GOMEZ RETURNS TO GLORY

Gomez and Ryf dom­i­nate pro­ceed­ings at the IM Dubai 70.3

Triathlon Plus - - Uptospeed -

iss­ing the Rio Olympics was a huge dis­ap­point­ment for Javier Gomez, so it will be a re­lief to fans to see him back on form in the first ma­jor race of the sea­son.

With his bro­ken el­bow (in­curred while cycling home from a train­ing run three weeks be­fore the Games) well and truly mended, plus a tough train­ing camp in Lan­zarote un­der his belt, the Brown­lees’ neme­sis was ready to make his de­but.

How­ever, even with last year’s cham­pion Jan Fro­deno out of the pic­ture (hav­ing just be­come a fa­ther to baby Luca, with wife

MEmma Snowsill), it wasn’t go­ing to be easy.

Af­ter a fast swim on an al­tered course, which saw him emerge 40 sec­onds be­hind the leader Josh Am­berger of Aus­tralia, he slipped back to fin­ish the bike in sixth place.

Clad in his new On Run­ning shoes, much to the de­light of the Swiss spon­sors, he carved out an im­pres­sive run, pick­ing off his ri­vals one by one and fin­ish­ing two min­utes ahead of sec­ond placed Am­berger.

Over in the women’s race Kaisa Le­hto­nen (FIN), last year’s Iron­man South Africa cham­pion, would have wel­comed shoes of any kind.

Af­ter en­ter­ing T2 in fourth place and hop­ing to bet­ter her third place fin­ish from last year, the 35-year-old was un­able to find her run­ning shoes.

Af­ter four fran­tic min­utes in tran­si­tion, the plucky ath­lete headed out in sev­enth place bare­foot be­fore a pair of shoes be­came avail­able.

In an im­pres­sive per­for­mance, Le­hto­nen clocked up the third fastest run split of the day (1:20:21).

“This episode took away a lot of en­ergy and time and missed the chance to go for podium,” she said after­wards. “Very frus­trat­ing. On the other hand the fit­ness level seemed to be even bet­ter than ex­pected.”

Up ahead, de­fend­ing cham­pion Daniela Ryf (SUI) was never in dan­ger of re­lin­quish­ing her crown. The Kona World Cham­pion ex­ited the wa­ter just three sec­onds be­hind El­lie Salt­house (AUS), then pro­ceeded to oblit­er­ate the rest of the field in true Ryf fash­ion.

Brit Emma Pal­lant churned out the fastest run split of the day (1:18:21) to take over­all fourth place.

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