Round five of the 2023 World Triathlon Championship Series saw the unique demands of super-sprint racing take to the streets of Hamburg, where the key to the qualifiers was to avoid the evening repechage, the key to the finals was to balance slugging it out for the chance to progress without burning all your matches. It was gripping, tactical and hugely entertaining from the get-go, with a masterclass in control from Cassandre Beaugrand and tactics from Hayden Wilde winning out.
As the Saturday’s three stages shaved off ten athletes apiece towards the ten-deep finale, the pressure ramped up and the performances just got better and better. Kristian Blummenfelt trying to wreck the legs of the quicker runners on the final 7.5km bike is some of the fastest these streets have seen, and you can watch it all back on demand over on TriathlonLive.tv, but for now, here are five of the big talking points from the WTCS Hamburg action.
You never bet against Lindemann in Germany
Hamburg crowds stand up! Half a dozen deep all over the course, packed grandstands and the kind of noise to get the hairs on the neck standing bolt upright every time the Mixed Relay team members came through transition, that was some performance on both sides of the blue carpet. The German Junior/U23 relay team showed the way, the elites followed suit and Laura Lindemann scored a FIFTH Series podium on home soil!
All of which means that in NINE individual WTCS Hamburg races, Lindemann has NEVER finished outside the top TEN, and only three times outside the TOP FIVE, plus her last three Mixed Relay appearances in the city have seen two golds and a bronze. Meanwhile, this year’s champ Cassandre Beaugrand has two golds and a silver from her last four appearance. Dominant.
Wilde wins first battle royale with Yee
It was an impressive late power move from Hayden Wilde who, by his own admission, had found the first stage difficult before rising to the occasion brilliantly in the third and final effort. Tucked in the middle of the bike pack at the bell, he attacked the last corner, earned two seconds of daylight over the pack and then doubled it with a flawless transition. Incredible concentration at the end of an intense schedule, and a warning shot across the bows of his world title rivals.
Juniors show the future is bright
After last year’s Junior World Championships were forced to the duathlon format in Montreal last year, few were happier than France’s Ilona Hadhoum to see no such issues this time around and she crushed all three segments to take the women’s title. The only wobble came as she hit T2 and nearly lost control just before the dismount, but after a brilliant save she brushed it off and hit the gas to power the 5km to gold.
In the men’s race, Joao Batista followed his brother Ricard to the top of the Junior Worlds podium in equally brilliant fashion. As the race boiled down to a three-way tussle between him, Nils Serre Gehri (FRA) and Mathis Beaulieu (CAN), there was one beautifully-timed surge left in Batista’s legs and he flew down the blue carpet to take the win.
Can she kick it? Gwen Jorgensen certainly can.
After missing out by one place to make it through the first qualifier, USA’s Gwen Jorgensen was determined not to have the same happen in her repechage. Well back off the bike and with only 1.75km to make it up, she picked off those in front to steam into fourth place with the second fastest run of the whole weekend in 5m38s, only Beaugrand going faster in that final stage.
For France’s impressive winner, her 1.75km run times through the three final stages showed impressive, consistent development: 5m57s - 5m44s - 5m30s, while In the men’s race, Vasco Vilaca’s 4m53s in the final stage to outsprint Alex Yee was the quickest of the weekend.
Variety is the spice of Tri life
The men’s WTCS Hamburg top 10 saw ten different nations represented. Among them was Csongor Lehmann of Hungary, continuing his excellent Series form straight off the back of a home World Cup win in Tiszaujvaros. With Tiszy also a two-day format, that made it SEVEN sprint and super-sprint races in 7 days for the 24-year-old including the relay. Some schedule.
tagsgwen jorgensen cassandre beaugrand kristian blummenfelt hayden wilde wtcs hamburg ilona hadhoum joao batista