Spain's Javier Gomez labeled his performance in the opening round of the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series in Sydney as one of his toughest ever, as he fought back from a bike crash to claim an impressive victory.
A downpour of rain hit the course in the second lap of the elite men's bike and from then on it almost became a survival of the fittest, particularly when Gomez went down on the bike.
But the reigning ITU World Champion got back on, rode the last 10 kilometres by himself and then proved his class even further when he managed to catch the leading pack.
It was then whether Gomez still had the legs to out-run Jonathan Brownlee, Alistair Brownlee, Sven Riederer, Brendan Sexton and David Hauss. For a time it looked like the Brownlee brothers would work together to get there, but Alistair came unstuck when he fell rounding a corner in the rain and dropped off the pace.
Jonathan Brownlee fought to match Gomez but he couldn't as the two-time world champion broke away and finished with scintillating 30-minute, 9-second run. Brownlee ended up second, and Sven Riederer ran his way into third. But the afternoon really belonged to Gomez, and after showing his emotion with a fist-pump over the line, he said he wouldn't forget the race easily.
"It was definitely one of the hardest ones," Gomez said. "It doesn't happen many times that you crash and then you get up again and catch the first group again and then be the fastest runner, I'm really proud. I will always remember this race."
2011 ITU World Championship Series Sydney Results:
|Elite Men Results||Time||
|Elite Women Results||Time|
|Javier Gomez (ESP)||1:50:22||
|Paula Findlay (CAN)||2:01:21|
|Jonathan Brownlee (GBR)||1:50:29||
|Barbara Riveros Diaz (CHI)||2:01:23|
|Sven Riederer (SUI)||1:50:34||
|Andrea Hewitt (NZL)||2:01:29|
|Brendan Sexton (AUS)||1:50:40||
|Carole Peon (FRA)||2:01:38|
|David Hauss (FRA)||1:50:49||
|Tomoko Sakimoto (JPN)||2:01:40|
|Tim Don (GBR)||1:50:58||
|Laura Bennett (USA)||2:01:59|
|Jonathan Zipf (GER)||1:51:04||
|Ai Ueda (JPN)||2:02:02|
|Joao Silva (POR)||1:51:17||
|Liz Blatchford (GBR)||2:02:32|
|William Clarke (GBR)||1:51:19||
|Lisa Norden (SWE)||2:02:36|
|Dmitry Polyansky (RUS)||1:51:26||
|Lauren Campbell (CAN)||2:02:43|
Canadian Paula Findlay proved her 2010 form was no fluke when she outsprinted Barbara Riveros Diaz to win the first Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship series race for season 2011 in Sydney.
In a thrilling finish, a pack of six women that had the lead for more than half of the run leg were all in with a chance heading into the final lap. American veteran Laura Bennett had lead the way for most of the time alongside Findlay, Riveros Diaz, Andrea Hewitt, Carole Peon and Tomoko Sakimoto, but it was the 21-year old Canadian who had the final legs to carry away the opening round of 2011.
Findlay put the burners on for the final few hundred metres, enough to hold off Riveros Diaz from claiming her second Sydney title. The pint-sized Chilean star also won last year's race. Hewitt came in for third, her second consecutive Sydney podium after she claimed silver last year.
The win confirmed Findlay as a bona fide triathlon star, after she won both the London and Kitzbuhel races in her first year on the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series. Findlay now has three series race titles, to put her just one behind reigning champion Emma Moffatt, who has a total of four race wins to lead the all-time series winners list. The scary thing for Findlay's competitors is, there could only be more to come.
"I find it really helps my confidence because after I have a good race I am even more motivated to go even harder," she said. "I'm excited to go home and do a few more months of training and I think that Madrid will be my next race and I am really looking forward to that."