Olympic silver medallist Javier Gomez was dealt a tough hand this week at IRONMAN 70.3 Taupō, as a puncture and a penalty meant the IRONMAN 70.3 Mossel Bay winner was unable to end his season with back-to-back wins.
After a tough period since winning IRONMAN 70.3 Pucon in January 2022, the multiple time World Champion had overcome an incredible amount of adversity just to get back to the start line, with the 40 year old making his first appearance in over 18 months back in September.
But things are looking up for the short course legend despite the weekend’s disappointment, as he heads into a huge year of long course triathlon.
“I wasn’t mentally in the race anymore”
After leading out of the water and setting the pace early on in the bike, Gomez recounts how he was given a shock drafting penalty 55km into the bike, the first of his career, which was the beginning of the end after what had been a great day up to that point.
“At IRONMAN 70.3 Taupo the day started well with a solid swim, coming 1st out of the water. From the beginning of the bike a group of 3 of us got away, led by a super strong Kyle Smith, producing enough watts to light up Taupo at night.
“We were in a great race situation. But at about km 55, after a U turn point, I was told that I had a blue card for drafting. I completely disagree with the penalty but there wasn’t much I could do other than stop and serve my five minute penalty, for the first time in my career.”
After serving the penalty, Gomez was ready to get into transition and finish the race, but after just a couple more kilometres, disaster struck as he punctured and decided to end his race.
“When I got back on the bike I wasn’t mentally in the race anymore, to be honest, and I just wanted to get to T2, do the run and finish the race. But to make the day a bit worse, a few kilometres later I got a flat tire so I just called it a day. Better races will come.”