Javier Gomez added to his already impressive resume with a second Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Chattanooga.
September 10, 2017 | NEWS|
In the end the man many had predicted would take the world title (Spain's Javier Gomez) crossed the line first, but American Ben Kanute managed to make things interesting, forcing the Spaniard to run a blazing 1:10:30 half-marathon on the challenging Chattanooga course to take his second 70.3 world title and seventh world championship.
Heading into today's race pretty much any triathlon expert around the Chattanooga figured we weren't going to see a repeat of yesterday's women's race, where Daniela Ryf pulled clear of the field and made the battle for the top spot on the podium, well, boring.
Then Ben Kanute decided he would do his best "Angry Bird" imitation and blasted through the swim and bike courses to a huge lead. Leading the way out of the water with Gomez on his feet, the two enjoyed a lead of about a minute on a group that included Tim Don (GBR), Carlos Javier Quinchara Forero (COL), Sam Appleton (AUS), Matt Chrabot (USA), Mauricio Mendez Cruz (MEX), Rudolphe Von Berg (USA), Maurice Clavel (GER), Ivan Kalashnikov (RUS), Reinaldo Colucci (BRA), Tyler Butterfield (BER), Tim Reed (AUS), Felippe van de Wyngard (CHL) and Brent McMahon (CAN).
(In case you're thinking "that seems like an ITU lead pack type group," welcome to the new world of Ironman 70.3 World Championship racing, which is conducted at a pace more similar to a standard-distacne race than a half.)
Sebastian Kienle came out of the water just over four-minutes down, putting himself in a difficult hole with such a big group up ahead.
Kanute ripped his way up the 5 km climb up Lookout Mountain that will come to define this course and had a decent sized gap of almost a minute on Gomez by that point and just over 2:12 on Tim Don, who led the charge of the group. By the time he got to the top of the hill Kienle was a further minute behind.
The American's lead continued to grow through the rest of the bike. Gomez continued to ride clear of the group until the long, speedy descent, at which point he was swallowed up by the big group of riders chasing Kanute. By the 50 km point Kienle had also joined the group, but try as he might, there was no shaking the bunch and he entered T2 in the lead, but with the company of Butterfield, Clavel, Appleton, Don, Heemeryck, Gomez and Andi Dreitz (GER).
As he did a year ago at these championships Kienle hammered out early on the run but was no match for the speedy Gomez who "took a chance on the first loop of the run" and flew in pursuit of Kanute. By the 6 km point the lead was down to 1:57, by 10 km it was under 30 seconds, signalling the fact that we were on our way to seeing another Javier Gomez come-from-behind win.
Kienle managed to stay in third through the first 10 km of the run, but Don moved ahead at that point. All week long Kienle had warned us that one of the men to watch at these championships was Sam Appleton and he was right - the Australian would pass the German in the closing miles of the race, too.
Gomez used that incredible 1:10 half-marathon to take the win by 1:21 over Kanute. Don hung tough for third, the same position he finished in 2014, the other time Gomez took the 70.3 world title. Appleton ended up fourth, with Kienle rounding out the top five.
2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championship | Men
September 10, 2017 | Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
1.9 km Swim
90 km Bike
21.1 km Run