This Sunday, the World Triathlon Cup Vina del Mar sees all eyes turn to Chile as the country hosts its first ever race at this level ahead of what is set to be a glittering 2023 Pan American Games next October.
The beautiful beach town 140 miles west of the capital Santiago will close out the 2022 World Cup circuit, with 65 men set to line up to launch into the chilly South Pacific Ocean for the 750m swim.
A three-lap bike slices through along the straight coastal roads before passing the famous Casino and hitting a tight and technical section where the stronger bikers could find room for a break. Out of transition for a second time, a two-lap, 5km run will ultimately decide the winners of the year’s final World Cup medals.
The men’s race gets underway at 11.30am local time, and you can watch it all unfold live, or watch back on-demand at TriathlonLive.tv.
Wearing the number one for the first time will be Morocco’s Jawad Abdelmoula, the 28-year-old who lit up the South Korean World Cups this time last year and scored a brilliant first WTCS podium in Hamburg earlier this year. He will need to set things up with a strong swim in the cold Pacific if he is to close out this year with gold as he did last year, but his run form continues to impress.
Another, even more recent breakthrough Series race was Roberto Sanchez Mantecon’s bronze at WTCS Bermuda, the Spaniard running his way onto the podium ahead of the likes of Jelle Geens and Alex Yee and showing his potential at the top level. Sunday could either be a bridge too far for tired legs, or the perfect sprint-distance shakeout opportunity to continue the 26-year-old’s hot form.
The top-ranked Chilean on the start line is Diego Moya, the 24-year-old who has been flying the flag high for his country and will surely go into the Pan American Games as one of the favourites next year. Silver in the Americas Triathlon Champion Montevideo two weeks ago, he was also second here in Vina del Mar at the Americas Cup. Fully recovered from September’s nasty bike crash in Valencia, Moya will be revved up by the crowds for another big showing on Sunday.
One of the stories of the men’s race will be the return of Morgan Pearson for his first race since WTCS Abu Dhabi 2021. In flying form heading to Tokyo after his first Series podiums in Yokohama and Leeds, Pearson helped Team USA to Mixed Relay Olympic silver before injury struck and it has been a long road back. In the hunt at the pointy end of the race or not, it will be a precious benchmark at the end of a difficult year for the 29-year-old.
Alois Knabl put together a strong race in Bermuda to finish 17th that will set Austria’s former Youth Olympic Games bronze medallist on the road to Chile with the wind in his sails.
The 2022 FISU Champion Antonio Bravo Neto (BRA) continues to make a name for himself this year and the Americas U23 silver medallist will want to further establish himself among the current crop of Brazilian talent this weekend.
After racing hard and fast alongside Vincent Luis in Bermuda a week ago after a brilliant swim, Kyotaro Yoshikawa will have been pinching himself coming off the bike and out of T2 ahead of the Frenchman. The Japanese talent may have faded over the demanding 10km run, but will be raring to go over the sprint distance here.
Further Spanish medal hopes will be resting with David Castro Fajardo and Genis Grau, the latter picking up a fine win in the Huatulco heat in June, he and Castro both packing potent run power that could fire them towards another podium.
Three men will represent the ASICS World Triathlon Team - where selected athletes from smaller NFs receive financial, practical and training support for their race - for the squad’s third outing of 2022. Alvaro Campos Solano (CRC) and Badr Siwane (MAR) will join Abdelmoula on the start line, with Costa Rican coach Roberto Solano also part of the development group hitting Vina del Mar.
For the full line up, click here.