The 2023 season couldn’t look brighter for Australia’s Matthew Hauser, delivering an impressive run at the 2023 Groupe Coplay World Triathlon Championship Series Montreal that ended up with on top of a Series podium for the first time on his career. Behind him, a delighted Manoel Messias produced another great run that earned him the second place, while Jelle Geens proved that the Canadian Sprint distance course really fits him well, claiming the bronze medal on the day.
55 Men lined up this Saturday at the Old Port of Montreal, ready for a 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run, a full start list packed with talent and lots of great runners ready to take on the streets of Montreal. But first things first. And first on a triathlon is the swim, and Australia’s Matthew Hauser proved in Montreal that his swim is always a hard one to beat. In fact, only Kenji Nener (JPN), Jamie Riddle (RSA) and Nicolo Strada (ITA) were able to do so, with the Aussie stretching the field so much that by the end of the 750,swim, the last athletes -notably, Gustav Iden and Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) among them- were almost 40 seconds behind them.
The 400m uphill run to the first transition was key for some of the athletes that were not so fast in the water to catch up with Hauser, and by the time they all mounted their bikes, a massive group of athletes was together, making it challenging for all as the rain made the bike course a slippery one. it was Marten van Riel (BeL) the first one to decided to give it a go and try to stay up front to avoid any issues, with the likes of Jonathan Brownlee (GBR), Nener and Hauser taking turns to push the group, also knowing that strong bikers like Jelle Geens, Blummenfelt or Gustav Iden where on the chase group.
A chase group that was quickly led by Blummenfelt, determined to make it to the front, which he eventually did in the fourth lap (out of six), making the front group an even larger one, with almost everyone just trying to stay out of trouble. A trouble that was unavoidable for Vasco Vilaca (POR), who crashed with a bit over one lap to go but managed to continue the race, knowing that he needed to finish the race to claim the Series leadership.
The massive train of athletes made it to the second transition in a pack, and it was Spanin’s Roberto Sanchez Mantecon the quickest one to get his shoes on and leave the blue carpet, followed by Bence Bicsak (HUN). Behind them, a group of eight athletes that included great running talent, such as Hauser, Geens, Manoel Messias (BRA), Tim Hellwig (GER), Jonas Schomburg (GER), Blummenfelt and Nener, and the group kept on together for most part of the 5km run.
It was only with less than a 1km to go when Hauser decided to go for it, and extra gear on his pocket, and only Messias was able to follow while behind them, Geens, Blummenfelt and Hellwig were fighting for the bronze medal. Hauser headed to the blue carpet all smiles, ready to claim the tape for the first time on his career in the World Triathlon Series, a victory that paves his way to the 5th place of the Series Rankings. “I’ve just been building my momentum. After Yokohama, where I finished in second place, I knew I had a better lead-up in prep. I felt good out there and got the job done. It’s instinct, you’ve just got to act in the moment. I knew the other guys were just settling into a rhythm and you can’t let that happen. I knew the sooner I went, the better. I was lucky enough to break them up but it was a big group of guys on the run and it certainly wasn’t wrapped up until the end,” he said.
Behind him, Messias claimed the silver medal, second for him this season after the one he got in Abu Dhabi last March. “I am very happy. This is my second medal at the WTCS this year. Training is working well and I am happy.”
The battle for bronze was for Geens, first podium for him this season and second of his career in Montreal. “Coming back to the place where you won your first WTCS, it just feels good and the whole week here, I just love this city. I love the vibe. I love the race. I had a bit of a rough winter with a big crash and a big concussion, I think it took me longer than expected to recover. I wouldn’t say I am 100% but I am getting there. It’s good to have this podium under the belt and now I just look forward.I made it very hard for myself, those first couple of laps, because I didn’t want to take any risks and touch the ground. With the rain, it makes it ten times worse, ” he explained.
Behind the Belgian, a delighted Hellwig crossed the finish line in fourth place and the fifth on the day was for Blummenfelt. Bicsak claimed the 6th place and Charles Pacquet (CAN) had a magnificent 7th place, best result of his career so far, and a delightful one on home soil. Sanchez Mantecon in 8th, Van Riel in 9th place and Nener rounded up the top 10 on the day.