U.S. competitors Matt McElroy and Eli Hemming swept the top spots on the podium on a steamy hot day at the Miyazaki World Cup. McElroy stormed home with a race-best 30:05 10 kilometer run to finish in 1:47:13 with a 27 seconds margin of victory over Hemming and 45 seconds over 3rd place finisher Jelle Geens of Belgium.
McElroy thus earned back to back World Cup wins a week after his victory at Tongyeong, South Korea - a happy way to conclude the World Cup season with valuable points toward Olympic selection.
Slovakia’s Richard Varga led the 1500-meter swim in 17:16 followed closely by Japan’s Takumi Hojo, Australia’s Aaron Royle, Mark Devay of Hungary and Matthew Sharpe of Canada. U.S. competitors William Huffman and Eli Hemming were 8th and 9th out of the water, 11 and 12 seconds back, while top ranked McElroy finished stood 14th, 21 seconds arrears.
On the first laps of the bike, a group of 12 men, including Devay, William Huffman of the U.S., Hojo, Jumpei Furuya of Japan, Royle, Sharpe, and Irving Perez of Mexico established a 28 seconds gap on a large group of the chasers led by Brandon Copeland of Australia.
At the final 20k of the 40 kilometer bike leg, Hojo, Furuya, Devay, Royle, Max Stapley (ITU), 2018 Miyazaki silver medalist Eli Hemming (USA), Sharpe, Varga, Gianluca Pozzatti from Italy and Perez formed the lead pack in the final laps of the final stage of the bike course.
Starting the run, Hemming, Sharpe and Royle began led the run in steamy conditions. While Perez and Pozzatti followed the leaders in fourth and fifth places,
After 5k, McElroy surged to pass Hemming and take the lead, while Royle and Sharpe fell off the pace and Perez and Pozzatti moved to lead the chase group. With a powerful acceleration, Jelle Geens of Belgium moved into 3rd place.
With implacable force on his way to a race-best 30:05 run split, McElroy pulled away to finish in 1:47:13 with a 27 seconds margin of victory over countryman Hemming (31:08 run) and 45 seconds on 3rd place finisher Geens (30:52 run).
After his back to back World Cup victories, McElroy told ITU media: “I am absolutely emotional right now, believing in myself and keeping such a positive mindset the last two weeks has been key. I had to work really hard on the bike to close the gap. We didn’t close the gap and it came down to the run.”
Hemming was equally emotional after his silver medal performance. “I am happy with second but I am even happier that my training partner Matt got first,” Hemming told ITU media. “I knew I needed as much time as I could, I have been working hard at my transitions. I tried to go out and hold the pace and see if I could stay away.”
Geens, who did not finish last weekend at Tongyeong, was encouraged with his bronze medal performance. “It was a bit of a struggle on the beginning of the run, this week I thought I better not go too fast,” he told ITU media. “First lap I took it under control but then after 5km I felt pretty good, I saw the podium running and it got me motivated. I am happy that I can finish on the podium today. It was a great season, I think I still need to find some consistency but I am hoping for some good winter training to set that up well.”
Miyazaki World Cup
October 20, 2019
S 1.5 k / 40k / R 10k
1, Matt McElroy (USA) 1:47:13 S 17:37 T1 00:56 B 58:15 T2 00:20 R 30:05
2. Eli Hemming (USA) 1:47:40 S 17:28 T1 00:55 B 57:51 T2 00:18 R 31:08
3. Jelle Geens (BEL) 1:47:58 S 17:58 T1 00:56 B 57:53 T2 00:19 R 30:52
4. Irving Perez (MEX) 1:48:03 S 17:30 T1 00:56 B 57:50 T2 00:22 R 31:25
5. Andreas Schilling (DEN) 1:48:05 S 18:11 T1 00:59 B 57:40 T2 00:31 R 30:44
6. Joao Pereira (POR) 1:48:07 S 17:50 T1 00:58 B 57:40 T2 00:31 R 31:00
7. Gianluca Pozzatti (ITA) 1:48:10 S 17:28 T1 00:55 B 57:52 T2 00:23 R 31:32
8. Aaron Royle (AUS) 1:48:19 S 17:19 T1 1:00 B 57:56 T2 00:21 R 31:43
9. Antonio Serrat Seoane (ESP) 1:48:28 S 17:49 T1 00:54 B 58:02 T2 00:20 R 31:23
10. Ryan Bailie (AUS) 1:48:33 S 17:53 T1 1:00 B 57:52 T2 00:23 R 31:25
12. Colin Chartier (USA) 1:48:42 S 17:50 T1 00:58 B 57:56 T2 00:21 R 31:37
21. William Huffman (USA) 1:50:13 S 17:27 T1 00:55 B 58:26 T2 00:23 R 33:02
31. Darr Smith (USA) 1:52:21 S 17:52 T1 1:04 B 57:50 T2 00:24 R 35:11