Despite having to serve a penalty for missing the pre race briefing, Rodrigo Gonzalez of Mexico overcame and won the inaugural Sarasota World Cup by a 7 seconds margin. The win was Gonzalez’s second World Cup victory and third World Cup podium of 2017.
“It was a pretty tough week,” Gonzalez told ITU media. “I raced last weekend [at the] Weihai [World Cup] and then was stuck in the Beijing airport, lost my bike in Dallas, got stuck in immigration for two hours and missed the briefing so I got the penalty. But I knew all of those things would make me stronger, so I am very glad I was able to use all of that. In my head I thought, ‘This is just another thing I have to go through,’ and I just am so happy that I was able to have a good race today.”
Marten Van Riel of Belgium took the silver, 7 seconds behind Gonzalez and outsprinting bronze medalist Kevin McDowell of the U.S. by 1 second.
“I am very happy to take the silver medal here,” Van Riel told ITU media. ”I didn’t expect it because the swim is one of my strong points and losing that in this race was a bummer for me. But I am just so happy for the second place.”
With temperatures soaring well above 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the mid afternoon, race organizers shortened the course. A day earlier organizer turned the event into a duathlon due to an unhealthy concentration of algae in the lake. Thus the men’s race was contested by a 2.5 kilometer run, an 18.3 kilometer bike leg and a final 5k run.
On the first run leg, Gonzalez and Mexican countryman Crisanto Grajales led the field. Knowing they had to serve a 10-seconds penalty after the first leg for missing the race briefing on Thursday, the duo minimized the damage and joined the lead pack on the bike leg.
Ben Kanute of the U.S. pushed hard but was unable to make a breakaway on the shortened, 3-lap section and the field entered T2 tightly bunched.
On the second run leg, Gonzalez and Grajales led the first lap, pursued by a pack that included McDowell, Van Riel, Jorik Van Egdom of Netherlands, Dmitry Polyanskiy of Russia, and Aurelien Raphael of France. On the final lap, Gonzalez pulled away, Grajales fell off the pace and Van Riel and McDowell passed and dueled for the silver.
Gonzalez led the field to the line to earn the Sarasota title, his second World Cup victory of the season after his triumph at Chengdu. While Van Riel claimed the silver, McDowell earned the U.S. Men’s National title.
Sarasota World Cup
October 8, 2017
R 2.5k / B 18.3k / R 5k
1. Rodrigo Gonzalez (MEX) 49:36
2. Marten Van Riel (BEL) 49:43
3. Kevin McDowell (USA) 49:44
4. Aurelien Raphael (FRA) 49:54
5. Diogo Sclebin (BRA) 49:56
6. Jorik Van Egdom (NED) 49:57
7. Ran Sagiv (ISR) 49:59
8. Crisanto Grajles (MEX) 50:00
9. Matthew Wright (B AR) 50:00
10. Tony Smoragiewicz (USA) 50:04
13. Tommy Zaferes (USA) 50:13
15. Ben Kanute (USA) 50:19
19. Jason West (USA) 50:45
20. Henri Schoeman (RSA) 50:50
23. Eli Hemming (USA) 50:55
25. Eric Lagerstrom (USA) 51:10
29. Collin Chartier (USA) 51:39
32. Hunter Lussi (USA) 52:20
36. Nicholas Sterghos (USA) 53:26
38. Tyson Wieland (USA) 55:32
41. William Huffman (USA) 58:33