Coninx blindsides Blummenfelt to take gold in blockbuster finish in Bergen
The Norwegian team promised the Men’s race in Bergen would be one for the history books, and they delivered. With over 20.000 spectators packing the streets of the idyllic Norwegian town, home of Olympic and World Champion, the Bergen World Cup was a Kristian Blummenfelt show from beginning to end, but with Dorian Coninx (FRA) not giving up and stealing the show to claim the gold medal at the Norwegian’s backyard. The Frenchman was followed across the finish line by local hero Blummenfelt and another Norwegian, Vetle Bergsvik Thorn.
The start line in Bergen was packed with talent, rising stars, local heroes and classic names on the start list, that included three Olympic medallists on the men’s field: Blummenfelt, Jonathan Brownlee (gold in Tokyo 2020 Mixed Relay, Silver in Rio 2016 and bronze in London 2012), and Dorian Coninx (bronze in Tokyo 2020 Mixed Relay. Along with them, a full start list packed with talent willing to face one of the hardest and more challenging courses of the season: 750m swim with the water at 15.9 degrees and mandatory wetsuits, followed by a 20km bike course that had not a single meter to be relaxed to finish with a 5km run along the city center.
The atmosphere was amazing in Bergen, with the crowds going literally wilde when Blummenfelt, Gustav Iden, Casper Stornes and Bergsvik Thorn took their positions on the pontoon. Gustav’s neighbours wearing tshirts with his name; Kristian’s family; kids from the local club coached by Gustav’s brother, volunteers, police officers… no one wanted to miss the show.
it was Nicolò Strada (ITA) the one that hit the blue carpet first out of a fast swim, but he had Dorian Coninx, Seth Rider (USA) and Mark Devay (HUN) right at his feet. The cold waters and sprint distance was not easy to deal with for Blummenfelt, who left the water just by Jonathan Brownlee almost 20 seconds behind, and even worst for Iden, who lost 40 seconds in the water.
Blummenfelt had a close-to-perfect transition, though, and managed to catch the lead group, led by Coninx, while Brownlee, Matthew McElroy (USA) and Iden were caught behind. The Norwegian found himself in a 12 men lead pack alongside Stornes, Thorn, Sylvain Fridelance (SUI), Tom Richard (FRA) or Genis Grau (ESP), among others, and decided that no one better than him knows the turns, cobblestones and challenges of this bike course, so he just moved to the first position of the pack, with the crowds going crazy all around the course.
Behind them, Iden and Brownlee were trying to organise the chase, but the technical and narrow circuit didn’t make it an easy task, and soon they were 45 seconds behind.
The lead group, meanwhile, never slowed down and the 12 of them hit the second transition knowing that beating Blummenfelt on the run in the streets where he grew up it wouldn’t be an easy task. But Coninx was determined to maximise his chances by setting up the pace early enough. His teammate Richard followed him as soon as they were on their running shoes, while behind the two of them Blummenfelt was trying not to show up his cards too early.
He was not by himself. Stornes and Thorn quickly followed the leading trio, to find themselves half way through the run with three Norwegians chasing two Frenchmen. Blummenfelt kept looking right and left to try to decide the best moment to attack, and it was right in the list climb in the city center, but Coninx is not an easy one to beat when it all comes to a run, and he knew it. When both of them headed the blue carpet it looked like it would be the second sprint finish of the day in Bergen, but Coninx found the extra gear in the last meters to claim his first ever World Cup win, with Blummenfelt finishing in second and Thorn stepping on a World Cup podium for the first time of his life.
“It was a really hard race that I don’t even know how I found the legs to sprint to the finish and win” said Coninx. “The atmosphere was just astonishing, I can only thank Bergen and everyone who came to cheer today, it was incredible”, he said.
Incredible was for Blummenfelt to grab the silver medal on a sprint race just a week after competing and winning the Collins Cup, in long distance. “I know that I have been doing mostly long distance races this year, but I have been preparing for Bergen all year long. I am just extremely happy to be able to do it at home in front of so many people. It was incredible”, said the Olympic champion.
Also extremely happy was Thorn, 23 years old, the youngest of the Norwegian team. “I am so happy that I just can’t believe it”, he just said.
Related Event: 2022 World Triathlon Cup Bergen
|Results: Elite Men|
|3.||Vetle Bergsvik Thorn||NOR||00:55:42|
04:45 - 28 Aug, 2022
12:07 - 25 Aug, 2022