Matthew McElroy led the U.S. men to a 1-2-3 sweep of the podium at Santo Domingo, dominating his third straight World Cup with a race-best run.
McElroy and countrymen Kevin McDowell and Morgan Pearson broke away from the field halfway through the 10 kilometer run leg. Then with 700 meters to go, McElroy hit his afterburner and finished with a race-best 30:08 run split to finish in 1:39:03 with a 19 seconds margin of victory over McDowell (30:27 run) and 28 seconds on 3rd place finisher Pearson (30:31 run).
McElroy’s performance earned him a third straight World Cup title after wins at Tongyeong on October 19 and Miyazaki on October 26.
“The wins in a row! I can’t believe I pulled the hat trick,” McElroy wrote on Facebook. “1-2-3 American Sweep on the Podium with @kevinmcdowell1 and @morgan_cadwell_pearson throwing down a solid run split.”
McElroy said the race unfolded as he planned. “To be honest, that was the hardest swim I have ever done,” he told ITU media. “I thought I was having a terrible swim but I came out the back of the front group.” After riding in the leading pack for the 40 km ride, the run was “pretty relaxed, almost the whole run. I knew those guys were strong. I wanted to sit and make my move about 1km out, and I was able to do as I wanted.”
“It was incredible coming in in the second place,” McDowell told ITU media. “I think we wanted to make sure we made it all three of us on the podium. The focus was running together. Today was all about conserving until the end. It was about being patient. I have been so close to so many podiums, and today I really tried to change the mind game.”
Morgan Pearson was happy with his second world cup podium of the season. “I actually had a nice swim and was in third the whole way. I have been working hard on my swim and I am happy it’s showing in races. On the bike I was trying to relax and conserve the energy. I thought I did a good job moving to the front. On the run, I don’t think I have the strength over the 10km. I thought I was in good shape but I think I am more suited to the shorter distance. I have no shame losing those guys.”
With an early start to lessen the worst of the heat, Richard Varga of Slovakia led the swim by a short distance over Igor Polyanskiy of Russia. Shortly into the bike leg, they were caught by a large group that formed a tightly bunched front pack. Halfway through the pool table flat bike leg, Adrien Briffod, Sylvain Fridelance, Manoel Messias and Irving Perez took turns at the front as the lead group fashioned a 2 minutes lead on the chasers.
Arriving at T2, Matthew Sharpe of Canada and Briffod of Switzerland led the way on to the run. But soon thereafter, on the first climb out of transition, the three American amigos (McElroy, McDowell and Pearson) and three Swiss (Max Studer, Florien Salvisberg and Fridelance) ran together while Sharpe, Irving Perez of Mexico and Ilya Prasolov of Russia faded,
The Swiss stuck with the American for the first 5 kilometers, but then McElroy accelerated and McDowell and Pearson followed suit, gapping the Swiss trio.
While McElroy ran on to glory, McDowell passed Pearson for the silver, earning a sweet change from 4tplace last weekend in Lima and 3rd place in Tongyeong.
The Swiss finished in the next three positions, with Studer taking 4th, Salvisberg 5th and Briffod 6th.
Santo Domingo World Cup
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
November 10, 2019
S 1.5k / B 40k / R 10k
Matt McElroy (USA) 1:39:03 S 17:22 T1 00:31 B 50:38 T2 00:27 R 30:08
Kevin McDowell (USA) 1:39:22 S 17:04 T1 00:32 B 50:52 T2 00:29 R 30:27
Morgan Pearson (USA) 1:39:31 S 17:03 T1 00:32 B 50:57 T2 00:29 R 30:31
Max Studer (SUI) 1:40:15 S 17:13 T1 00:31 B 50:49 T2 00:30 R 31:12
Florin Salvisberg (SUI) 1:40:46 S 17:07 T1 N/A B 51:22 T2 00:32 R 31:46
15. Eli Hemming (USA) 1:42:02 S 17:05 T1 00:32 B 50:54 T2 00:29 R 33:05