Jacob Birtwhistle of Australia out sprinted Vincent Luis of France for the win at sprint distance WTS Hamburg.
While he was disappointed to lose the race, Luis broke out front in the season long WTS points chase by 438 points over Javier Gomez of Spain, who finished 8th, and 843 points over 3rd place Fernando Alarza of Spain, who was involved in one of the crashes and finished 45th.
On a rainy day in Hamburg, 12 men were involved in crashes on slick tight corners. But of the survivors, six men engaged in a hard fought duel for the last 2 kilometers.
With a mile to go, Mario Mola of Spain, Jake Birtwhistle of Australia, Vincent Luis of France, Jelle Geens of Belgium, Hayden Wilde of New Zealand and Leo Bergere of France ran in tight formation after shuffling and reshuffling the lead pack deck several times.
With 800 meters to go, Birtwhistle opened a small lead on Mola with Geens and Luis right behind as Wilde and Bergere fell back. With 500 meters to go, Birtwhistle and Luis broke away together from Geens and Mola. Approaching the blue finish carpet, Luis edged out front, then surrendered to Birtwhistle’s superior sprint which capped off a race-best 14:13 run split. .
Birtwhistle finished in 55:09 with a 1 seconds margin of victory over Luis and 4 seconds over 3rd place finisher Jelle Geens, coming off his breakthrough win last week at WTS Leeds.
While the street of Hamburg had dried out somewhat compared to the hard rain and sloshing streets of the women’s race, there was still a thin but dangerously slick layer on several of the 90-degree turns on Hamburg’s streets. First to hit the deck was young British super runner Alex Yee who derailed his chain while Tyler Mislawchuk of Canada and Casper Stornes of Norway also lost time untangling themselves from the mess. Adrien Briffod of Switzerland also hit the road and withdrew.
On lap three, Andreas Schilling of Denmark went down and 11 men smashed into the melee. Schilling and Bence Bicsak of Hungary, who suffered a broken leg, were transported to hospital and took the brunt of it. Jonathan Brownlee, Kristian Blummenfelt and Henri Schoeman could not continue. Thomas Bishop (38th) Marten Van Riel (9th) and Alarza (45th) managed to pick up and finish.
July 6, 2019
S 750m / B 21k / R 5k
1. Jacob Birtwhistle (AUS) 55:09 S 9:13 T1 00:37 B 30:45 T2 00:21 R 14:13
2. Vincent Luis (FRA) 55:10 S 8:59 T1 00:33 B 31:04 T2 00:19 R 14:15
3. Jelle Geens (BEL) 55:13 S 9:08 T1 00:35 B 30:53 T2 00:22 R 14:16
4. Mario Mola (ESP) 55:15 S 9:06 T1 00:40 B 30:50 T2 00:25 R 14:15
5. Leo Bergere (FRA) 55:17 S 9:03 T1 00:36 B 30:57 T2 00:21 R 14:21
6. Hayden Wilde (NZL) 55:20 S 9:14 T1 00:36 B 30:47 T2 00:19 R 14:25
7. Justus Nieschlag (GER) 55:25 S 9:03 T1 00:36 B 30:56 T2 00:20 R 14:31
8. Javier Gomez (ESP) 55:34 S 9:08 T1 00:36 B 30:53 T2 00:21 R 14:37
9. Marten Van Riel (BEL) 55:41 S 8:53 T1 00:36 B 31:08 T2 00:21 R 14:44
10. Ryan Sissons (NZL) 55:45 S 9:13 T1 00:35 B 30:47 T2 00:23 R 14:48
11. Gustav Iden (NOR) 55:45 Photo S 9:17 T1 00:36 B 30:45 T2 00:30 R 14:38
WTS Points Standings – Men
1. Vincent Luis (FRA) 4125
2. Javier Gomez (ESP) 3687
3. Fernando Alatza (ESP) 3282
4. Jacob Birtwhistle (AUS) 5. 3255
5. Mario Mola (ESO) 2971
6. Henri Schoeman (RSA) 2905
7. Leo Bergere (FRA) 2512
8. Jelle Geens (BEL) 2438
9. Bence Bicsak (HUN) 2348
10. Marten Van Riel (BEL) 2189