Tayler Reid surged away from Samuel Dickinson and Leo Bergere of France late in the run to earn the ITU Under 23 Men’s World Championship title in a fierce Olympic distance contest on a sunny day on Australia’s Gold Coast Friday.
Second out of the water and in the lead pack by the end of the bike leg, Reid joined Dickinson and Bergere in the lead and ran together for the first 8 kilometers. With 2 kilometers to go, Reid drew away on his way to a 7th-best 32:21 run to finish in 1:44:08 with a 12 seconds margin of victory over Dickinson.
Closing fast with a second-best 31:06 run, Bence Bicsák of Hungary overcame a 1:32 deficit and passed Bergere to take the bronze. Bicsák finished 11 seconds behind Dickinson and 8 seconds ahead of Bergere, who ran 32:49.
“I can’t even believe it,” Reid told ITU media. “I’ve never felt something so good. I have wanted to be world champion for ten years but never been close. Today it all came together. I saw my family on every lap and I just thought ‘I am going to go for it now, full gas, full gas to the finish.’”
Alex Wilimovsky of the U.S. led the swim in 17:42, with Reid and Mark Devay of Hungary a few seconds arrears. Reid led out of T1 and was soon joined by 10 men including Jorgen Gundersen of Norway, Ryosuke Maeda of Japan, Bergere and Dickinson who worked together to create a lead. By the end of the 40 kilometer ride, Bicsák trailed by 90 seconds and Alex Yee of Great Britain arrived in T2 3 minutes off the pace.
Reid, Dickinson and Bergere broke away early on the run and ran shoulder to shoulder three quarters of the way home with Gundersen and Bicsák 30 seconds off the pace.
With 2 kilometers to go, Reid made a surge fought briefly by Bergere. As Reid pulled away, Bergere and Dickinson battled until 1 kilometer to go when Dickinson found more in the tank and edged away for the silver. In the final chute, Bicsák passed Bergere and took the bronze.
“I centered myself and the gamble paid off,” Reid told ITU media. “I didn’t want it to come down to the last bit, I wanted to try and seal the deal and it just happened. It was important to make the move when I did. There was great work from Leo (Bergere) and Sam (Dickinson) so I was definitely fearing them coming back at me."
Dickinson was physically drained and emotionally elated with his runner-up finish. “It is definitely up there as one of the hardest races I have done,” he told ITU media. “I tried to kick with Tayler but I was already on the limit. From there I knew it would be a foot race with Bergere. To come away with a silver medal is a really good result but obviously congratulations to Tayler who was the faster man on the day.”
Bicsak was gratified with his come-from-behind podium. “I had a terrible swim [36 seconds behind the leader] - it was a crazy day in the water for me. I was in the second group on the bike and I tried to work very hard not to let the first group get too far ahead. Before I started running I wasn’t thinking I could make [catch them] - it was more than one-and-a-half minutes away. It is unbelievable that I got the podium.”
ITU Under 23 World Championship
Gold Coast, Australia
September 14, 2018
S 1.5k / B 40k / R 10k
Under 23 Men
1. Tayler Reid (NZL) 1:44:08 S 17:45 T1 00:40 B 53:03 T2 00:20 R 32:21
2. Samuel Dickinson (GBR) 1:44:20 S 18:01 T1 00:39 B 52:47 T2 00:23 R 32:31
3. Bence Bicsák (HUN) 1:44:31 S 18:21 T1 00:39 B 54:04 T2 00:24 R 31:06
4. Léo Bergere (FRA) 1:44:39 S 17:55 T1 00:42 B 52:52 T2 00:23 R 32:49
5. Jorgen Gundersen (NOR) 1:44:44 S 17:50 T1 00:40 B 52:59 T2 00:24 R 32:53
21. Alec Wilimovsky (USA) 1:47:29 S 17:42 T1 00:44 B 53:02 T2 00:24 R 35:40
25. Seth Rider (USA) 1:48:47 S 17:56 T1 00:40 B 52:54 T2 00:24 R 36:56