Bevan Docherty sent the triathlon world a message as he began the 2010 ITU Dextro Energy World Championship Series with a master class performance as he smashed a world class field in Sydney this morning.
33 year old Docherty swam comfortably, rode within himself and with great tactical smarts before destroying the field on the run home.
This is awesome; it is great to start the season like this, especially in Sydney. I remember back in 2000 I was watching Simon (Whitfield) crossing the line in the Olympics and I thought how cool would that be to be there one day, well ten years later here I am at the Sydney Opera House. This is just such a buzz, such a great feeling, amongst the best in my career.”
Docherty paced his race to perfection with a strong swim and bike that included a break at the end of the 40km, one that would prove crucial on the run home.
“The plan was to go easy in the first kilometre on the run and hold back, that worked to perfection when I found myself on a break in the bike and had 20 seconds coming into transition and was feeling good.
I took it easy for that first kilometre, waited for the group and they smashed themselves to catch up to me, once they did they were buggered. At that point I told myself 15 minutes of pain, 15 minutes of pain Bevan and dropped them off one by one.”
The pace was on from the start with the Russians as expected leading the way through the 1500m swim but the field followed in close proximity with the New Zealanders comfortable in the main bunch.
On the testing 8 lap bike around the Sydney CBD and waterfront Docherty was asking questions of the field as he broke clear on the uphill on Macquarie Street heading away from the Sydney Opera House, taking young Australian James Seear with him. The field was only too aware of the threat the two time Olympic medalist posed though and worked to close the gap and shut down the break.
Hunter Kemper (USA) and Chuchko (RUS) did go clear with 3 laps to go on the bike and this time the chase group let them go, the gap increasing to 25 seconds on a small chase group coming into transition before the 10km run.
The main pack was a minute back but crucially, Docherty made a move late on the bike to be 47 seconds down on the leaders and put some vital time on the chasers.
On the run the chase pack formed with Docherty settling in with them as they looked to close the gap on Kemper, Tony Moulai (FRA) and Matt Chrabot (USA) as Chuchko faded badly in the opening kilometre.
Docherty put the foot down up Macquarie Street at the halfway mark and soon had some of the best the sport has seen struggling in his wake. 2000 Olympic Games champion Simon Whitfield (CAN), Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS), Laurent Vidal FRA), Peter Robertson (AUS), Greg Bennett (AUS) and Gemmell all faded as the big Kiwi surged to hit the lead with 3km to run.
The only one to go with the two time Olympic medalist was Polyanski (RUS) but with 1500m to go Docherty again surged in an incredible display of strength and the 23 year old was broken, so much so that he fell back into the field and missed the podium with countryman Alexander Brukankov and Frenchman David Hauss the other medalists.
Another potentially strong contender, Gemmell paid a price for a flat patch on the second lap and finished back in 15th, but the Palmerston North triathlete was looking at the positives.
“I was a bit flat was all but if you are 5% off in this type of field, you are not going to be there at the end. I tried to get a rhythm straight away but hit a flat patch on the second lap and lost all my time then, for the rest of the race I only lost 10 seconds to Bevan.
“He was just so strong today though and it was obvious. When he went on the bike I looked across at Jan (Frodeno) and said that was the race, ‘if you don’t go now Frodo, that is the race’, and so it proved.
“It feels kind of weird, this time last year I was banging doors down and then couldn’t hold on for the end of the season, this year I hope to build into it and be stronger for longer.
It was bad news though for James Elvery, crashing out when approaching transition at the end of the bike.
“I was really gutted to crash out after being in a great position the rest of the race. In the scramble for position coming into the transition area I manoeuvred my way into the top 10 but got caught on the outside of the bunch coming through the last tight section. The two guys on my inside collided and then smacked into me and I just went flying over the barriers. It really hurt, I smashed my face and was pretty sure my wrist and thumb were broken, but it turns out everything is ok, and I`m annoyed I didn’t carry on.