Luke Willian shines on home soil to take the tape in Wollongong

by Olalla Cernuda on 20 Apr, 2024 06:43 • Español
Luke Willian shines on home soil to take the tape in Wollongong

Despite the wind and rainy day, Australia’s Luke Willian brought the sunshine to Wollongong to capture a victory on home soil that delighted the crowds on the coastal oceanic city. A dramatic sprint on the blue carpet saw South African rising star Jamie Riddle capturing the silver medal, his first-ever podium on the World Triathlon Cup circuit, while Diego Moya (CHI) ended up crossing the finish line in third just a few meters ahead of New Zealand Tayler Reid, who had to stop to serve a ten seconds penalty meters before finishing the race.

The Men’s race started with two of the favourites, Matthew Hauser (AUS) and Ben Djikstra (GBR) not able to take the start due to food poisoning. But the rest of the field lined up on the beach knowing that delivering the perfect race would not be as easy as it could look. The wind picking up and the drops of rain would make the bike segment a hard one that should be managed carefully.

It was Chile’s Diego Moya the one that led the group out of the water, making it back to the first transition in 8 minutes and 17 seconds, considerably fast considering the long run out of the water with 15 steps included. Behind him, other strong swimmers like Jonas Schomburg (GER), Jamie Riddle (RSA), Tayler Reid (NZL) or Lachlan Jones (Australia) made it together to the first transition, and managed to open a break with the chase group, that included fast runners like Jacob Birtwhistle (AUS) or Richard Murray (NED).

Ten athletes managed to make it into the lead group: Schomburg, Riddle, Reid, Moya, Jones, David Martin (CZE), Luke Willian (AUS), Gregor Payet (LUX), Martin Demuth (AUT) and Stefan Zachaus (LUX), while behind them the chasers were not able to get organised, and Murray, Birtwhistle and Tyler Smith (BER) and Brandon Copeland (AUS) were desperately trying to get them organise to close the gap.

But the gap kept growing, and by the time the lead pack made it to the second transitions, they had 36 seconds over the chasers. As soon as the athletes were running, Luke Willian decided to take his chances and pushed incredibly hard from the first meters, opening a gap that proved to be impossible to close. The Aussie never looked back, and cheered by the hundres of locals that made it to the Ocean side to cheers for the locals, he flew through the 5 kilometers run to cross the finish line in first place, his first World Cup victory in over seven years.

Behind them, Jamie Riddle found the grit to outsprint in the last meters Diego Moya, proving that he is in excellent form now that he has booked himself a ticket for the Paris 24 Olympics, after fulfilling all the qualification criteria set by Triathlon South Africa. Moya also capturing valuable points on his road to what would be his second Olympics.

The drama was right behind the leading trio, with Reid having to serve a 10 seconds penalty for leaving equipment outside the box, 10 seconds right before crossing the finish line that were enough to strip him of the silver medal, to have him finally crossing the finish line in fourth place. Disappointing for the Kiwi, but at least he secured points that will put him on a great position on the fight to represent his country in Paris next summer.

Fifth place on the day was for Callum McClusky (AUS), with another Aussie, Jake Birtwhistle, crossing the finish line in 6th place. Behind him, Richard Murray (NED), Bradley Course (AUS), Gabor Faldum (HUN) and Brandon Copeland rounded the top ten.

Related Event: 2024 World Triathlon Cup Wollongong
20 Apr, 2024 • event pageall results
Results: Elite Men
1. Luke Willian AUS 00:52:51
2. Jamie Riddle RSA 00:53:14
3. Diego Moya CHI 00:53:14
4. Tayler Reid NZL 00:53:15
5. Callum McClusky AUS 00:53:20
Results: Elite Women
1. Tilda Månsson SWE 01:00:39
2. Maria Carolina Velasquez Soto COL 01:00:40
3. Ainsley Thorpe NZL 01:00:40
4. Rachel Klamer NED 01:00:40
5. Erica Hawley BER 01:00:42
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