Hamburg, Germany: Once again the crowds came out in force in
preparation for what was billed to be a spectacular race. Over 200,000 people
took to the streets of Hamburg today to cheer on their local boys and hope that
they could see a repeat performance of Anja Dittmer’s comfortable win yesterday
in the elite women’s event. Although the field was weakened due to many
post-Olympic commitments, over forty athletes lined the dive start from the Jungfesnstieg
into the Alster River.
Volodymyr Polikarpenko of the Ukraine, Seth Wealing of the USA, Stephane Poulat of France and Rasmus Henning of Denmark made quick progress in the swim, pulling away from the large pack in the early stages of the swim. At the end of the first swim lap, the leaders were joined by Kris Gemmell of New Zealand. There was no surprise when Polikarpenko began to stretch out the field on the second lap and it was a familiar site to see the big Ukrainian coming out ahead of the pack into the first transition. Polikarpenko who was followed closely by Poulat. Local boy Andreas Raelert was twenty seconds behind the rest of the field as they jockeyed for position out of transition one.
Filip Ospaly of the Czech Republic took the lead at the front of a very powerful bike group that included danger men like Rasmus Henning, Chris Hill and Polikarpenko. Although Hamburg has one of the flattest courses on the circuit, the big pack at the front appeared cautious as it completed the first 2 laps of the 8 lap, 40km bike course.
Laurent Vidal of France tired of the lumbering pace of the big pack as he initiated the first of many to breakaways off the front. Christien Weimer, one of the many talented German competitors in field went with Vidal, as did Italy’s Andrea D’Aquino
The trio at the front held off the huge chase pack until Polikarpenko and Germany’s Steffen Justus hauled the big group up to the leaders. At the moment that the leaders were caught Poland’s Marek Jaskolka and Steffen Justus broke off the front and got away from the big pack. The pair built up a small lead and held off the pack through the 4th lap to the delight of the home country crowd.
By the start of the 5th lap everyone was back together as Sebastien Dehmer made a break and was soon joined by Seth Wealing and Christian Ruderer of Germany. They seemed to have managed a serious breakaway until the 7th lap when they were finally caught by the pack.
Andreas Raelert of Germany, just coming off a 6th place finish on the challenging Athens Olympic Games course was the next to break from the pack and Maik Petzold and Allessandro De Gasperi of Italy were smart enough to go with him. By the bell lap they had a 55 second gap on the big pack – an amazing achievement. The gap on the chase group grew to 1:20 before they reached the bike to run transition.
The roar from the stadium when Maik Petzold exited the bike to run transition first must have had an effect on the Richter Scale, as hopes soared for a repeat of the young German’s victory at the Salford World Cup.
De Gasperi was second out of transition and for the first 5km ran side-by-side with Petzold. New Zealand’s Kris Gemmell was the first one from the chase group onto the run course.
A glance at the splits after the first lap sent a chill through the crowd as they realised that the Great Dane, Rasmus Henning, was closing in on their hometown hero at the front.
The view from the big screen showed Henning zooming in on the leaders, and by the 6km mark the deed was done. Henning romped home charged by the roars from the crowd who had now adopted him as their second cousin.
Petzold and De Gasperi ran out of gas on the last lap and were passed by a quartet charging up from the big pack, including Filip Ospaly, Kris Gemmell, Volodymyr Polikarpenko and Sabastien Dehmer.
Rasmus Henning made the win look like child’s play, but it was a different story for Polikarpenko and Ospaly who delighted the crowd with a sprint to the line to complete the podium. Kris Gemmell was 4th as the 3 German team-mates of Dehmer, Justus and Petzoid finished 5th to 7th respectively.
The Hamburg event was part of a superb weekend of World Cup action.
Triathlon World Cup action resumes in Madrid September 19th, when once again all the action will be covered on http://www.triathlon.org/
|Results: Elite Men|