Hayden Wilde flies to victory at 2022 WTCS Hamburg

Wilde takes second WTCS victory after taking down the competition one by one, while Abdelmoula wins Morocco its first triathlon medal

hayden wilde wins wtcs hamburg 2022

A roaring crowd, pleasant 22°C temperatures and fierce competition greeted the athletes today at WTCS Hamburg, the fifth race of the 2022 WTCS series and a firm series favourite for many. 

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The short sprint-distance course would prove to play to some athletes’ strengths, while leaving others in its dust.

Hoping for another podium after his debut victory in Leeds and a silver in Montreal was Olympic bronze medallist Hayden Wilde (NZL).

With last race winner Alex Yee choosing to sit the German leg of the tour out, Wilde’s main rivals included France’s two-time ITU world champ Vincent Luis and series leader Leo Bergere, GB’s Sam Dickinson, WTCS winner Jelle Geens (BEL) and Australia’s Matt Hauser.

What happened in the 2022 Hamburg WTCS men’s swim?

GB’s Sam Dickinson strides out of the Alster to T1 (Credit: Alexander Scheuber/Getty Images for Ironman)

Diving into Hamburg’s Alster city lake, the elite men’s race kickstarted with a big pack fighting for dominance on their way to the first buoy of the short 750m loop. Among them, France’s main hope Luis tactically tucked in behind the feet of compatriot Vincent Morlec.

Unique on this sprint swim leg is the dark 40m tunnel about seven minutes into the race, which caught several out as they missed the opening all together.

Despite undergoing heart surgery just over a month ago and almost quitting triathlon, Luis was in characteristic fine form, leading the swim out in 8:40mins.

A smooth and composed T1 followed to bag him first place at the start of the short 21km bike leg. Joining him was teamate Morlec and Hungarian Mark Devay.

Mirroring Luis’ and Bergere’s breakaway in Leeds two races ago the French pair pulled ahead, but this time a strung-out chasing pack caught up after just a few minutes to form a 17-strong lead group, the race once again becoming a free-for-all.

What happened in the 2022 Hamburg WTCS men’s bike?

Geens went hard in the bike and run but didn’t manage to hold onto the podium (Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images for Ironman)

Wilde, meanwhile, was nowhere to be seen post-swim, losing almost 30secs to Luis and missing the chase pack. But coming into the second lap of six, the Kiwi, alongside fellow strong cyclist Geens,had reduced that deficit to just 13secs.

By the half-way point, the Wilde group was with the leaders.

A lone break-away from South Africa’s Jamie Riddle saw an 8sec gap open up at the front, but all it afforded him was some sponsor-happy TV time, as Wilde and co. caught him ahead of the final bike lap.

A final push on the bike saw Bergere lead into T2 at 38:36 with Wilde and Geens nipping at his heels.

What happened in the 2022 Hamburg WTCS men’s run?

France’s Vincent Luis couldn’t quite find the legs to catch the front runners (Credit: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images for Ironman)

The short 5km run started with a close pack of men battling it out for prime position. But after the first 1km, the race was blown apart as six of the world’s strongest triathlon runners were left fighting for the three podium places.

Having putting together a well-paced race, it was Hauser who made the first push for that top step. But of course it was never going to be that easy, as Geens, Wilde and France’s Tom Richard swiftly followed.

With a Redbull cap and oversized sunnies covering a poker face, Wilde skipped into the lead as the athletes moved onto the final lap.

Who won the 2022 Hamburg WTCS race?

Wilde used his relentless pace and power to pick through the field after a slow swim start (Credit: Alexander Scheuber/Getty Images for Ironman)

Hauser and Bergere didn’t have an answer to their flying foe, and could only watch as the gap to gold increased.

Wilde, in a league of his own, powered across the line flapping his arms in true kiwi bird style with a time of 53:10. Hauser came in strong just 3secs later.

A sprint finish for bronze, however, saw Bergere just miss out to Jawad Abdelmoula, who crossed the line to hand Morocco its first-ever WTCS medal.

It was fifth for Jelle Geens and a disappointing 11th for Luis who trailed in 34secs behind the winning time.

Quotes from the winner, Hayden Wilde

On being 30s back out of T1: “It was pretty hard to get through everyone today. It was actually full-on on the bike, everyone wasn’t holding up, so I just had to stay calm and stay in position, knowing that we had a good group to catch up the front [cyclists]. It played out pretty well.”

On his T2: “I had a rusty T2, a lot of people coming out at the same time. It actually worked in my favour a little bit as going out there was a bit of a headwind, so I got to tuck into a few athletes until we got the tailwind on the run.”

On his surge to victory: “At about half-way, kicked into attack, tried to hold on, and got the win today.”

Quotes from runner-up, Matt Hauser

On his first podium at this level: “I’m so stoked. It was a long time coming.”

Quotes from bronze-place finisher, Jawad Abdelmoula

On his first ever podium placing: “Wow, I don’t believe it. I’m really happy to take the third place. It’s a good place here in Hamburg, it’s my first. I take a lot of pressure, so I’m really happy.”

On his run to catch Leo Bergere: “Bergere is a very strong athlete, so I’m really happy to catch him in the final. Sorry for him. I didn’t know I took the third place until someone told me, I was like ‘wow!’.”

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Top image: Alexander Scheuber/Getty Images for Ironman