Australia’s London Olympian Brendan Sexton was just one of the victims of the horrendous conditions that created havoc at the ITU World Triathlon Championships in Auckland today.
The 22-year-old crashed and fell to the road early in the 40km bike leg as he pushed himself to get back in touch with the leaders in the Elite Men’s race, leaving his right arm severely grazed as riders battled the driving rain.
The torrential rain made for slippery and at times hazardous conditions in the Elite Men’s as well as for the inexperienced Junior Women and Junior Men’s competitors.
But to his credit, Sexton, the lone Australian in the Elite Men’s division, picked himself up and finished in 30th place in a race that claimed five victims with a DNF.
Grimacing in pain through the remainder of the bike and the 10km run, Sexton was shattered as he crossed the line after setting himself for a big finish to what has been a year of highs and lows after making his first Olympic team.
â€œThe simple fact of the matter was I just wasn’t able to keep pace on the bike. I crashed trying to get back to my group taking more risk than I would if I was physically stronger,â€ said Sexton who gave an honest appraisal of what he described as a disappointing end to the year after finishing 35th in his Olympic debut.
â€œIt’s the end of a long, challenging and overly disappointing season.
â€œMy preparations have been spot on spending time with Jamie Turner (Wollongong-based NSWIS coach) and his athletes the past six weeks but my body wasn’t responding today.
â€œI will now take some time away from triathlon and plan how I can target the weaknesses that have left me at a distance from my potential.â€
Sexton said he had every desire to return to his best form again, saying he’s been down before but knows he can get back up again.
After an enthralling race that saw Slovakia’s Richard Varga and his training partner Olympic bronze medallist, Great Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee open up a commanding lead in the swim and a brave effort from retiring New Zealander Kris Gemmell on the bike, it was Spain Javier Gomez who stole the honours.
Gomez, running shoulder to shoulder with Brownlee, kicked first with 250m to run before Brownlee responded but wasn’t fast enough to match Gomez with Switzerland’s Sven Riederer taking the bronze.
The World Championship Series victory went to Brownlee, who only had to podium to clinch the title from Gomez and Russian Igor Polyanskiy, adding the title, Olympic gold medal winning brother Alistair won last year in Beijing.
Meanwhile Australia’s juniors were also confronted with some of the toughest conditions they have encountered with the driving rain and slippery roads testing their bike skills.
The Junior Men’s event, over the Sprint distance of 750m swim, 20km bike and five kilometre run went to Wian Sullwald who won South Africa’s first ever ITU World title from Simon Viain (FRA) and Constantine Doherty (IRL) and claimed ten victims who came a cropper trying to negotiate the slippery corners.
Victoria’s Marcel Walkington was the best of the Australian boys in seventh followed by Kenji Nener (14th) band Joel Tobin-White (23rd) who both fought hard.
Walkington was always in the hunt after emerging from the swim in fourth place and worked away on the bike to stay out of trouble in the tricky conditions.
But he couldn’t maintain the pace in the run with Doherty charging early before Sullwald took over to the storm to the finish line.
In the women’s event Fumika Matsumoto won Japan’s first ever ITU Triathlon World title from Ledonie Periault (FRA) and Tamara Gorman (USA).
The Australian trio Ellie Salthouse, Emily Bevan and Tamsyn Moana-Veale finished 19th, 21st and 30th respectively.
As hard as they tried the Australian girls struggled to remain in touch on the bike in the difficult, testing conditions.
2012 RESULTS ITU WORLD TRIATHLON CHAMPIONSHIPS
Fumika Matsumoto (JPN) 1:08:33
Ledonie Periault (FRA) 1:08:36
Tamara Gorman (USA) 1:08:39
Sarah Wilm (GER) 1:08.44
Maddie Dillon (NZL) 1:08.50
Amelie Kretz (CAN) 1:09.02
Sumire OHara (JPN) 1:09.02
Elise Salt (NZL) 1:09.04
Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR) 1:09.35
Luisa Condeco (POR) 1:09.40
19. Ellie Salthouse (AUS) 1:12.17
21. Emily Bevan (AUS) 1:12.39
30. Tamsyn Moana-Veale (AUS) 1:15.12
Non Stanford (GBR) 2:13.06
Sarissa De Vries (NED) 2:13.15
Joanna Brown (CAN) 2:14.12
Claudia Rivas (MEX) 2:14.26
Natalie Van Coevorden (AUS) 2:14.28
Sara Vilic (CRO) 2:15.06
Ashlee Bailie (AUS) 2:15.09
Lucy Hall (GBR) 2:15.11
Simone Ackerman (NZL) 2:15.24
Maaike Caelers (NED) 2:156.41
Charlotte McShane (AUS) 2:16.17
Anne Haug (GER) 2:10:48
Gwen Jorgensen (USA) 2:11:00
Barbara Riveros Diaz (CHI) 2:11:01
Lisa Norden (SWE) 2:11:03
Jodie Stimpson (GBR) 2:11:03
Rachel Klamer (NED) 2:11:09
Andrea Hewitt (NZL) 2:11:10
Kate McIlroy (NZL) 2:11:12
Sarah Groff (USA) 2:11:20
Juri Ide (JPN) 2:11:21
18. Felicity Abram (AUS) 2:12.45
26. Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) 2:14.20
30. Felicity Sheedy-Ryan (AUS) 2:15.29
Wian Sullwald (RSA) 1:01.44
Simon Viain (FRA) 1:0-1.58
Constantine Doherty (IRL) 1:01.59
Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) 1:02.31
Gordon Bensen (GBR) 1:01.45
Marcel Walkington (AUS) 1:02.58
Ryosuke Maeda (JPN) 1:02.59
Jorik van Egdom (NED) 1:02.59
Eduardo Moreno (MEX) 1:03.04
Dorian Coninx (FRA) 1:03.06
14. Kenji Nener (AUS) 1:03.50
23. Joel Tobin-White (AUS) 1:04.59
1. Aaron Royle (AUS) 1:57:17
2. Fernando Alarza (ESP) 1:57:20
3. Thomas Bishop (GBR) 1:57:21
4. Pierre Le Corre (FRA) 1:57:29
5. Ryan Fisher (AUS) 1:57:51
6. Matthew Sharp (GBR) 1:58:49
7. Jason Wilson (BAR) 1:59:15
8. Gregory Billington (USA) 1:59:32
9. Igor Polyanskiy (RUS) 1:59:40
10. Ryan Bailie (AUS) 1:59:50
11. Josh Amberger (AUS) 1:59:59
Javier Gomez (ESP) 2:00.29
Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) 2:00.31
Sven Riederer (SUI) 2:01.18
Steffen Justus (GER) 2:01.40
Gregor Buchholz (GER) 2:01.46
Kyle Jones (CAN) 2:01.48
Dmitry Polyanskiy (RUS) 2:01.50
Ivan Rana (ESP) 2:01.56
Richard Murray (RSA) 2:02.00
David McNamee (GBR) 2:02.06
30. Brendan Sexton (AUS) 2:07.29
FINAL 2012 ITU WORLD SERIES STANDINGS
Lisa Norden (SWE) 4531
Anne Haug (GER) 4340
Andrew Hewitt (NZL) 3893
Barbara Riveros Diaz (CHI) 3707
Erin Densham (AUS) 3611
Nicola Spirig (SUI) 3264
Sarah Groff (USA) 3232
Ainhoa Murua (ESP) 3065
Gwen Jorgensen (USA) 3048
Kate McIlroy (NZL) 3044
Emma Moffatt (AUS) 2856
15. Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) 2405
Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) 4934
Javier Gomez (ES) 4845
Dmitry Polyanskiy (RUS) 3822
Sven Riederer (SUI) 3773
Richard Murray (RSA) 3575
Steffen Justus (GER) 3564
Alexander Bryukhankov (RUS) 3285
Laurent Vidal (FRA) 2772
Joaoaa Silva (POR) 2682
David Hauss (FRA) 2519
MONDAY 22ND OCTOBER
6.55am – Age Group â€“ Sprint World Champs
8.30am – Age Group â€“ Standard distance World Champs
3.15pm – Paratriathlon World Champs: Bill Chaffey (NSW), Dale Grant (VIC), Michael Milton (ACT), Jonathan Goerlach (NSW)/Fraser Dowling (NSW) pilot.