WTCS final: Kristian Blummenfelt adds world title to Olympic glory as Alex Yee misses out in Edmonton

Norwegian wins in style in Canada to become first male to take Olympic and world title triumph in same year – repeating the feat of Flora Duffy in the earlier women’s race

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND - AUGUST 31: Kristian Blummenfelt of Norway celebrates his victory during the men's elite olympic race at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final on August 31, 2019 in Lausanne, Switzerland. (Photo by Jörg Schüler/Getty Images)

Kristian Blummenfelt was victorious in Edmonton to become the first male triathlete to win both the Olympic Games and World Triathlon world title in the same year.

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His feat matched that of Flora Duffy earlier in the day, as her third-placed finish in the women’s race was enough to add the World Triathlon Championship Series crown to Tokyo success.

But it meant disappointment for Britain’s Alex Yee who was distanced on the swim and the bike before the fastest 10km run split brought him back up to 11th and was enough for third in the overall standings.

Belgium’s Marten van Riel was pipped in a sprint on the blue carpet by Blummenfelt to place second on the day, and after finishing fourth in both the Olympics and Montreal WTCS, and third in Leeds, it was enough to also clinch second overall in the series.

France’s Leo Bergere came third, as he had the previous week in Montreal, while Britain’s Tom Bishop finished 30th and Grant Sheldon was lapped out on the bike.

“Today wasn’t my best day, but no excuses,” Yee said. “I didn’t swim well enough, but I gave it everything I had and fought to get on to the podium with these guys. Kudos to them, they were incredible.”

Before the final race of the series the world title looked set to be a shootout between the Olympic gold and silver medallists, Norway’s Blummenfelt and series leader Yee.

But it was France’s reigning world champion Vincent Luis who seemed keen to make an early statement, leading out the swim and then forming a front pack of three with Van Riel and Hungary’s Mark Devay.

They were 28sec clear by the end of the first bike lap, with Blummenfelt taking on the lion share of the work in the chase group to close the gap. There was little change until the last of the eight 5km laps, when the surging Norwegian dragged it down to just a handful of seconds.

Unfortunately for British hopes, Yee and Bishop were in the following pack that continued to lose time and entered T2 more than 90sec adrift – too big an ask even for a runner of Yee’s calibre.

The run leg in Hawrelak Park became an attritional battle as one by one the triathletes dropped away at the front until Blummenfelt only had Van Riel and Bergere for company. Yee was eating up the ground behind with New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde for company for the first-half of the run.

But while the finish line came too quickly for the 23-year-old from Lewisham, it didn’t for a jubilant Blummenfelt who took the tape with a roar.

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With the Ironman World Championship in Kona postponed until February, Blummenfelt will now target Ironman 70.3 success in Utah next month instead.