By ITU Admin on 26/09/04 at 12:00 am
Luxford and Gemmell Win Gamagori Triathlon World
Gamagori, Japan: For immediate release: Nicole Hackett of Australia took an early lead in the 2 lap, 1500m swim with Laura Reback of the USA and Annabel Luxford of Australia a few seconds behind. By the swim to bike transition Hackett had a 2 second lead over Luxford and Reback and the current World Cup leader, Anja Dittmer of Germany.
The quartet linked up and immediately began to work like a well-oiled machine. By the end of the first lap of the six lap, 40km bike, they had a 45 second lead over Maxine Seear of Australia who was alone trying to bridge to the leaders. The large chase pack was already 1:53 back at this point and was led by Japans Maki Shimomura and Michelle Dillon of Great Britain, one of the best runners in the sport. But, with a 1:53 deficit after 10km on the bike, the odds of them catching the leaders was already disappearing.
Laura Reback dropped off the pace after the first lap as Luxford, Dittmer and Hackett formed a tight trio at the front. Maxine Seear, winner of the Ishigaki World Cup, was closing in on Reback and the leaders at the front.
At the 20km mark, Anja Dittmer was at the lead of the trio at the front as they charged past the stadium, with Nicole Hackett and Annabel Luxford tucked in behind. Maxine Seear had closed in on Reback and was just 7 seconds back, but they were over 2 minutes behind the leaders. The large pack was almost 3 minutes behind the leaders, which lead to speculation that the trio at the front would be the podium.
The chase pack led by Michelle Dillon caught Seear and Reback on the 4th lap and they pulled some time out of the leaders, but not enough to make a difference to the final results.
Nicole Hackett, in her first World Cup event of the season after taking time off to have a family, was the first through the bike to run transition and onto the 3 lap, 10km final run leg. Luxford and Dittmer were just seconds behind the 2000 World Champion.
Maki Shimomura was the first of the chase group through T2, but a formidable 3:05 back, with Debbie Tanner of New Zealand and Michelle Dillon on her heels.
Annabel Luxford, who has stood on many podium steps this season except the one at the top, took control of the run on the first lap as she gave notice to the others that this was her day.
By the 5km mark, the young Australian at the front had a commanding lead over the World Cup leader Anja Dittmer and Nicole Hackett. 24 seconds separated the leader from the chase pair as they did a see-saw battle for 2nd and 3rd. . Michelle Dillon ate up the run course making up 30 seconds on the first lap, but time had run out on any hopes that she had about catching the leaders.
Luxford romped home for the win in the shadow of the giant Ferris wheel, with resounding cheers from the fans around the stadium. Dittmer out-dueled Hackett for 2nd. Michelle Dillon had the fasters run split of the day at 35:12 to take 4th and Maxine Seear was 5th.
Anja Dittmer retained her lead in the World Cup, and it will take the final 2 World Cup events in Cancun and Rio to determine this years winner.
In the mens event, it was Steffen Justus and Jan Frodeno, both part of the new wave of young German athletes, who took an early lead in the swim, with Australias Courtney Atkinson and Japans Tsukasa Hirano close behind.
By the swim exit Andreas Raelert of Germany had moved up behind Justus who was the first through transition and onto the bike.
The 5 lap bike included a short but very challenging climb up to a giant gold Buddha at the top of the hill. Ryosuke Yamamoto of Japan delighted the home-country fans by breaking away from the large pack the first time up the hill and by the second lap he had created a gap of 24 seconds. Seth Wealing of the USA, Kris Gemmell of New Zealand and Steffen Justus fought at the front of the big chase pack and pulled Yamamoto back to 12 seconds by the end of the 3rd lap.
Gemmell and Raelert took advantage of the moment when the large pack relaxed after catching Yamamoto on the 4th lap to make a second break, and by the start of the bell lap they had a 52 second lead over the chase group which was led by Matt Reed of the USA and Stuart Hayes of Great Britain.
Raelert and Gemmell maintained their 50 second lead on the chase pack and enjoyed a clear transition, as Matt Reed and Stuart Hayes broke from the chase pack on the last lap and entered transition with a 40 second window before the big group arrived.
Raelert was the first one onto the run course, with Kris Gemmell 1 second behind. Reed and Hayes were just over 50 seconds back at this point. At the end of the 1st lap Dimitri Gaag of Kazakhstan, Bryce Quirk of Australia, and Sebastien Dehmer of Germany who suffered a 1:46 deficit after the bike had made up an incredible 35 seconds. Gaag dropped Dehmer and Quirk on the 2nd lap to close to within 37 seconds of the leaders. Reed also dropped off the pace as Gemmell and Raelert continued to run shoulder to shoulder at the front, with Hayes within striking distance of the leader.
At the bell lap, the drama at the front was driving the large crowd that lined the course into a frenzy. Stuart Hayes took the lead from Gemmell and Raelert, as Gaag closed in on the leaders.
Kris Gemmell, who stood on the sidelines watching his team and training mates win gold and silver in Athens a month ago, was the one who dug deeper than the rest to take the win his first ever in World Cup events. Dimitri Gaag, with the fastest run split of the day out sprinted Stuart Hayes for second and took a strangle hold on the lead of the World Cup Series. German team-mates Andreas Raelert and Sebastien Dehmer rounded out the top 5.
After the event, ITU President Les McDonald congratulated the Japan Triathlon Union and organisers of the Gamagori World Cup. With some fine tuning, this venue will make for a spectacular World Championships for elite, under 23 and junior in 2005. The addition of the hill around the Buddha and the new venue at Laguna Gamagori has made this one of the most interesting events on the circuit.
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World Cup action takes a few weeks off before resuming in Cancun, Mexico on 31 October, then its on to the World Cup finale in Rio on 7 November.
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