Expectations were shattered at the ITU World Championships Series race in Hamburg today as two of the circuit’s most consistent performers, Australia’s Brad Kahlefeldt and Britain’s Will Clarke, took first and second place.
In the absence of Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee many felt that Spain’s Javier Gomez was a safe bet to take the win, and right up to the last half of the run it looked as though Gomez would deliver again.
But Clarke and Kahlefeldt were among a six-strong leading pack on the run who refused to let Gomez’s characteristic cranking of the pace take him away from them. On the final lap with just over two kilometres to go, France’s David Hauss made a sudden sprint for the front, momentarily clearing the pack and shocking spectators with the sheer nerve of his move. He couldn’t quite maintain the pace, but he’d wrung the last attack out of Gomez who was unable to stay with the first three as Clarke took to the front. Finally with around 400m to go, Kahlefeldt – a brilliant runner with a string of podium places to his name – tore away to take his first ever ITU World Championship Series win, with Clarke just seconds behind in his first WCS podium placing, and Hauss in third. Gomez came home in sixth but took the series lead, while the British team could be happy to have two men in the top ten with Tim Don placing a strong seventh.
There was disappointment for the home crowd, though, with local lad Jan Frodeno suffering a mechanical issue on the bike and having to change his wheel twice; to the delight of spectators, though, he raced on and whipped them into a frenzy each time he passed the grandstand. Ironman world champion Chris McCormack was another crowd pleaser, improving hugely on his performance in Kitzbuhel to finish in 26th place.
“This is my eighth or ninth time in Hamburg and a bunch of podiums and fourth, fifth six, and I was thinking I’ve been so close, I can’t lose this,” said Kahlefeldt. “I got my first podium here in 2003, so I just thought about that and thought I couldn’t lose here, I just thought with a kilometre to go I’ve got to push it.”
“I’m absolutely over the moon, I don’t know what to say, I’ve been dreaming about this for so long,” Clarke said. “I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet, I’ve been hoping for this moment for years and years and it’s finally happened.”
- Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS) 1:44:08
- Will Clarke (GBR) 1:44:09
- David Hauss (FRA) 1:44:09
- Sebastian Rank (GER) 1:44:12
- Joao Silva (POR) 1:44:16
- Javier Gomez (ESP) 1:44:19
- Tim Don (GBR) 1:44:33
- Reto Hug (SUI) 1:44:35
- Jonathan Zipf (GER) 1:44:44
- Sven Riederer (SUI) 1:44:56
Photos: Delly Carr/ITU/triathlon.org