Cruising through the course and never losing his leader position in the last two disciplines, Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt secured the first-ever men’s elite title at the 2016 Montreal ITU Triathlon World Cup.
While the event was the last major ITU competition before a majority of the elites head to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games, the opportune win came right before Blummenfelt competes on August 18.
After exiting the waters slightly behind and then quickly recovering and transitioning into the front pack, Blummenfelt held onto the advantage until he blasted away on the run to grab his second World Cup title of the season.
“It is definitely nice. We have been doing a bit of training in the last couple of weeks and my body is responding well. One day after altitude it can be good and the next it can be crappy, especially after so close to coming down, the condition could be good or bad, so I am pleased to see that it was a good one today.”
The remaining two spots were earned by two World Cup podium first-timers. Canada’s own Matt Sharpe claimed the silver medal, while the bronze went to USA’s Eric Lagerstrom.
“I am pretty shattered right now, in all aspects, physically, emotionally, spiritually. But it was beautiful out there, amazing crowds, I am just stunned right now,” Sharpe said of getting onto his first World Cup podium. “I haven’t raced much in Canada in the last few years, I have had a bit of a struggle over the last couple of years, so for me it is just nice to have a good performance for all of my supporters. All of my family and my friends, they sacrifice a lot for me, so to do this, it is all for them.”
As the temperatures cooled down for the Sunday evening start, the men concluded the full day’s worth of racing, which included age-groupers, juniors and elites.
With only a short one-lap 750 metres to swim, the men remained fairly bunched together. While USA’s William Huffman exited the waters first, he was rushed by a sea of competitors behind him.
After a busy first transition, it was a pack of eight men that managed to get out ahead and form the lead pack. Blummenfelt, Huffman, Sharpe, Lagerstrom, Maximilian Schwetz (GER), Jumpei Furuya (JPN), Hunter Lussi (USA) and Myles Zager (CAN) found the edge upon entering the bike discipline and worked on creating a gap from those in pursuit shortly behind.
A small foursome that included Drew Box (AUS) and Kevin McDowell (USA) tried mightily to join the leaders, but they were caught by the second chase led by Brazil’s Diogo Sclebin and then were forced to remain as the main chase group.
As the leaders made their way to the second transition zone, Blummenfelt exploded out of the gate and immediately broke away as soon as his foot touched the pavement. His lead only extended as the run continued and he was able to effortlessly enter the finish chute to claim the victory.
The remainders of the lead bike pack quickly separated on the run. It was Sharpe and Lagerstrom that also saw the opportunity and blew past the other competitors that had rode with them.
While for the majority of the five-kilometres Sharpe and Lagerstrom strode on side-by-side, it was in the final metres that Sharpe was able to use some local energy and surge ahead to emotionally grab the silver. Leaving Lagerstrom in the clear to earn the bronze.
“I am super psyched, this is what I came here to do, I kind of just wanted to show up and have the best race that I could and today looked like an awesome opportunity to do just that.”
Results: 2016 Montreal ITU Triathlon World Cup : Elite Men
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