Jonathan Brownlee got his first victory of the season after performing a perfect race in 2017 ITU World Triathlon Stockholm. “A great swim, a breakaway on the bike and I pushed hard on the run”, as he said after the race. A perfect combination to redeem himself from his disappointing 4th place in the previous two races. After him, silver and bronze was decided on a sprint finish uphill, with Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) claiming the silver and Pierre Le Corre (FRA) bronze.
“It’s been a tough few months for me, and I guess that’s how it feels to feel normal again”, said Jonny after the race. “The swim didn’t hurt, the bike didn’t hurt, and the first laps of the run didn’t hurt. It only started hurting with 2 km to go, and that’s great. I hate having bad races, I hate finishing bad after races, so it feels great to be back again. It was nice to actually perform a full triathlon”.
The race started with an amazing day in Stockholm, sunny and warm, and 54 men taking the start on the pontoon in Riddarfjärden. As is becoming a tradition on the ITU circuit, Slovakian Richard Varga lead the squad during the 1500m swim. He was closely followed by one of the biggest favorites in Stockholm, the younger Brownlee, as well as Aaron Royle (AUS) and Andrea Salvisberg (SUI).
When they took off on their bikes, a group of seven riders tried to break away from the very outset. Brownlee, Royle, Dorian Coninx (FRA), Salvisberg, Jonas Schomburg (ITU), Justus Nieschlag (GER) and Varga, with Varga falling off the back of the pack on the first Royal Palace hill climb. The six remaining competitors built a strong rhythm in order to open a wide gap from the chasers. This worked quite well lap after lap and increased the gap to one minute.
Behind them, Mario Mola (ESP) and Kristian Blummenfelt led the chasing group working hard on the cobble stones of the old city. Uphill climbs and technical turns turned into a nightmare for some strong riders, including Spaniard Fernando Alarza, who crashed on the second lap.
When it all came to the run, Jonny Brownlee smashed the rest of the small group by performing an incredibly fast transition uphill. Only Royle and Nieschlag were able to keep up the pace, which meant that Jonny run solo for 10km. But right behind the duo, six men were aiming for a podium position: Mola, Blummenfelt, Ryan Sissons, Tom Bishop, Pierre Le Corre and Salvisberg.
On the bell lap, the six-man group chased Royle, Nieschlag and Mario, who were after Jonny, but the Spaniard was not able to keep up the pace for 2.5km and was also passed by Blummenfelt, Le Corre and Sissons. In the meantime, not looking back, Jonny climbed Royal Palace hill for the last time to earn his first victory of the season, which also means that he has won at least one WTS race every year since 2011.
18 seconds behind them, Blummenfelt and Le Corre sprinted on the last 100m, which is not what the Norwegian wanted but with a great end result for him. A second place that means he is now seated fifth on the overall WTS rankings, while Le Corre finished third, which is the same result as last year in Stockholm.
Behind them, a strong Sissons with an amazing performance, enough to grant him the 7th place on the overall rankings before the Grand Final in Rotterdam.
“It was a very, very hard last lap”, said Blummenfelt after the race. “I knew I had to be in front before the last hill, and even though I had to sprint at the end, it turned out alright”. For the Frenchman it was also an extremely hard few meters. “The hills were tough but I felt alright. I worked really well over the last few weeks, so I feel really confident for the coming races. It’s a good race for me, I’ll come back next year”, said Le Corre.
|Results: Elite Men|
|3.||Pierre Le Corre||FRA||01:49:28|