Vincent Luis of France took his third straight ITU victory by a 5-second margin over Kristian Blummenfelt of Norway at the Arzachena World Cup.
After the early races of the 2020 season were cancelled due to the pandemic, Luis has dominated the ITU circuit, with victories at the World Championship race at Hamburg, the Karlovy Vary World Cup and now the Arzachena World Cup.
Luis combined a race-best 8:49 swim that gave him a one second margin over Jonas Schomburg of Germany, an 11th -fastest 29:08 bike split and a race-best 14:40 5k run to finish the sprint distance race in 54:24 with a 5-seconds margin over Blummenfelt and 21-seconds on a coming-into-form Alistair Brownlee of Great Britain.
“It’s a good feeling when you win every race you start,” Luis told ITU media. “It’s not a type of course I’m used to but my coach managed my training really well. I feel good, I was praying a bit for a non-wetsuit swim and that boosted my confidence as I’ve been putting together some great sessions in the water. The bike was tough, Kristian made it tough, and I didn’t want to break away even though he tried a few times. Once again I had my strength with the sprint finish and with 1km to go I knew it was mine.”
Henri Schoeman of South Africa and Alistair Brownlee got the jump from the right side of the pontoon, but Luis, who dove from the right side found clear water and led from the 3rd buoy back to the finish. In a tight pack behind Luis were Jonas Schomburg of Germany, Pierre Le Corre of France, Schoeman, Jonas Breinlinger of Germany, and Leo Bergere of France. Brownlee was 14th, 22 seconds back and Blummenfelt was 27th, 1:05 behind the leader.
Brownlee used the notorious climb and Blummenfelt used the descent to charge into the 8-man front pack. By T2, Blummenfelt was first to arrive, who exited with Antonio Serrat Seoane of Spain and Leo Bergere of France, with Luis hot on their heels. Alistair Brownlee lost several seconds fumbling with his running shoes and began the chase just ahead of Schoeman, Le Corre and Schomburg.
In the first meters of the run, 2019 and 2020 World Champion Luis and Blummenfelt – the 2019 Grand Final winner – flew into the lead, with only Seoane able to hang on.
From the start, Luis surged and Blummenfelt hung with him until with 500 meters, the Norwegian spun the roulette wheel with a surge in a bid for the gold. However, with the speed that has put him on top of the WTS heap, Luis answered with a burst that brought him to the line with a race-best 14:40 5k run split that gave him a 5-seconds margin over the Norwegian and 21 seconds over Brownlee, who closed with a 14:54 run split for third place.
“For the week leading up to this race I have been really enjoying feeling fresh and having this awesome course to take on,” Blummenfelt told ITU media. “It was a lot of fun. I’ve done 15-20 laps of the bike in training already so I knew what I needed to do and knew you can really go fast if you have a clear road in front on the downhill. It’s very hard to beat Vincent over 5km and that finish line just came too quickly.”
“I was quite happy with that,” said Brownlee. “I’m just really enjoying my racing at the moment. The first lap was a big effort and that used up a lot getting to the top of the hill first. Then it was annoying I couldn’t get my [run] shoes on fast enough and that cost me, but a few more races and I’ll be even sharper and hopefully continue this upward trajectory.”
Arzachena World Cup
October 10, 2020
S 750m / B 20k / R 5k
1. Vincent Luis (FRA) S 8:49 T1 00:37 B 29:58 T2 00:23 R 14:40 TOT 54:24
2. Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) S 9:24 T1 00:38 B 29:22 T2 00:23 R 14:45 TOT 54:29
3. Alistair Brownlee (GBR) S 9:11 T1 00:39 B 29:34 T2 00:29 R 14:54 TOT 54:45
4. Antonio Serrat Seoane (ESP) S 9:25 T1 00:39 B 29:21 T2 00:21 R 15:11 TOT 54:55
5. Gustav Iden (NOR) S 9:34 T1 00:36 B 29:15 T2 00:24 R 15:15 TOT 55:02
6. Leo Bergere (FRA) S 9:04 T1 00:37 B 29:44 T2 00:22 R 15:25 TOT 55:09
7. Tim Hellwig (GER) S 9:07 T1 00:37 B 29:41 T2 00:22 R 15:32 TOT 15:32
8. Matthew McElroy (USA) S 9:27 T1 00:37 B 30:04 T2 00:22 R 14:51 TOT 55:19
9. Pierre Le Corre (FRA) S 8:51 T1 00:39 B 30:05 T2 00:24 R 15:22 TOT 55:19
10. Gabriel Sandor (SWE) S 9:40 T1 00:36 B 29:08 T2 00:23 R 15:35 TOT 55:20
12. Kevin McDowell (USA) S 9:19 T1 00:35 B 29:41 T2 00:27 R 15:24 TOT 55:23
24. Seth Rider (USA) S 9:23 T1 00:40 B 30:07 T2 00:24 R 16:07 TOT 56:38
37. Tony Smoragiewicz (USA) S 9:40 T1 00:39 B 30:53 T2 00:23 R 16:17 TOT 57:49