BEIJING: Germany’s Jan Frodeno sprinted down the final straight to claim a shock win after a thrilling Olympic Games men’s triathlon on Tuesday.
Frodeno, 27, passed Canada’s 2000 gold medallist Simon Whitfield with just metres left, finishing in 1hr 48min 53sec.
Athens silver-medallist Bevan Docherty of New Zealand took bronze while there was heartbreak for hot favourite Javier Gomez, triathlon’s “Tiger Woods,” who was relegated to fourth.
The six-foot-three (1.94-metres) Frodeno was nobody’s pre-race tip with a relatively modest record including 13 top-10 World Cup finishes and last year’s German national title.
But he put on a devastating burst of speed to run down Whitfield and leave Gomez and Docherty trailing.
The four had been neck-and-neck entering the stadium but world champion Gomez faded at the final turn, dashing the Spaniard’s hopes of a first Olympic medal.
Earlier, Russia’s Alexander Bryukhankov led out the swim but it was New Zealander Shane Reed who landed first and made it through the transition followed by Frederic Belaube of France with Gomez not far behind.
Luxembourg’s Dirk Bockel and Axel Zeebroek of Belgium broke away on the bike leg and established a lead of nearly a minute on the favourites going into the run.
Their advantage was chopped to just 20 seconds by the end of lap one and it disappeared entirely in the next lap as Gomez and Spanish team-mate Ivan Rana hit the front.
The smart money was on Gomez, 25, who has four World Cup victories this season after winning the series for the past two years running. He also won last year’s World Cup race on this course.
But the expected surge never came as he was tracked all the way by Frodeno, Whitfield and Docherty, and ran out of steam at the last.
The 1.5-kilometre swim, 40-kilometre cycle and 10-kilometre run was held at the scenic Ming Tomb Reservoir near Beijing in steamy temperatures of about 28 C.
Australia’s Emma Snowsill took women’s gold on Monday in a time of 1:58:27.
Channel News Asia