After Tyler Mislawchuk of Canada, Casper Stornes of Norway and Hayden Wilde of New Zealand left their nearest rivals 30 seconds behind as they approached the blue finish carpet together, who had the most left in the tank?
After leading much of the wind-whipped final 10 kilometer run, Wilde lacked just a few drops of energy and faded first. Stornes, who was the surprise of his first and only WTS victory two seasons ago in Bermuda, lost his fierce grip on the lead just 100 meters from the end. And so Mislawchuk, who earned his first WTS podium in June with a 3rd place at Montreal, scored his big breakthrough at the Olympic test event in Tokyo.
After a tied-for-best 30:27 run split, Mislawchuk finished the full Olympic distance contest in 1:49:51, which gave him a 4 seconds margin of victory over Stornes (30:27 run split) and 12 seconds over 3rd place Hayden Wilde of New Zealand (3rd-best 30:36 run).
“Hayden and I took turns at the front the whole way,” said Mislawchuk in a post-race streaming interview on Triathlon Live TV. "We knew it was three of us for the medals. When it came down to the sprint I wanted it more than anything. I thought I may never have a chance to win a big race like this again. I gotta take it now.”
Stornes was not crestfallen at his narrow loss. “It means a lot since I have had a [bad] season and have not scored enough points for Olympic qualification. [Fellow Norwegians] Gustav [Iden] and Kristian [Blummenfelt] are already in. So, it was really nice to come back and show that I am capable to be on the podium on the Olympic course.”
Wilde was exhilarated with his finish. “With about 1500 meters to go, I pushed try to put the boys in the box. But it didn’t quite work. Absolutely stoked to get a podium.”
While four of the men at the top of the 2019 WTS point standings - Vincent Luis of France and Mario Mola, Javier Gomez and Fernando Alarza of Spain - skipped this event to prepare for the Grand Final for the early September WTS World Championship, the rest of the Tokyo field was strong.
Henri Schoeman of South Africa led the swim in choppy water with a 18:26 split that gave him a lead on eventual top contenders Jonny Brownlee of Great Britain (5 seconds), 9 seconds on Mislawchuk, 19 seconds on Kristian Blummenfelt of Norway, 27 seconds on Stornes, 56 seconds on Wilde and 1:02 on Jacob Birtwhistle of Australia.
After Tom Bishop of Great Britain made a short-lived attempt at a breakaway on the narrow, technical bike course, the race devolved into a 35-bike traffic jam separated by just 10 seconds. Shuffling at the lead for the first few laps were Bishop, Blummenfelt, Pierre Le Corre of France, Matt Sharpe of Canada, Wilde, Mislawchuk, Jonas Schomburg of Germany, Schoeman, Stornes, Jelle Geens of Belgium, Jonny Brownlee and Martin Van Riel of Belgium.
On lap 7 of 8 on the 40 kilometer bike leg, Blummenfelt and Van Riel crashed on one of the tight corners. Blummenfelt could not continue. While Van Riel returned to the fray, he never returned to contention.
Approaching T2, Wilde made a move to the front, followed closely by Mislawchuk, Jelle Gens, Schomburg, Stornes, Iden, Schoeman and Birtwhistle, while Jonny Brownlee arrived 15th, 4 seconds off the pace.
Starting the run, Geens took the first lead, followed closely by Mislawchuk and Schomburg with Wilde and Brownlee 30 meters back. Halfway through the first 2.5-kilometer lap, Mislawchuk took a turn at the front, followed closely by Wilde, Stornes, and Schomburg, with Brownlee, Schoeman, Iden and Geens in a chase group 30 meters astern. At the end of the second lap, the final podium contenders - Mislawchuk, Wilde and Stornes - took their place at the front.
Top U.S. contender Matt McElroy finished 16th, 2:09 behind the winner. Morgan Pearson took 25th, 3:03 behind Mislawchuk. Eli Hemming finished 27th, Kevin McDowell 32nd and Tony Smoragiewicz 43rd.
ITU Tokyo Olympic Preview Triathlon
August 16, 2019
S 1.5 k / B 40k R 10k
1. Tyler Mislawchuk (CAN) 1:49:51 S 18:39 T1 00:42 B 59:34 T2 00:28 R 30:27
2. Casper Stornes (NOR) 1:49:55 S 18:54 T1 00:42 B 59:18 T2 00:30 R 30:27
3. Hayden Wilde (NZL) 1:50:03 S 19:25 R1 00:43 B 58:47 T2 00:31 R 30:36
4. Gustav Iden (NOR) 1:50:25 S 19:33 T1 00:44 B 58:40 T2 00:29 R 30:58
5. Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) 1:50:28 S 18:35 T1 00:42 B 59:42 T2 00:29 R 30:59
6. Joao Silva (POR) 1:50:36 S 18:54 T1 00:43 B 59:23 T2 00:33 R 31:02
7. Bence Bicsák (HUN) 1:50:41 S 19:27 T1 00:50 B 58:42 T2 00:30 R 31:11
8. Pierre Le Corre (FRA) 1:51:00 S 18:38 T1 00:42 B 59:38 T2 00:30 R 31:31
9. Henri Schoeman (RSA) 1:51:01 S 18:26 T1 00:46 B 59:45 T2 00:29 R 31:34
10. Jonas Schomburg (GER) 1:51:01 S 18:42 T1 00:43 B 59:32 T2 00:29 R 31:34
11. Jacob Birtwhistle (AUS) 1:51:02 S 19:28 T1 00:46 B 58:44 T2 00:29 R 31:34
16. Matthew McElroy (USA) 1:52:00 S 19:35 T1 00:43 B 1:00:19 T2 00:32 R 30:50
25, Morgan Pearson (USA) 1:52:54 S 19:27 T1 00:44 B 1:00:25 T2 00:31 R 31:46
27. Eli Hemming (USA) 1:53:14 S 19:25 T1 00:45 B 58:51 T2 00:33 R 33:39
32. Kevin McDowell (USA) 1:53:56 S 19:09 T1 00:45 B 1:00:45 T2 00:29 R 32:47
43. Tony Smoragiewicz (USA) 1:57:52 S 19:39 T1 00:45 B 1:03:08 T2 00:31 R 33:47
DNF Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR), Dorian Coninx (FRA), Joao Pereira (POR)