New Zealand’s sensation Hayden Wilde put up another magnificent show on display to claim the second World Triathlon Championship Series victory of his career this Saturday in Hamburg. The young Kiwi run to the victory without looking back to also claim the leadership of the Maurice Lacroix World Triathlon Championship Series Rankings, while Australia’s Matthew Hauser crossed the finish line in second place. Also historic was the third place for Jawad Abdelmoula, giving Morocco its first ever podium at the Series.
Another full start list on the men’s race for the 2022 Hamburg Wasser World Triathlon Championship Series, with a stacked field of Olympic medallists, World Champions and breakthrough talent ready to take the stage for another magnificent edition of one of the more classic races in the World Triathlon calendar.
It was Leo Bergere (FRA), wearing number 1 today, who had the privilege of choosing the first spot on the pontoon, with some other great swimmers like Vincent Luis (FRA), Matthew Hauser or Mark Devay (HUN) well situated to start the race. But it was clear before they even made it to the first buoy that Luis wanted to be the first one out of the water. Along with him was another Frenchman, Valentin Morlec, with Devay, Dylan Maccollough (NZL), Kenji Nener (JPN) and Jamie Riddle (RSA) right on their feet, a couple of meters ahead of the large group that entered the 40m tunnel before the swim exit all together.
Swimming through the tunnel -not an easy task for newcomers in Hamburg- seemed an easy task for Luis and his lead group, who exited the water with a 28 seconds difference over some of his direct rivals, the likes of Jelle Geens (BEL), Hayden Wilde, Mario Mola (ESP) or Bence Bicsak (HUN).
Luis and Morlec seemed determined to try another edition of a breakaway like the one he performed in Leeds along with leo Bergere, this time with Morlec, but their hopes quickly vanished after the first chasers, a group of 13 men, trapped them even before the end of the first of the six bike laps. Behind them, Geens and Wilde took turns up front trying to reduce the 10 seconds gap they had with the leaders, and the efforts paid off on the second lap, when a large train of over 30 athletes was formed and some of the stronger riders either stayed safe at the back of the group or pushed up front to avoid possible crashes.
It was then when Riddle tried his luck and decided to change the dynamics that seems to be normal nowadays: large packs on the bike with everything to be decided in the last run. But the young South african, an excellent swimmer and strong biker, pushed hard and managed to open up a gap that by the time that the peloton reacted, it was almost 10 seconds.
Riddle rode solo for two and a half laps, with the group of chasers not looking very interested on pushing really hard but also not allowing his gap to increase, until with only 2 laps to go, Wilde, Jonas Schomburg (GER), Luis and Geens added one extra gear and ended Riddles dream of making it to transition by himself.
The young triathlete managed to stay in the lead group, though, and all together they entered the blue carpet, a messy one with over thirty athletes trying to put their bikes on their racks and get quickly on their shoes. Wilde was not one of the fastest ones in T2, last one to start to run, and with another fast runner like Jelle Geens leaving in the first place. But the Kiwi managed to start quickly to gain positions, and by the time the athletes were about to finish the first of two laps, a small pack of seven was stretching the field, with Hauser leading the group, followed by Bergere, Geens, Wilde, Tom Richard (FRA), Luis and Jawad Abdelmoula.
it was right then, with transition on sight but still 2.5k to go, when Wilde made his move and passed everyone to never look back, only Hauser able to follow. The Kiwi showed again his magnificent running form to claim the victory, with a run split of 14.07, one of the fastest in Hamburg history. A victory that also puts him on top of the Maurice Lacroix World Triathlon Championship Series Rankings. “It was pretty hard to get through everyone today, it was actually full-on on the bike so I just had to stay calm and in position, knowing that we had a good group to catch up in front with that head-wind, it paid up pretty well. Having a rusty T2, a lot of people coming in at the same time, but it actually worked in my favour, going out there’s a hit of a head-wind so I got to tuck into a few athletes until we got the tail-wind on the run. Then halfway, I kicked an attack and tried to hold on and got the win today, ” explained Wilde.
Behind the pair, Bergere was managing to stay in the third place, but with Abdelmoula and Geens looking fresh and fast as the meters went by. The Moroccan triathlete showed his running class dropping Geens and starting to chase Bergere, to eventually catch him when both of them had the finish line on sight, and with an extra push managing to sprint the Frenchman to claim his first ever WTCS podium, historical one for his country, who had never before being on a podium of this level.
“I am very stoked, it’s been in my mind for a long time (this result)”, said Hauser. “I had a great result in Yokohama, I was able to show my run form then. I felt something special out there today. It is my first time here since 2017 when I won Junior Worlds and Mixed Team Relay Worlds, it’s a special place for me”, he explained.
An amaze Abdelmoula just couldn’t believe that he had just finished in third place. “Oh wow, I am very happy to take third place, I am really happy. It’s a good place here in Hamburg. Leo Bergere is a very strong athlete, I am really happy that I was able to catch him in the final stage of the run. I didn’t know if I had got third place until I finished and someone told me, ” he said.
Bergere finished in the fourth place, with Geens rounding up the top 5. Behind them, another Frenchman, Tom Richard, while Vasco Vilaca and Joao Silva, both Portuguese, followed, and Vetle Bergsvik Thorn (NOR) close behind them. Germany’s Lasse Luhrs closed the top 10 with the best position for a local athlete of the day.