ITU Triathlon World Championships, Lausanne, Switzerland
the ITU champion
Lessing's business-like talent masters Lausanne and
the ITU's draft-legal vision of marketable triathlon.
Lessing is cool and confident.
money says that Simon Lessing will be one of the first
swimmers out of the water. He is also a savvy
biker who knows how to work a pack and conserve energy
when needed. Perhaps most important, he is
consistently the fastest runner on the circuit,
capable of producing a sub 14-minute 5k. He is
arguably the best draft-legal triathlete in the world
Lessing proved that once again
August 29 in Lausanne, Switzerland, by producing a
calculated race that looked like just another day at
Fourth out of the water Lessing
joined a pack of riders gunning for Australia's Craig
Walton, 20 seconds ahead and biking with reckless
abandon in hopes of staying there. Walton's lead
gradually began to erode under advances by the loosely
knit pursuit pack until the third lap of the bike when
his go-for-broke style sent him careening off course
and onto the asphalt. An attempt to reenter the action
proved futile and Walton exited the race leaving
Lessing, Hamish Carter and a handful of others
returning to the center of Lausanne to duke it out in
A larger and more disciplined chase pack harboring
defending champion Chris McCormack, fellow Australians
Greg Bennett, Miles Stewart and New Zealander Paul
Amey swallowed up the leaders in the final lap of the
bike, once more turning the ITU's championship into a
positioned himself perfectly for the run, Lessing
called upon his greatest asset, his legs, to do their
job. Though not first out of the transition, Lessing
quickly cruised into a comfortable lead where he could
control the outcome of the race, leaving the leftovers
for the mortals in the field.
A surprised Carter watched teammate
Amey move away in the final two kilometers and then
was stunned as a gritty Stewart dug deep to move past
into third. As he made the last turn into the finish
chute Carter saw Amey cross the line for a silver
medal and then watched Stewart raise his arm to the
crowd to announce his unexpected third place finish.
Lessing strolls over the finish.
Amey crosses the line with Miles Steward and Hamish
Carter in tow.
"I think we were lucky there were a lot of
Australians in the second group [of bikers],"
Stewart said after the race. " We were able to
work together. I had to do a lot of work on the bike
to catch up."
But there was no way anyone could
catch Lessing, who has been training with
Olympic-class runners. With casual ease Lessing
virtually strolled into the finish. "With the
training that I've been doing this year I think I'm
capable of running a 13:45 or 14-minute five
thousand," said Lessing. He added a fourth title
to his list of world wins by finishing in 1:55:30.
for Wes Hobson's day also rested in the run. Only 20
seconds behind the eventual winners after the swim,
Hobson logged a strong bike with the main chase pack
and returned to the transition with the leaders.
However, his 35:10 10k was no match for Lessing's
31:14 or the 32s turned in by the rest of the top ten.
He finished his day 4:02 out in 23rd place.
Ryan Bolton, struggling with a one-minute deficit
following the swim, fell well behind the lead bikers.
Still, his 33 minute run pulled him to within four
seconds of Hobson for a 24th place finish. Jimmy
Riccitello was also frustrated by the swim and crossed
the finish in 2:00:26 as the third American. Other US
athletes: Marcel Vifian 35th, Abe Rogers 61st, Andy
Hobson runs for the top American finish.
Rules as Queen of Worlds
women rule as a hard-working US fights to two top
tens and a team second.
was no surprise that Barb Lindquist exited the chilly
water of Lac Leman a minute before the rest of the
field. And it was no surprise when she was
quickly gobbled up by a small chase pack
consisting of the likes of Michellie Jones, Loretta
Harrop and Isabelle Mouthon. But few predicted the
surprises that were rolling along with that
pack of lead riders.
For starters, two Americans, Gail
Laurence and Susan Bartholomew, joined Lindquist with
the front riders. Working together, they would help
pull the US to two top-ten finishes and a second
in the overall team competition.
Lindquist and Gail Laurence pull the lead pack
over the cobblestone and out of the 17 percent
narrows in old Lausanne.
But the biggest surprise would come from two riders
lurking back in the pack-- Australian Joanne King,
racing for the first time as a pro at world
championships, and New Zealander Evelyn
Williamson, racing in her third world event. The
two were preparing personal bests to steal a
piece of the stage from the race favorites.
One of those favorites, defending champion Emma
Carney--struggling since early season with an
energy-sapping virus--fell out of touch with the
leaders during the swim and then fell victim to a
broken cable on the bike. The woman who dominated
triathlon in '97 would once more watch her competition
climb onto the podium in '98.
was the first off her bike into the run
transition, but Jones quickly took charge of the group
as it left Stade de Vidy and headed out along Avenue
de Rhodanie toward the 3k turn around at the Olympic
Museum. The run consisted of one 6k loop followed by
two 2k loops. The runners would pass through the
finish area twice before making a final return up the
King soon settled in with Jones and the two began to
pace themselves away from the field. As the pair
passed the 5k mark, King was beginning to pressure
Jones; she got serious as they started the last loop.
Fearing Jones would out sprint her if they ran into
the last 100 meters together, King pulled away,
opening up a half-minute gap over the final two
kilometers. She finished in 2:07:25, nearly 38 seconds
ahead of her teammate.
"I was really hoping for a
good race," King said after her victory.
"Top five was something I've dreamed of.
Finishing first was a dream come true." The new
champion said the bike was a challenge and she was
unable to take a turn pulling the lead group
through the hills. "Luckily the run was a flat
run. I tend to do well on the flat runs. I can get
myself into a bit of a routine. At the last ITU race I
raced Michellie and we ran together until the last
sprint finish. I knew if it had to come to that it was
going to be pretty close so I was hoping that I'd be
able to drop her before a sprint finish."
King pressures Michelle Jones into the 5k mark on the
That's just what Williamson was doing with Harrop and
Mouton. While King was making her move on Jones,
Williamson was adding to her lead in the battle for
third place. No one was more surprised than Williamson
when she crossed the finish to earn her bronze. One of
the first things she did following the race was to
find a cellular phone and call home. "Yeah mum, I
did good," she told her mother. "I came
it out for a team 2nd
Lindquist and Bartholomew were fighting to stay ahead
of Belgium's Suys Mieke and Switzerland's Natascha
Badmann. Mieke and Badmann had been playing catch up
since the swim and were capitalizing on the run to
gain ground on the Americans. The US duo had
already watched Jackie Gallagher overtake them with a
run split second only to King's, but the finish line
appeared in time to net Lindquist a seventh place
finish with Bartholomew 15 seconds behind in eighth.
Lindquist, the top swimmer in the
field and a solid rider, needed a good
run. "That's something that I really wanted
for this race, was just to feel good on the run,"
she said after crossing the line. "The bike was
obviously a little easier than usual because we had a
pack. Usually it's just two of us, and so I think that
gave me the opportunity to have a good run."
Lindquist's run will need to
improve for her to rise in the ranks. "I'm
definitely going back to Australia to do the Formula
One this winter, and then just hopefully continue to
build my run. I still need to work on my technique and
I also just need to get more miles in and work on my
"I have to say that my teammates in the group,
the bike pack, did a lot of work, I was really
impressed with how they rode. They pulled a lot in
that group to get the lead. I'm just happy the US team
is second place overall."
Siri Lindley, having to
struggle through much of the hilly bike course without
help, contributed to that second place finish by
toughing it out into 15th while Laurence, after
pulling through much of the ride just missed a top-20
finish and ended the day in 21st place. Jill Newman
USAT champion Jennifer Gutierrez
watched the air go out of her race-day hopes when she
suffered a flat tire on the last tour of the four-loop
Bartholomew guides the lead pack into the run
worlds results women
Brits Heirs to the Thrones
juniors from down under and their cousins to the north
claim nine of the top 10 men's and women's slots.
to place a junior male was the only sad spot for the
Australians last year in Perth. In Lausanne, it looked
like the boys from down under would take first and
second, that is until Brit Tim Don ran away from the
field in 32:57.
Don's time of 1:59:09 was
0:37 ahead of Bryce Quirk and 0:42 in front of Levi
Maxwell, both Australians. Stuart Hayes, Great
Britain, was less than a second behind Maxwell and
another Aussie, Courtney Atkinson, rounded out the top
The British needed a
defection to place in the junior women's race. With
Australian Nicole Hackett taking the junior title for
the second year in a row in 2:13:17 and teammate
Rebekah Keat placing second, Britain pulled off a
third with Beth Thomson--who placed second racing for
Australia last year. Another Australian, Melanie
Mitchell was fourth. Only Swiss junior Nicola Spirig's
fifth place finish prevented the British and
Australians from sweeping the top-five.
Don anchored his Junior win with a 32:56.6 run.
Fleischmann contemplates the physical and emotional
pain of worlds.
brought Brian Fleischmann limping across the finish in
29th place and put him in a cast after the race. The
top American junior blamed a painful run on new
running shoes and too much walking about Lausanne.
Fleischmann left the water
within reach of the lead group and hung in with the
pack for most of the bike. "I was having a good
ride," he said. "I just wanted to be in the
pack the whole time. I sat in a lot. I didn't do too
much work. I definitely have to work on cornering and
turning, but I caught back up fairly well."
junior women wait for the start of their swim.
Although last into the transition off the main pack,
Fleischmann was still within reach of a top-15 finish
before he was reeled in by his injury. "I was
having a good first half of the run then my ankle just
started getting to me real bad," he explained.
Fleischmann finished in 2:06:15.
Fleischmann, who won USAT
Junior Nationals in Clermont, Florida, foresees a
winter of work. "I'm going to run cross country
for FSU and get back on the bike in the winter and
hopefully improve, definitely on the bike, and the
Bryan Rother, second to
Fleischmann in Clermont, finished as the second
American in Lausanne in 31st place. Nicholas Cady was
the third American junior male.
Sara Brinkley was the top
American junior woman in 26th place with a time of
2:26:54. Courtney Benningson crossed the line 1:16
later and Suzy McCullock appeared 16 seconds after