On a sun-baked weekend in Hyde Park, Mark Robinson wasn’t the only person on the edge of his seat…

RESULTS

Elite Women

1 P Findlay (CAN) 1:51:48

2 N Spirig (SUI) 1:51:51

3 H Jenkins (GBR) 1:51:53

Elite Men

1 J Gomez (ESP) 1:42:08

2 J Brownlee (GBR) 1:42:14

3 J Frodeno (GER) 1:42:30

‘Bigger and better’ were the words that rolled off most people’s tongues. After a successful first staging of the ITU World Championship Series (WCS) London race in Hyde Park last year, this season’s offering was a step up for everyone involved: there were stronger fields in the men and women’s elite events; over 3,000 age-groupers took part; there were more fans in attendance over the two days and more manufacturers on show; and the electric atmosphere at race time had everybody talking.

Triathlon Results - ITU London

Both elite races unfolded dramatically under the glare of the BBC cameras, which was a real boost for triathlon’s image in the UK and beyond. The women took centre stage first on the Saturday, and it was Canada’s Paula Findlay who powered away on the run to record an impressive upset victory against some of the best standard-distance athletes in the world.

Podium Battle

Findlay exited T1 as part of a large leading group of women that had detached themselves from a chasing pack that included Barbara Riveros Diaz (CHI) and Lisa Nordén (SWE). By the end of the bike leg, a fascinating run was about unfold as Findlay, Helen Jenkins (GBR), Andrea Hewitt (NZL) and Nicola Spirig (SUI) pulled away to do battle for the three podium places.

Triathlon Results - ITU LondonIt was Jenkins who led for most of the way on the run, and the London crowd were willing her to secure a famous and popular victory on home soil. But on the start of the final lap around Hyde Park Findlay started to pour on the pressure, and it was a decisive burst that had victory sewn up with 800 metres still to go. Spirig finished in second and Jenkins held on bravely to pip Hewitt to the final spot on the podium.

“I absolutely can’t believe this,” Findlay said after crossing the line in a time of 1:51:48. It was the 21-year-old’s first-ever ITU WCS start – what a way to announce your arrival in the big time to the world.

“I had dreams of making the top 10, but never winning. Running in a breakaway group of four is always hard, as there are only three podium spots available. My initial goal was to secure one of those. But then I looked back, saw a little gap and ran my heart out.”

The men’s race the following day offered even more drama. The history books will show a win for Javier Gomez – his second in a week, after he won in Hamburg on the previous weekend – but won’t tell the full story. Gomez kept his cool and used his superb tactical brain to secure victory in a race where the pace was furious throughout and the lead changed hands several times.

The home crowd were unsurprisingly focused on the Brownlee brothers, who provided most of the post-race discussion. Jonathan eventually finished second behind the Spaniard, a result that was by far the best of his career to date.

Triathlon Results - ITU LondonJaw-Dropping

His older brother Alistair, the current ITU World Champion, could only finish 10th, but provided spectators with the two biggest jaw-dropping moments of the day – the fact that he led into T1 despite losing his goggles in the Serpentine, and his extraordinary surge to the front at the start of the run. It was a burst of speed that many 800m runners would have been proud of.

It was a bold and daring move that the crowd loved, but it cost him dearly. After sticking in close proximity to Gomez and his brother for most of the run, he faded badly in the last few hundred metres before collapsing over the finish line in tenth. Gomez raced to a scorching 29:30 split for the 10km run, eventually crossing the line in 1:42:08 after having time to greet the crowd in the last 50m. Germany’s Jan Frodeno followed Jonathan Brownlee home in third place.

“I felt like I was flying today,” Gomez said.

“Unbelievably, I felt better this weekend than I did last weekend. I knew I was running well so I was just trying to stay in contention and save myself for the run. It was very hard to race against the Brownlee boys today. They pushed it very hard on the run, but luckily I had enough left to pull away.”