Csongor Lehmann brings in the gold to take the roof of his hometown Tiszy World Cup
The hometown hero’s destiny looked written, but Csongor Lehmann still had a huge amount of work to do as the final twists and turns of a dramatic 2023 Tiszaujvaros World Cup played out on Sunday afternoon. The local boy, born and raised in Tiszy, was clear with only Sergio Baxter Cabrera for company after the first few hundred metres of the 5km run, but the Spaniard was never going to make that gold easy to come by.
The pair became locked in an engrossing game of cat-and-mouse for four full laps until Lehmann picked his moment to try his major move and, with the elastic finally broken, he was finally able to soak up the crowd’s cheers as he hit the blue carpet with gold finally assured.
Baxter crossed for an excellent silver after a frustrating extended period sidelined through injury, behind it was another Hungary-Spain showdown, this time won by Alberto Gonzalez Garcia as he edged out Gabor Faldum to bronze.
Stapley and Devay power physical swim
With just 120m to the first buoy, it was always going to be a big race to see who could find clear water the quickest, Britain’s Max Stapley going well before Hungary’s Mark Devay patiently worked his way to the front.
There was no stringing out like in the women’s however, and ten seconds separated the top 12 up the ramp and onto the run into transition, Lehmann, Alessio Crociani (ITA) and Gergely Kiss (HUN) all on the chase.
They were joined by the likes of Darr Smith (USA) and Faldum as a front group if 20 slowly merged on the first lap, Casper Stornes (NOR) finding himself in no-man’s land between them and the Bence Bicsak-led chasers 30 seconds off the leaders.
20-deep pack pulls clear
Stornes was soon swallowed up as his chances of catching the front pack faded on lap three, but even with their collective firepower there was no closing down the gap to the front, up to 40 seconds at the bell.
Lehmann moved his way to the front as transition neared, but it was a hectic scene as the 20 men racked their bikes and tried to get away cleanest and set about the four-lap run.
Faldum and Lehmann were slick, Jannik Schaufler and Baxter right with them, but it was Lehmann who had a date with destiny and hit the hammer right from the outset, the Spaniard the only one able to stay the pace.
From there, it was a two-man showdown, the lead ebbing and flowing as moves were made and answered, Baxter looking the more composed but Lehmann with the fire in his belly and the crowd in his ears.
Before the final turn back to the home straight, Lehmann went once more and this time there was no response, the Hungarian going flat-out all the way to the line, leaving nothing to chance and sending the crowds wild as he finally scored the home World Cup win he craved.
As Baxter took silver, he turned to see Gonzalez outsprinting Faldum to the bronze, Rostislav Pevtsov (AZE) in fifth.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Csongor Lehmann. “I’ve dreamt about winning a world cup in my hometown and that last 100m was so emotional when I knew I had the win. Seeing my friends and the family watching, I put some pressure on myself but I knew things were working for me. Sergio was pushing such a hard pace on the run, I knew I had to put a magic move to drop him and left everything on the course. I started to feel more comfortable at the start of the third lap and knew I had something in me and I could play the attack card.”
“That was an amazing race, Csongor was really strong beginning to end,” said Sergio Baxter. “The heat was tough, it was full gas from the start of the race, an amazing crowd really pushed us through that race. Yesterday was my first ever time in a breakaway so I was new to being away on the bike, so I tried to make it a hard bike to tire out those legs around me. It’s been eight months since my last international race in Abu Dhabi, so I couldn’t aske for much more, I cant believe it to come back in such a way at such an iconic race.”
“I was just in fourth almost the whole time, catching Gabor, but I decided to push and got the bronze medal here in Tiszy so I can’t complain,” said Gonzalez. “This is one of the races I really enjoy, the city gets behind the sport and it makes us go faster and faster. It’s been a lot of races recently, and you cant always focus on the win, I’m improving step by step.”
Full results can be found here.
04:25 - 08 Jul, 2023
04:36 - 11 Sep, 2022
05:54 - 10 Mar, 2022