The Briton excelled in the Australian event with an incontestable dominance in the race that very few in the history of triathlon have been able to exercise
Photos: Delly Carr | ITU
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Jonathan broke the finishing tape again in his usual way – the way he likes. With his characteristic style. It was nothing but a metaphor for his race, for his racing style, for the approach he has shaped under the long shadow of his brother, Alistair; one which, when both are in form, has changed the rules of triathlon.
Jonathan fuelled the powerlessness of the rest of the field in Surfers Paradise. He dominated with a mature, yet risky and courageous style. With the presence of mind of his brother - who he “missed”, he said at the end of the race - on the bike, and alongside his trusty squire Varga, he went into the race with no rear-view mirror.
Why speculate on the race if I want to show that I’m the strongest in everything? That must be the goal that drives his performances and ignites his desire to make sure that the races are as tough as possible, to take the field onto the terrain where his superiority is made clear and fruitful.
Varga shares his approach. His pace broke up the race once again. Though it won’t be easy for him to claim a podium spot some day, the Slovak is undoubtedly a key element in how the competition shapes up in the WTS. Gómez Noya admitted being unaware of the four-man breakaway that included the Polyanskiy brothers.
With an energetic but not very aerodynamic style on the bike (why not use aerobars or at least dip a little against the wind?), Jonathan led the quartet, which played out of tune on the exit of virtually every turn. The Russian soloists... they did it their way.
Even so, behind them they were doing no better. Gómez Noya despaired at the lack of understanding, desire and legs of his little group. Mola, Murray and Co. were approaching to merge the chasing groups. The attrition of front-running began to take its toll on the final laps when the pursuers made up ground.
With just a 20-second lead at T2, Jonathan went out running at the same pace as the group under Mola’s command. After coming out of the water on Varga’s heels and a gruelling ride, Jonathan seemed cool as a cucumber behind his inscrutable expression. His display throughout the race can only be compared to a select few in the history of triathlon. Or perhaps only to some of his brother’s performances.
The battle raged behind. Mola, 2nd, claimed another great result, but with more than a minute lost in the water, he exposed his Achilles heel. Gómez Noya, 3rd, completed a “mediocre” race, he said at the end. He lost his bearings in the water and did not feel good throughout the triathlon. Even so, he climbed the podium. His consistency is hard to match, but it’s probably not enough for the title this year.
- For now, Jonathan has shown himself to be the strongest by far. And although a third of the 2015 WTS races are behind us, it’s a long season. The 2013 series, for instance, started in a very similar way. Later, Alistair joined the party and everything changed. In the end, Gómez made up for results like today’s to clinch the world title on the last straight.
- Jonathan, despite being one of the best triathletes of all time, is still grappling with his brother’s shadow. He transmits a feeling that he wants to prove that he is good, especially after his mistakes in Abu Dhabi. However, nobody doubts it. As the race commentator on Triathlon Live said, “It’s frustrating to be one of the best in the world but not the best in your family”.
- Since the late 90s when Australia had Macca, Welch, Stewart, etc. there has not been a country as strong as Spain is right now. Vicente Hernández continues to gradually move nearer to the podium in the WTS in the shadow of the best possible teacher, Gómez Noya, who he trains with. Note that he also broke the 30-minute barrier in the run. He’s there already.