Chicago’s temperamental weather put paid to a swim-bike-run battle at this evening’s 2015 World Junior Champs, forcing organisers to turn the championship decider into a duathlon. With all spectators and athletes evacuated from the venue due to the high risk of lightning strikes, play was delayed by 95mins.
Once let loose, the 65-strong field of junior men ran together for almost the entirety of the first lap of the two-lap, 5km run. Hitting T1, 24 men were separated by just 5secs.
With slippy conditions for the 20km, four-lap bike leg, the strongest cyclists prevailed, whittling down those 24 to just 14 at the start of the final 2.5km run.
But at the tape it was Brazil’s Manoel Messias who clocked his biggest win of his short career to date, jumping five places from his sixth-place finish at the 2014 Junior Worlds in Edmonton to win with a time of 51:50mins. In a sprint for the line, Messias just pipped Germany’s Peer Sönksen by 1sec, before France’s Léo Bergere followed them in 10secs later.
Last issue’s cover star and 2014 Youth Olympic Champ Ben Dijkstra (GB) had raced with the leaders throughout, but losing time on the final run he crossed the line for eventual eighth with a time of 52:20mins. Talking with 220 at the line, he commented:
“It was such a tough race. I just tried to stay safe on the bike, especially after that first run it was a decent pace. But it just didn’t quite happen in the end and credit to the guys who won, they had a great race. I just didn’t quite have it in the last 2.5km and I just had to work my way to the end. It wasn’t a perfect race but I’m pleased with my performance, being a first world junior, and we’ll see where it goes from now.”
Teammates George Goodwin and Jimmy Kershaw finished 20th and 58th, respectively.
For a full list of results from the ITU World Junior Men’s Champs head to: http://www.triathlon.org/results/result/2015_itu_world_triathlon_grand_final_chicago/272184
Photo credit: David Pearce