-best 29:27 run that brought him to the line in 1:49:33, with a 45 seconds margin on runner-up Pereira and 53 seconds on Royle, who scored his first WTS podium in a year and a half. After his energy-sapping surge that brought him into that four-man tie starting the bell lap, Schoeman faded back to 4th, 1:09 back of the winner and a few fractions of a second ahead of 5th place finisher Bailie.
Even with a 29:52 run, Mola could not make up for his 1:22 deficit after the bike, and finished 12th.
Eric Lagerstrom was the top U.S. athlete with an 18th place finish in 1:51:47.
August 23, 2015
S 1.5k / B 40k / R 10k
1. Javier Gomez (ESP) 1:49:33
2. Joao Pereira (POR) 1:50:18
3. Aaron Royle (AUS) 1:50:26
4. Henri Schoeman (RSA) 1:50:42
5. Ryan Bailie (AUS) 1:50:42
6. Ryan Sissons (NZL) 1:50:47
7. Vicente Hernandez (ESP) 1:50:53
8. Alessandro Fabian (ITA) 1:51:11
9. Aurelien Raphael (FRA) 1:51:17
10. Fernando Alarza (ESP) 1:51:17
18. Eric Lagerstrom (USA) 1:51:47
21. Gregory Billington (USA) 1:51:58
22. Joe Maloy (USA) 1:52:03
37. Ben Kanute (USA) 1:53:59
39. Tommy Zaferes (USA) 1:54:49
47. Hunter Lussi (USA) 1:59:54