Brad Kahlefeldt has got his season off to a flying start after storming home to win the first World Cup title of the 2010 season in Mooloolaba. Kahlefeldt finished just ten seconds ahead of Great Britain’s Stuart Hayes, who put on a late charge to finish second. Aussie youngster James Seear finished in third, 16 seconds behind Hayes, after leading for the majority of the race.
The 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist carved out a swag of victories around that time and although he has mixed it with the best over the last few seasons, the top of the podium remained elusive.
“That’s actually my first World Cup win since Mooloolaba in 2007,” he said. “I’ve had so many podium finishes and photo finishes since then in some of the biggest races in the world, but that win has been a bit elusive in the last few years. I think I took winning for granted there for a while but it just gets harder and harder to win these big races. It’s good to get that winning feeling back and know that I finally cashed in on a good race.
Kahlefeldt’s win was built on experience and his trademark run, with he and Hayes running through from the chase pack to eventually swamp early leaders James Seear and Josh Amberger, who had worked hard out front together to open up a 1min 45sec lead over a big chase pack by the end of the undulating 40km bike leg.
A well credentialed pack of four quickly emerged as the main threat to the two leaders, with Kahlefeldt, Hayes, and Queensland pair Courtney Atkinson and Dan Wilson gradually pegging back the leaders.
“You have to respect this course,” Kahlefeldt said. “I’ve raced at a lot of courses around the world now and this is a tough course with one of the hardest run legs there is. Knowing it so well worked for me today and the crowd brought me home.”
Seear, the Under 23 World Championships silver medallist was the instigator of the charge and executed a brave and impressive race, leading until the 7km mark in the run before Kahlefeldt surged. The emerging Queenslander hung on to claim bronze and earn a plethora of high fives from fans down the home straight in what was his first ITU World Cup podium finish.
“There was no point sitting there and letting others dictate the race, so I thought I’d go out and try and take ownership of it,” said an ecstatic Seear. “I could see them coming on the big screen and I just couldn’t hold the pace, but to put in a race like that in front of this crowd was an honour and a privilege. I’m extremely happy to get on the podium.”
Atkinson, the defending champion, only just got to the start line after a debilitating stomach bug had stripped kilograms from his lean frame. He was typically solid in the 1500-metre surf swim, rode in the pack and looked threatening over the first half of the run before wilting to finish 11th.
“I went out and raced to win and actually felt quite comfortable and happy early in the run, but I eventually ran out of steam . . . you don’t like to fall away like that.”
1. Brad Kahlefeldt (Aust) 1:51:31
2. Stuart Hayes (Great Britain) 1:51:41
3. James Seear (Aust) 1:51:58
4. Dan Wilson (Aust) 1:52:17
5. Danylo Supunov (Ukraine) 1:52:37
6. David Hauss (France) 1:53:03
7. Ivan Rana (Spain) 1:53:16
8. Jamie Huggett (Aust) 1:53:21
9. Kevin Collington (USA) 1:53:25
10. David Dellow (Aust) 1:53:34