Britain's Max Stapley soars to first World Triathlon Cup gold in Chengdu

by on 29 Apr, 2024 08:14 • Español
Britain's Max Stapley soars to first World Triathlon Cup gold in Chengdu

Great Britain’s Max Stapley rose to the occasion in Chengdu, China on Monday morning, pulling clear of a four-deep lead group over the last lap to deliver a scintillating Olympic-distance gold and register a first World Cup win. He was with Jonas Schomburg (GER), Tayler Reid (NZL) and Mark Devay (HUN) for the majority of the 10km run before finally edging away, Schomburg securing a career best silver, Reid holding off Devay for the bronze.

“My training has gone perfectly into this, I texted my girlfriend this morning and said I was going to have a good one,” said a beaming Stapley. “I looked at the start list and there’s a few guys, we see each other every race in the break and gagging for it, so once it was on I was motivating the troops and getting it going. That’s how I want to race. I was trying to calm myself at the start of the run and the wind picked up so it got tactical, but when the gap opened up for it and I said to myself ‘there’s no time like now’. I’m on a high right now and want to thank all the people that support me… this one’s for the breakaway boys!”

Swim opens things up early on

Race number one Lasse Nygaard Priester took up position on the right of the pontoon staring at a tough 330m to the first buoy, some strong swimmers like Jonas Schomburg and Mark Devay preferring the left, and it was soon Devay pulling clear, Tayler Reid tucked on his feet.

As the turns were navigated for the first time, a single file of athletes was fast and flowing, Schomburg, Stapley and Michele Sarzilla of Italy going well but there was no surprise to see Devay out ahead as they rose out up the ramp and dived back in for the second 750m, Kyotaro Yoshikawa (JPN) switching places with Sarzilla as they pushed the second lap and began to head back to shore.

On the 140m run to the bike racks, John Reed (USA) led a second group 35 seconds back followed by Ben Dijkstra and Bence Bicsak +45s, Nygaard Priester already a minute off the front.

Six make it stick

A six-strong lead group formed on the bike that Mitch Kolkman (NED) and Christopher Deegan (AUS) couldn’t quite get onto the back of, leaving Devay with Valentin Morlec (FRA), Schomburg, Reid, Stapley and Yoshikawa over lap one of the bike. They quickly carved out a 45-second advantage to the Emil Holm-driven second pack, Priester’s third group drifting back to two minutes off the pace over the opening stages.

At the halfway point the leaders’ gap was out to a minute, Holm along with Luke Bate (AUS), Tyler Smith (BER) and Russell White (IRL) among the 26-deep bunch trying to dig their way back into the race, but with little success.

Priester’s group was also drifting further off the pace, effectively ending his chances to have an impact on proceedings, while Schomburg had delivered a fluid transition to get out onto the run in front of the rest. The German going a little easier on the throttle than in the past, they still had 1m35s to Badr Siwane (MAR), first of the second pack out and pushing on.

Hungary’s Gabor Faldum was five seconds off Siwane, Bence Bicsak another five off his teammate, both knowing that Paris points were on the line and going all in.

Heat turned up as Stapley delivers

Stapley and Devay were taking turns out front as first Yoshikawa and then Morlec were dropped on the first run lap, and suddenly it looked like a four-way shootout for the podium.

That is how it would stay until Devay began to fade at the bell, Stapley moving to the front and assuming a position he wouldn’t relinquish from there. Leading for the final 2km, the Brit put in a final surge to find some crucial daylight and by the final turn, the first World Cup gold was his, Schomburg finding the push to edge the silver from Tayler Reid, Devay just holding off a resurgent Morlec, Holm 6th, Bicsak 7th, Crisanto Grajales, Sarzilla and Reed rounding out the top 10.

“Second podium, second race in a week, wasn’t feeling that good in Australia with jetlag but felt better this week so happy for this and stoked for the guys on the podium”, said Schomburg. “We were working so hard on the bike, shout to Mark, too, for pushing the swim so hard, but it really worked. It was really crucial to get some more points on my Olympic ranking - three races to go… i’m ready for it.”

“That was hard! Im happy to be on the podium but that last 500m I was in the hurt box,” said Reid. “Max turned up the heat a little bit and I was gone. I loved how we raced today, Mark was a weapon out there today, to string the pack down was great, wicked to be on the podium after spending som time working in the trenches with them. I was hoping for a sprint but couldn’t quite get there!”

Related Event: 2024 World Triathlon Cup Chengdu
29 Apr, 2024 • event pageall results
Results: Elite Men
1. Max Stapley GBR 01:43:25
2. Jonas Schomburg GER 01:43:32
3. Tayler Reid NZL 01:43:39
4. Márk Dévay HUN 01:43:43
5. Valentin Morlec FRA 01:44:02
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