Despite claiming before the race that he didn’t feel he’d put in enough training, 2012 London gold medalist Alistair Brownlee showed once again that he is a force to be reckoned with, smashing across the line in 1:47:16. His 2013 Omegawave World Triathlon San Diego performance was a full minute-and-a-half faster than the 2012 winner, his younger brother Jonathan, and no doubt Brownlee had this in mind as he ran the final 10K in 29:30, exactly 30 seconds faster than Jonathan’s 2012 10K split. “It’s really only during this last week that I’ve felt my run legs come back,” Brownlee said after he crossed the line. “I wasn’t expecting this at all.”
The way Brownlee executed his race seem to claim otherwise. The men’s elite field started off fast and furious with American Tommy Zaferes leading the way with a 16:03 swim split, enough to put him a few seconds ahead of Brownlee, Russia’s Henri Schoeman and Alexander Bryukhankov and Aurelien Raphael of France. Brownlee lost a few seconds struggling with the ankles of his wetsuit, heading out of T1 a few seconds back of the lead group, but within the first few kilometers of the bike he had established himself up at the front, as a group of nine pulled together, roughly 30 seconds ahead of a chase pack that included current WTS points leader Javier Gomez.
Heading into the third lap, Gomez made his first big move of the day, pushing up from the chase pack and into the lead position just ahead of Brownlee, Andrey Bryukankov and Dmitry Polyanskiy of Russia. Gaining on them quickly sat a chase pack including South Africa’s Richard Murray, 2008 gold medalist Jan Frodeno and a dozen others.
From there, Brownlee began to work, calling to the pack to work together to keep a safe distance from the chasers. At about the 20K mark Brownlee, possibly sensing some disorganization in the lead pack, pulled ahead of everyone, but his burst didn’t last long, and within a few kilometers Russians Bryukankov, Denis Vasilev and Polyanskiy made their move up to the front, pushing away from Brownlee, Gomez and the others.
Heading into T2, Brownlee wasn’t leading off the bike as he often does, but rather he stayed a safe distance back, conserving his energy for a 10K that he undoubtedly knew he would be running faster than anyone else that day. His biggest competition was right there with him, Gomez. What Brownlee didn’t know was that Gomez was struggling. “I felt pretty flat the whole time,” said Gomez. “I just didn’t have the legs today, so when Brownlee was riding with me I wasn’t evening thinking about what he was doing, I was just thinking about myself, trying to recover for the run.”
Vasilev, a development athlete for Russia, exited T2 first and put out an impressive effort out of the gate, considering that arguably the fastest runner in the sport was on his tail. It took Brownlee less than 1K to pass him for the lead, and the Olympic gold medalist never looked back. Behind him, however, things began to take shape. Murray, who was a silver medalist last year here in San Diego, was part of a huge pack heading out of T2, but he quickly made his move, passing the Russians and taking his spot roughly 8 seconds behind Brownlee. A few seconds back of him sat Portugal’s Joao Silva, currently ranked third in the WTS point standings. Within half a lap, Brownlee had gained another 7 seconds on Murray. All top-three men were pushing sub-five minute miles, but Brownlee continued to show his traditional run dominance, adding on an additional 20 seconds on Murray by the beginning of the third and final lap.
Brownlee had time to high-five the crowd on his way to the finish line, and Murray and Silva held their spots to claim second and third, respectively.
Omegawave World Triathlon San Diego
Men’s Elite Race
1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run
- Alistair Brownlee (GBR) 1:47:16
- Richard Murray (RSA) 1:47:38
- Joao Silva (POR) 1:47:52
- Steffen Justus (GER) 1:48:14
- Mario Mola (ESP) 1:48:18
- Adam Bowden (GBR) 1:48:22
- Dmitry Polyanskiy (RUS) 1:48:28
- Javier Gomez (ESP) 1:48:38
- Sven Riederer (SUI) 1:48:47
- David Mcnamee (GBR) 1:48:54