I had a feeling after he had a bad race in Kona that this might happen. It is a much longer learning curve for some, even the GOAT has trouble at that first crack at Kona. It makes sense though, he can slot right back into where he was before, just with more guys around that pace now to deal with..
I'm surprised only in that he's not coming back to ITU and winning. He's just not. There are 5 guys who can easily out-run him now. And he and AB can't use the breakaway because they'll just be pulling the best athlete in ITU now with them- Luis. The only real guys who have issues now are Blumenfelt and Birtwhistle with their swims.
I said and thought Gomez would "struggle" in Kona, not because I don't think he's LC ready, I just think as you said- there's a feeling out period you need. Frodo coming in and just crushing Kona sorta skews the reality that Kona is a madame that you need to learn how to handle especially as I think LC racing now is much more deeper (of course this year Frodo didn't race so that was a big blow for competition of race). I'm not really sure what going back to ITU does for his ability as I think it just stunts LC development. Like you can't do IM training and WTS training, it just doesnt work that way....or should I say to excel at either. Sure you can do it, but your taking away from both top end records by doing it this way. They are just basically 2 different energy/racing styles that if he's truly moving back to ITU training and out of the LC focus, I think this only stunts his IM growth while imo not being a successful "return". I think he's much closer to 8th-10th than he is podium with the studs in ITU now. Of course 8-10 is hella good but I'm saying this idea of going for gold- yeah right.
Now Tokyo in all *liklihood* is designed to have a large group ride vs "breakaways" like Rio or Bermuda. There's 1 chance on the bike course when it goes through a small park and has some tight road that compresses, that's the only real part I see on the course that has any teeth. Which is why it pisses off many but at the same time for the U.S. this is the ideal course for the guys who can run (we have 2 guys who can run top 10 splits....now obviously not medal contender imo but it's a course that atleast gives them a shot to be at the front of the race from T2).
-USAT L2 coach, M.S. Exercise Physiology https://www.instagram.com/alloutmultisport http://www.aomultisport.com