Brownlee brings the heat for second successive win in Arzachena
Twelve months ago, Jonathan Brownlee set himself on course for another massive Olympic year with a mojo-boosting sprint-distance victory in Sardinia. On Saturday afternoon, the first action of the Paris 2024 Olympic Qualification Period saw him repeat the feat in even more emphatic fashion at the 2022 World Triathlon Cup Arzachena, leading from the early stages of the bike all the way to the tape.
It had been a four-man breakaway on the first of three draining climbs in the 30-degree heat, but only Tom Richard (FRA) could keep the pace up front across the run, eventually finishing third for a first World Cup podium after Brazil’s Manoel Messias had steamrolled his way into second with a lightening 5km.
“I love racing here, it’s a great course, it’s one of the hardest on the circuit,” said Brownlee. “I didn’t have my best swim, on the first lap of the bike I learned from last year there’s no point going on my own so I went really hard at the top of the hill, got a gap. The three of us worked really well together, then I knew on the run that I should have enough. I doubted myself over the last few years and I think it’s because, in my early career, races and podiums came one after the other. I am never going to take it for granted ever again. It’s absolutely brilliant to win again.”
The temperatures had cranked up into the low 30s by mid-afternoon as the men lined up on the beach platform, a busy 750m swim ahead with a huge field of 64 men heading to the first buoy.
The familiar sight of Mark Devay (HUN) was first to emerge from the turn and spearhead a rapidly stretching field, Richard Varga (SVK) Richard, Brownlee and Dylan Mccullough (NZL) for close company, but it would be Italy’s Alessio Crociani with a slick transition to come out ahead of Valentin Morlec (FRA) on the bikes.
Messias was alongside Adrien Briffod (SUI), Emil Holm (DEN), Leon Pauger (AUT), Jonas Schomburg (GER) and Max Stapley (AUS) poured out of transition trying to keep the leaders in sight, U23 World Champion Csongor Lehmann just off the back of that group.
By the time the first climb started to bite, Brownlee’s plan was clear, laying down the hammer and with only Richard, Devay and Mccullough able to stick with him. Attacking at the crest and into the downhill corners, the quartet had carved out an impressive 25-second lead by the end of lap one.
It was a big group struggling to match that pace, Antonio Serrat Seaone and Shachar Sagiv (ISR) among those working hard but they couldn’t prevent the gap stretching to 45 seconds at the bell, Casper Stornes (NOR) and Briffod both coming off at speed.
The gas was kept on and the gap maintained for the final lap, and then it was Brownlee again asking the questions after an awkward transition, able to pull clear over the first strides of the 5km run and putting 13 seconds into Devay, 20s into Richard and 40s into Mccullough.
Meanwhile Manoel Messias was motoring, passing first Mccullough then a tiring Devay, before easing into the silver position over the closing stages with 11 seconds over Richard in bronze.
Devay held on for fourth, Max Studer (SUI) ran his way to fifth ahead of Alberto Gonzalez Garcia. Radim Grebik (CZE) then edged an almighty sprint down the blue carpet with Emil Holm and Lasse Luhrs (GER), Jonas Schomburg rounding out the top 10.
“A lot of hard work from a lot of people has come together to achieve this result, and I am delighted with silver and carry on a great day for Brazil in Arzachena,” said a happy Manoel Messias.
“I am very happy, this is my first podium in the World Cup, that was the goal before the race, so it’s amazing. We did a breakaway just after the swim, I was just after Jonny Brownlee so I thought in my head that it was a good follow. It was very hard in the three laps but I gave everything as I entered T2 so it was very very hard. It’s amazing to join a podium with Jonny Brownlee.”
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10:57 - 28 May, 2022
01:23 - 25 May, 2022