Ironman 70.3 Geelong: Gomez and Kahlefeldt win season opener
Spanish superstar Javier Gomez and Aussie based Czech super mum Radka Kahlefeldt have kick-started 2019 with dominant performances at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong. For the second year running perfect race conditions of flat water and no wind, greeted the 1300 pro and age group athletes that gathered at Eastern Beach for the early season test.
In his Geelong debut, pre-race favourite Javier Gomez didn’t disappoint his legion of fans. Displaying all the class that has made him one of the highest performing athletes of the past decade, he used his strong swim and rode to set himself up for a comfortable 21km run home. Javier was delighted to have made the trip to Geelong and feels good early in the year.
“It was perfect conditions, perfect temperature, no wind and a fast course. I enjoyed it out there. I had a pretty good swim and was second out of the water and quite comfortable. There was a group of four or five of us at the front, and I rode quite conservatively. The first couple of km on the run I didn’t feel very good, so I set a more comfortable pace and gradually increased the speed and was then able to control the race.”
“At the 10km of the run I felt good, I had a decent gap, so I knew the race was within my grasp. You can slow down a little bit but not much, it is still a race, and you never know what is going to happen. In the first race of the year you never know what to expect, you want to save your legs for the run and see how they respond, and they responded pretty well. I was a bit conservative because I have a lot of racing coming up but overall it was a very consistent race, and I am happy with the win.”
“It is great to be qualified for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship already so I can focus on my next few races, and I don’t have to worry about that anymore. I can prepare and train for that race which is one of the main focuses of the year. Tokyo 2020 is also a big focus, and I will see how the first races of the World Triathlon Championship series go and hopefully I can qualify for Tokyo and be competitive there,” Javier said.
Aussie Josh Amberger grabbed second place after he finally triumphed over mechanical issues on the bike with Tim van Berkel grabbing third place in a stunning sprint finish with Casey Munro.
“It was one of those things. I got on the bike and I had no gears,” Josh said. “I set about troubleshooting and after a couple of minutes I got it working again and I went from thinking I was going to go straight to my hotel room, to thinking I still had three hours more racing ahead of me.”
“I am not normally in a position where I find myself minutes behind the leaders going onto the bike. So mentally that was one of the hardest races I have done. I am pretty proud of the result because it was a massive effort on the first lap of the bike to get myself back in the race. I wasn’t going to try and ride down Javier because I wouldn’t have any run legs. So I just sat and figured I could run up to second and that is what I did,” he said.
Radka Kahlefeldt has continued on her winning way, kicking off 2019 with a stunning performance against a sensational women’s field, despite a “nature stop’ trying to derail her race.
“I definitely didn’t think this would be easy. I knew I was going against outstanding athletes in Caroline (Steffen), Ellie (Salthouse) and Grace (Thek). The first race of the season you never know where everyone is there training and how you are going to feel. It is always a big unknown and I am delighted with the race.”
“It was one of the best days we could wish for – the conditions were perfect. We had a fast swim and there were four or five of us out of the water together. I don’t like that, I like to ride hard to get a little gap out on the run, but we didn’t split up. I just pushed the second lap hard with Caroline to drop Grace because I knew she is a great runner and I didn’t want to start the run with her straight out of transition.”
“The bike was hard but I felt great on the run, other than bathroom stop where I lost 40 seconds on Ellie and it took my ten kilometres to catch her again. From then on, I was feeling great and just focused on every step. I was chasing Ellie the whole way which I like because it is not boring and the 21km went really quick. It is amazing to start the year with a win, I am super happy.”
“It is nice to be back in Geelong and I think I enjoyed it even more than last time. The weather is great and I can’t wait to take Ruby down and play at the beautiful pool. It is amazing here and I love the run course, it is beautiful.”
Combining her racing with her role as a new mum, Radka is a real inspiration but she is quick to thank her team of great friends and loving family.
“A big thank you to Brad’s parents who drove six hours from Wagga Wagga to help me with babysitting Ruby. Without them, it wouldn’t be possible. I will still stay with 70.3 this year because there are so many beautiful races and I love it. I think for the family it is easier to do 70.3 training but my husband Brad who is coaching me said, ‘Maybe we will do one full at the end of the year’ which I didn’t know he was planning. He just told me recently. So we see,” Radka said.