Three-stages of intense, dramatic super-sprint racing saw New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde come out on top and win a second successive WTCS Hamburg on Saturday afternoon in front of packed crowds that included the IOC President Thomas Bach.
Wilde had toiled in the first stage, having to do plenty of work on the bike to try and keep out of the pressure pit of the back of the race knowing only the top 20 would survive to stage two.
Jelle Geens and Matthew McElroy were among the first ten names eliminated, Vetle Bergvik Thorn likewise after a dismount line penalty cost him a place and saw Roberto Sanchez Mantecon through in 20th.
The second round was less frantic, though the pace was every bit as intense as Wilde again had to come from the back of the swim but found himself looking happier in the main bike group as 10 more names were shaved from the start list of the final round. Marten Van Riel, Manoel Messias and Tayler Reid were among the ten to go, the remaining names knowing that gold was within reach.
Blummenfelt bullet train
That was when Kristian Blummenfelt tried to wreck the legs of those around him with a dynamite bike display after Csongor Lehmann had led from the swim, but it was again Wilde who played his hand perfectly, sweeping the final bend and gaining precious seconds over the likes of Hauser, Yee and Blummenfelt that he then doubled thanks to a fluid transition, suddenly opening a gap that those behind could do nothing about.
That left a 1.75km run to glory for Wilde, his first lap clocking in 2 seconds quicker than Yee and enough of a margin for him to enjoy the blue carpet and the first time he had beaten Yee at a WTCS.
All of which sees Vasco Vilaça retaining his overall Series lead, Wilde moving ominously into second, Hauser sitting in third place with just WTCS Sunderland, the Paris test Event and the World Triathlon Championship Finals Pontevedra remaining in the Series.
“I had to do some work in that first round and the legs weren’t feeling too good but I was a bit more relaxed in the second out front, but my tactic was always to try and get a couple of seconds swinging round into transition and get away,” said Hayden Wilde. “It was a bit of a gamble and I normally fumble a bit in T2 then it was just keep pushing and keep pushing and got the win. Everyone’s upping their game and starting that race it was always going to be difficult to get it done.
“I’m not sure you can call it short distance when we’ve been here for three hours, but we got a bit of a break in the middle, it’s a long session, a long time under pressure not just physically but mentally as well,” said Vasco Vilaça. “This year has been amazing, better than I could have expected. This is where I want to be and I’m still missing that win but it’s the third podium this season and I’m very happy with it. Kristian was killing my legs on the bike and I could feel Alex’s shadow on that finish chute and went into another dimension to get the sprint and the finish!”
“It’s crazy this racing. I really enjoy it but it’s carnage, admitted Alex Yee. “Once you get to that last ten just racing against your mates it’s really enjoyable, Kristian doing a madness on the bike and my legs were in tatters, but it’s great racing. I’m very much preparing for Olympic distance at the moment so to come down to this was madness, but I loved it.”
Full results from all the stages can be found here.