Justin Gatlin shot arch-rival Usain Bolt a warning with a consummate performance in his 26th successive sprint victory on Thursday.
Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic 100m gold medallist and 2005 double world sprint champion who consequently served two doping bans before nailing the 2012 world 60m indoor title, Olympic bronze at the London Games and a world silver in Moscow a year later, is peaking perfectly for next month’s world champs in Beijing.
At the age of 33, there is no doubt the American is currently the sprinter to beat, and at the Diamond League meet he saw off his two closest rivals this season in teammate Tyson Gay and Jamaican Asafa Powell.
A smart start and impressive drive phase from 60 metres through to the line saw him clock 9.75 seconds, with Powell edging Gay for second, both timing 9.92sec.
“I used this as a semi-finals and Monaco (next week) will be a final, then I’ll go home and get ready for the world championships,” said Gatlin.
“No disrespect, I went into the race not thinking about my opponents, I just wanted to execute my phases.
“I had a traditional fast start, tried to dominate through the middle and carried on through to the finish line and that’s what I did.
“There’s no message to Usain Bolt, I just go out there and try and dominate.”