Vincent Luis maintains his dominance
Vincent Luis of France cemented his place as the top threat among WTS men competitors – a place earned with wins at the 2019 season long WTS World Championship, the 2020 single day WTS World Championship and now the 2020 World Cup season opener at Karlovy Vary.
After a 2 seconds victory last weekend at Hamburg over rising star Vasco Vilaca, Luis and the Portuguese newcomer hooked up in another duel Sunday in the Czech Republic in which the French repeat World Champion prevailed by a 4 seconds margin.
“It’s really nice to race as the World Champ,” Luis told ITU media. “Karlovy Vary is a great race and a tough one that really rewards the best swim-bike-runner. I was really happy with the group on the bike and it was a shame that [Kenji Nener and Mark Devay] crashed there with 1km to go, but it’s the kind of race I like; a quick breakaway on the bike and then a fight against the top runners.”
Luis started his day with a race-best 17:19 swim in Rolava Lake that gave him a one second lead on the next-best swimmer and 15 seconds on top rival Vilaca. After a breakaway, Jonas Breinlinger of Germany, Vilaca and Luis emerged from T2 in a tight three-man pack that was 25 seconds ahead of Jonas Schomburg of Germany, and 65 seconds ahead of chasers including Richard Murray of South Africa, Jelle Geens of Belgium, then then Bence Bicsak of Hungary and Ben Dijkstra of Great Britain.
By the end of the first of four laps of the run, Luis and Vilaca ran shoulder-to-shoulder to leave Breinlinger behind. Gradually, Luis pulled away from Vilaca to finish in 1:52:14 with a 31:28 10k that was 7 seconds better than his Portuguese rival.
“It’s two hours of extreme pain,” Vilaca told ITU media. “I don’t know how I did it, I just thought ‘Keep digging – one more stroke on the swim, one more lap on the bike, one more km on the run.’ “I’ve never been in a group that worked so well together, but then putting the shoes on I cramped up and didn’t know what I could do, so I waited to see if my legs would recover and then after two laps I started to get back into it.”
Jelle Geens of Belgium closed hard with a race-best 30:46 10k to take the final spot on the podium, 14 seconds behind Vilaca. Murray ran a 2nd-fastest 31:06 split to finish 4th, 20 seconds behind Geens.
“The swim was very rough,” Geens told ITU media. “I had to really cross from left to right to that first buoy. We started out quite strong on the bike but then I was getting annoyed with some of the people in the group. On the run I was still frustrated and said to myself ‘No one is going to outrun me.’ But I couldn’t quite get the second I wanted.”
1. Vincent Luis (FRA) S 17:19 T1 00:27 B 1:02:35 T2 00:26 R 31:28 TOT 1:52:14
2. Vasco Vilaca (POR) S 17:34 T1 00:28 B 1:02:18 T2 00:25 R 31:35 TOT 1:52:20
3. Jelle Geens (BEL) S 18:29 T1 00:28 B 1:02:29 T2 00:24 R 30:46 TOT 1:52:34
4. Richard Murray (RSA) S 18:17 T1 00:27 B 1:02:43 T2 00:23 R 31:06 TOT 1:52:54
5. Bence Bicsák (HUN) S 17:32 T1 00:29 B 1:03:26 T2 00:25 R 31:17 TOT 1:53:06
6. Antonio Serrat Seoane (ESP) S 18:08 T1 00:31 B 1:02:53 T2 00:24 R 31:36 TOT 1:53:30
7. Genis Grau (ESP) S 18:11 T1 00:32 B 1:02:43 T2 00:23 R 31:47 TGOT 1:53:35
8. Jonas Breinlinger (GER) S 17:26 T1 00:33 B 1:02:25 T2 00:24 R 32:59 TOT 1:53:43
9. Csongor Lehmann (HUN) S 17:29 T1 00:28 B 1:03:31 T2 00:26 R 31:56 TOT 1:53:47
10. Ben Dijkstra (GBR) S 18:19 T1 00:29 B 1:02:39 T2 00:26 R 32:12 TOT 1:54:03
14. Kevin McDowell (IUSA) S 18:16 T1 00:26 B 1:02:47 T2 00:28 R 32:52 TOT 1:54:47
33. Seth Rider (USA) S 17:48 T1 00:33 B 1:03:08 T2 00:25 R 35:22 TOT 1:57:14
37. Matthew McElroy (USA) S 18:10 T1 00:29 B 1:04:41 T2 00:23 R 34:29 TOT 1:58:10
Duffy back in dominant form at Karlovy-Vary
Bermuda’s Flora Duffy backed up her 2nd place finish to Georgia Taylor-Brown at the Hamburg sprint distance WTS Worlds last weekend with a field-crushing win by a 1:33 margin at the Karlovy Vary World Cup. Duffy thus exchanged results with Hamburg winner Taylor-Brown, who finished second at Karlovy Vary.
Sunday’s race was Duffy’s third Olympic distance effort since her win at the 2019 Tokyo Olympic preview (not an official WTS race) and 5th place finish at the 2019 Lausanne Grand Final. The win was Duffy’s first official WTS Olympic-distance victory since WTS Yokohama on May 11, 2018.
Duffy’s recent wins show that she is past her mid-2018 through mid-summer 2019 hiatus due to injuries and places her as a solid co-favorite to the provisionally rescheduled 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
Duffy began her day with a women’s sixth-best 18:26 swim that put her 33 seconds behind swim leader Jessica Learmonth of Great Britain, 8 seconds behind 2019 WTS World Champion Katie Zaferes of the U.S., 8 to 10 seconds behind three women who were fated to DNF, 5 seconds ahead of Laura Lindemann of Germany, and 27 seconds ahead of Taylor-Brown.
After wetsuit issues in transition cost Learmonth about 25 seconds, Zaferes was first out on the bike and was quickly joined by Learmonth in an aggressive two-woman break on the first of 7 laps. Behind them, first chasers Laura Lindemann and Duffy were soon joined by Taylor-Brown who was pushing hard to make up for a 27-seconds deficit after the swim.
On the 4th lap, Duffy was riding behind Taylor-Brown when she swerved momentarily and fell 30 seconds behind the front with three laps to go. On the 5th lap, Zaferes dropped back to join the chasers while Learmonth pressed on alone in an attempt to maintain her lead. But with the U.S. stars working with Taylor-Brown and Duffy, Learmonth’s lead was trimmed from 30 to 17 seconds when she entered T2.
On the first of four laps of the run, Duffy and Taylor-Brown charged past Learmonth to the front. By the bell, Maya Kingma of the Netherlands moved into third place and charged up the major uphill to ensure her podium.
On the final lap Duffy took the race by the throat on her way to a race-best 35:34 run split – 1:48 faster than Taylor-Brown, 1:51 better than Kingma, and 2:11 better than Learmonth.
After a 2:05:17 finish, Duffy led Taylor-Brown by 1:33, third-place Kingma by 1:50, fourth place Learmonth by 2:33, 5th place Djenyfer Arnold of Brazil by 2:38 and 6th Place Laura Lindemann by 3:15. Miriam Casillas Garcia of Spain ran a women’s second-best 36:27 to take 7th, 3:17 behind the winner.
“Wow! It was so hard, man that was a shock to the system!” Duffy told ITU media. “A first Olympic distance of the year and on such a challenging course and with such a stacked field. Jess is unbelievable in the swim and I was just trying to recover from that for most of the bike to be honest, which isn’t easy on this type of course. I wanted to ride strong but not over-extend myself and the run just felt like survival. I’m just so thrilled to win - it has been a while since I’ve done it at this level and it’s a huge confidence boost.”
“I didn’t have much energy, [and] the run killed me,” Taylor-Brown told ITU media. “The first lap of the swim I wasn’t feeling good but I came back to life a bit on the bike. Jess was an animal on the bike pulling out more time. But on the run I knew it wasn’t going to be my day but I stuck it out to the end.”
1. Flora Duffy (BER) S 18:26 T1 00:34 B 1:10:19 T2 00:26 R 35:34 TOT 2:05:17
2. Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR) S 18:53 T1 00:31 B 1:09:55 T2 00:25 R 37:12 TOT 2:06:54
3. Maya Kingma (NED) S 18:48 T1 00:33 B 1:09:57 T2 00:26 R 37:25 TOT 2:07:07
4. Jessica Learmonth (GBR) S 17:53 T1 00:56 B 1:10:06 T2 00:30 R 37:45 TOT 2:07:50
5. Djenyfer Arnold (BRA) S 18:33 T1 00:35 B 1:10:13 T2 00:28 T2 00:28 R 38:08 2:07:55
6. Laura Lindemann (GER) S 18:31 T1 00:31 B 1:10:17 T2 00:25 R 38:51 TOT 2:08:32
7. Miriam Casillas Garcia (ESP) S 19:07 T1 00:31 B 1:12:07 T2 00:25 R 36:27 TOT 2:08:34
8. Verena Steinhauser (ITA) S 19:12 T1 00:28 B 1:12:06 T2 00:27 R 36:35 TOT 2:08:46
9. Luisa Baptista (BRA) S 19:14 T1 00:33 B 1:12:00 T2n 00:24 R 36:49 TOT 2:08:57
10. Lisa Tertsch (GER) S 19:15 T1 00:38 B 1:14:08 T2 00:26 R 34:38 TOT 2:09:02
11. Katie Zaferes (USA) S 18:18 T1 00:29 B 1:10:33 T2 00:26 R 39:33 TOT 2:09:16
13. Erika Ackerlund (USA) S 19:08 T1 00:32 B 1:12:07 T2 00:25 R 37:39 TOT 2:09:48