A breakthrough performance for Hugo Milner with gold in Miyazaki
An emotional victory for Hugo Milner (GBR) to win World Cup gold in Miyazaki, a breakthrough result for the young British star. A hard earned silver for Dylan McCullough (NZL) with a dominant and gripping performance. A huge surge on the run saw Lasse Nygaard Priester (GER) claim bronze.
A field of 65 world class men lined up along Hitotsuba beach for the 2023 World Triathlon Cup Miyazaki, featuring one of the strongest World Cup start lists the tour has witnessed.
The entire field of men was stretched out in the early stages of the 2 lap 1.5km swim, with many athletes favouring the inside line as they went around the swim buoy. By the midpoint of the first lap, Hungary’s Márk Dévay and New Zealand’s Dylan McCullough were leading them out with Japan’s Kenji Nener in third.
Devay, McCullough, Nener, Germany’s Jonas Schomburg, Canada’s Aiden Longcroft-Harris and Tyler Mislawchuk, Great Britain’s Samuel Dickinson and South Africa’s Jamie Riddle were among the men to exit the water and enter the first transition of the race, after a tough beach run.
Germany’s Lasse Nygaard Priester and silver medallist in Tongyeong last weekend Ricardo Batista exited 35 seconds down on the leaders.
Onto the 8 lap 40km bike a group of 11 athletes had formed with a 17-second advantage. The chase group featured Dickinson, Panagiotis Bitados (GRE), Great Britain’s Max Stapley, Jack Willis and Cameron Main.
Mislawchuk was 20 seconds adrift of the leaders and admitted to being unwell out on the bike course.
McCullough was really pushing the pace out front and draining the legs of the field. Japan’s Takumi Hojo didn’t appear to be making too many pushes and was doing his best to stay with the leaders. As the men went through transition and onto the 3rd lap, Hojo took an unfortunate turn which resulted in him coming off his bike and not being able to finish the race. The leading group was now made up of 10 athletes. The chase group had managed to pull back a few seconds and were now 12 seconds from the back of the front group to the next chase group.
By lap 4 of the bike, the main and chase groups had formed one group of 16 athletes which featured Norway’s Casper Stornes. As the men started to push to the midway point Mislawchuk and Italy’s Gianluca Pozzatti, 2022 winner of the World Triathlon Cup Miyazaki, were working hard to stay in contact with the front group.
Dickinson and Willis continued to work together as they did last weekend in Tongyeong, taking their turns to lead the charge. Germany’s Simon Henselieit and Japan’s Mitsuho Mochizuki riding 35 seconds down on the leaders. Australia’s Brandon Copeland and Spain’s Alberto Gonzalez-Garcia were right up there in the leading group. Great Britain’s Stapley also took his turn up the front of the bike.
By the latter stage of the bike segment, the 16 athletes in the leading group, featuring the likes of Dickinson, Stapley, Willis, Copeland, Austria’s Tjebbe Kaindl, Frenchman Valentin Morlec, Longcroft-Harris, Schomburg, Batista, Nener, Gonzalez Garica, Stornes, McCullough and Bitados, had done some work to extend the advantage over the chasers, with the gap being 45-seconds. Bitados was showing superb form and talent, in his debut season, riding right up with the best of the field and in the lead.
Schomburg and Kaindl were trying to make pushes off the front but the group was so strong and kept reeling them right back into the pack.
By the closing stages of the bike, the gap to the chase group had extended to 1 minute with a small group appearing to be doing a lot of work to rotate through and doing their turns including Nener, Stapley, Stornes, Schomburg and McCullough.
At the end of the bike portion of today’s race, USA’s John Reed, Germany’s Simon Henseleitt and Valenin Wernz were looking to push the pace in the chase group and although they had brought back a few seconds, they found themselves 45seconds off the leaders. Bicsák and Australia’s Jake Birtwhistle were 1-minute back again.
Australia’s Copeland initially found a gap as he made his way out of the final transition of the day and onto the 4 lap 10km run. Schomburg was right on the shoulder of Australia with Nener sitting in third. Devay and Stapley in 4th and 5th.
A lead group of 7 athletes soon came together with Copeland settling back in.
After the first couple of kilometres, Schomburg was exactly where he liked to be at the front of the field, Batista and Nener right there with him. Copeland, Stapley, McCullough were clinging on with the front runners.
Dickinson looked to be falling behind the pace of the front runners and 20 seconds adrift.
Priester, Milner and Mislawchuk were running themselves up to 13th, 14th, 15th respectively and continued to overtake athletes as they charged through the field.
McCullough went off the front as he showed he had something in reserve, at the midway point of the run. Nener and Batista closed in. The early pace setters, Copeland and Schomburg dropped slightly back.
McCullough made an impressive start to the last 5km with a very strong tempo and pace. Batista was running in 2nd and Milner, who outstandingly had run his way through the field, was now in 3rd.
The end of the 10km run in Miyazaki came down to a thrilling showdown with the men jostling for positions between Milner, McCullough and Batista and back to Priester and Mislawchuk, who stormed the field to end up in the pointy end of the race.
A remarkable closing stage of today’s standard-distance race saw new British talent Hugo Milner take the tape in Miyazaki to earn his first ever victory on the World Triathlon Cup stage. Milner only started in triathlon two years ago and crossed the line in 52nd place last weekend in the World Triathlon Cup Tongyeong and 21st in the recent World Triathlon Cup Tangier.
“I feel very shocked to be honest. The last two years have been really hard. I only started triathlon two years ago, to this month and I’ve been improving slowly but then this past year. I’ve kind of just hit a wall in some of my performances last week and today I came 50 seconds right from the back. In some of the World Cups before, I was finishing outside the top 20. This is my fourth World Cup now so to get the gold is unbelievable. I was so emotional at the finish because I’ve worked so hard the last two years and at times kind of doubted myself. To get it today is a dream come true,” said gold medallist Milner.
A thrilling battle for silver saw young gun Dylan McCullough be awarded a hard fought silver and the first World Triathlon Cup medal of his career.
“I’m so stoked to be on the podium today, it was fourth in New Plymouth at the start of the year, fourth last week in Tongyeong, so to get silver today I’m super happy about and perfect time because it’s the end of the season and time for holidays now so you couldn’t end it in a better way,” said silver medallist McCullough.
The surprise of the showdown was Germany’s Priester storming home to earn bronze with Mislawchuk in 4th and Batista in 5th.
“Thank you, until ten seconds ago I didn’t know I was third, I thought I counted three guys in front of me so I’m very happy with the result. I really could believe in my run so I just kept on running and then it became interesting and yes, very happy with that.” said bronze medallist Priester.
Batista finished in 5th place today after having to serve a penalty on the run, for equipment out of the box in transition,
Replay the race on-demand over on TriathlonLive.tv.