Gomez, Fernandes dominate Olympic test event

By World Triathlon Admin | 18 Sep, 2007

Less than one year to go until the Beijing Olympics and the new world champion Vanessa Fernandes has made a serious name for herself with a convincing win at the Beijing BG Triathlon World Cup with a time of 2 hours and 36 seconds. Aussie Emma Snowsill ran herself into second place, more than a full minute behind while Laura Bennett came third, an exact replica of the podium at the Hamburg BG Triathlon World Championships two weeks ago. As the top American today, Bennett earns an automatic spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

For me this was a test, to see what I have to do to be better for next year.  Only in the Olympic Games, the winner is the best, said Fernandes, who secured the world cup series title with her win today.  I dont have what I want yet.  I have to work for the Olympics.

The world number one turned 22 years old yesterday and celebrated it with her third consecutive Beijing world cup title. In a dominating season in which she has won every major title including world championships and European championships, Fernandes has to be considered the gold standard in womens triathlon as the worlds best continue to push towards next years Olympics in Beijing.

Nervous energy was evident from the start of the non-wetsuit swim as half the women dove into the water before the starters horn. The athletes swam hard for about a hundred meters before officials stopped them and directed them back to the pontoon. When they finally did get off to a clean start, it was the American women who surged to the lead. Sara McLarty, Sarah Haskins and Laura Bennett led the women out of the water and into the first transition. Three-time world champion Emma Snowsill and Fernandes were not far behind as the leaders headed out onto the 40-kilometer bike course.

Early in the bike, Snowsill and Fernandes pushed to the front of the lead pack, clearly not afraid to put in the work to break away. The front group that also included German Joelle Franzmann and Pan American Games gold medalist Julie Ertel (formerly Swail) established a 43-second lead after the first lap. But the lead dissolved by the start of the fourth lap as the two packs merged, resulting in 30 women riding within five seconds of each other. With no riders attempting to break away in the final two laps of the bike, this race was going to come down to the 10-kilometer run.

When there is so many people coming into transition and bikes are flying everywhere, its a matter of getting out in front in those transitions and not losing that time, said Snowsill after a slow second transition cost her 10 seconds on the leaders.

As the came off their bikes, Ricarda Lisk of Germany and Bennett were first out of transition but within seconds, they watched Fernandes explode past them to steal the lead. Bennett tried to stay with her early but after the first lap, the world number one broke away and manufactured a 15-second lead. By the second lap, Fernandes opened up a 42-second gap and it was unlikely any woman, even Snowsill, was going to catch her.

I love to run with Emma.  To me she is the perfect athlete and is a way for me to see where I am and what I have to do, stated Fernandes after her devastating 34:16 run.

Weve had that head to head going.  One or the other, but its either not the right time in the season or something is not quite 100%, commented Snowsill on the ongoing battle between herself and Fernandes.  I think come Games time we will both be 110% and that is something we are both looking forward to.  Today the battle was with myself in turns of can I survive the race.  Shes on top of her game at the moment and Im not.

Fernandes crossed the line more than a full minute ahead of Snowsill to win her 18th world cup win and the officially test even for the Olympics. In a riveting race that had many Olympic spots on the line, Debbie Tanner and Samantha Warriner qualified for the New Zealand team as the top two Kiwis today.

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In the men’s field, world number one Javier Gomez of Spain left little doubt hes the man to beat as the worlds best continue to push towards next summers Olympic Games.  While Olympic gold may not have been on the line this time, Gomez gained a psychological edge over his competitors by winning todays Beijing BG Triathlon World Cup, the official Olympic test event.

A world championship caliber field lined the pontoon, many seeking a spot on their own Olympic team as several National Federations have designated this world cup as a key qualified in their selection process.  Powerful American swimmer Andy Potts exited the water in the lead as he often does in races.  Just ten seconds behind him was world number one Javier Gomez.  A further four seconds back was a host of serious podium threats including last years winner Frederic Belaubre, 2005 winner Hunter Kemper, Aussie Courtney Atkinson and Canadian Simon Whitfield.

Out onto the 40-kilometer bike course, the drama began early as 2006 world champion Tim Don was forced to withdraw after a crash with Omar Tayara of Syria.  They were two of a dozen men who pulled out during the tough 6-lap course.  With as many as 61 riders within ten seconds of each other, a few men tried to break away including New Zealand veteran Shane Reed and Brit Will Clarke but both were eventually brought back to the lead group.

Out of the second transition, former world champion Ivan Rana took the early lead but it wasnt long before he was passed by his teammate, Gomez.  The European champion laid down a scorching pace and immediately surged to an insurmountable lead.  Whitfield, the 2000 Olympic champion, tried to go with the leader but after the second lap, the Spaniard opened up a 21-second lead.  Already a winner of three world cups this year and known as one of the greatest runners in triathlon, he ran his first lap of 2.5 kilometers in about 6 minutes and 40 seconds.  Taking the bell lap, Gomez owned a 30-second lead and it was clearly evident no other man in the field would catch him.  He absolutely hammered the Olympic course with the days best run split as he came across the line as the victor.

After Gomez, the battle was on for silver and bronze.  Atkinson out-sprinted Olympic silver medalist Bevan Docherty down the stretch for the silver medal.  Kris Gemmell came across the line in fourth place, missing the podium but earning an Olympic spot along with Docherty as the top two Kiwis.  It was also a big day for Jarrod Shoemaker as he also earns an Olympic spot as the top American today, beating out Olympic veterans Potts and Kemper.  Whitfield rounded out the top five while Belaubre failed to make the Beijing podium for the first time. 

2007 Beijing BG Triathlon World Cup Final Mens Results:
1st Javier Gomez (ESP) 1:48:41
2nd Courtney Atkinson (AUS) 1:49:04
3rd Bevan Docherty (NZL) 1:49:08
4th Kris Gemmell (NZL) 1:49:15
5th Simon Whitfield (CAN) 1:49:18
6th Ivan Rana (ESP) 1:49:23
7th William Clarke (GBR) 1:49:26
8th Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS) 1:49:34
9th Frederic Belabure (FRA) 1:49:37
10th Jan Frodeno (GER) 1:49:44

As the official test event for the Olympic Games, many National Federations are using this world cup as part of their selection process. 

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Related Event: 2007 Beijing BG Triathlon World Cup
15 - Sep, 2007 • event pageall results
Results: Elite Men
1. Javier Gomez Noya ESP 01:48:41
2. Courtney Atkinson AUS 01:49:04
3. Bevan Docherty NZL 01:49:08
4. Kris Gemmell NZL 01:49:15
5. Simon Whitfield CAN 01:49:18
6. Ivan Raña Fuentes ESP 01:49:23
7. William Clarke GBR 01:49:26
8. Brad Kahlefeldt AUS 01:49:34
9. Frederic Belaubre FRA 01:49:37
10. Jan Frodeno GER 01:49:44
Results: Elite Women
1. Vanessa Fernandes POR 02:00:36
2. Emma Snowsill AUS 02:01:51
3. Laura Bennett USA 02:02:06
4. Debbie Tanner NZL 02:02:10
5. Anja Dittmer GER 02:02:43
6. Samantha Warriner NZL 02:02:45
7. Nicola Spirig SUI 02:02:46
8. Emma Moffatt AUS 02:02:55
9. Elizabeth May LUX 02:03:09
10. Felicity Abram AUS 02:03:16
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