Messias the Untouchable puts on a World Cup show in Valencia
Brazil’s Manoel Messias was a man on a mission on a steamy Saturday evening in Valencia, flying clear towards the tail end of the 20km bike with just Tjebbe Kaindl for company before laying down a huge challenge to the rest of the field on the run that not even the mighty Mario Mola could answer.
It had been a fine return for Spain’s three-time World Champion, who looked on several occasions to have the Brazilian within range, before Messias summoned a consummate final kilometre to take the tape. Mola’s 5km split of 14m22s was the fastest of the day but only narrowly quicker than that of a resurgent Matthew McElroy (USA) who safely found his way back to the podium for the first time since being beset by injury.
“I’m very happy with today,” said the Valencia gold medallist. “The race was very fast but I was feeling good on the bike and the run, I was ready to attack on the bike, so I’m just very happy.”
Men’s number one Antonio Serrat Seoane (ESP) took up position on the far left of the pontoon joined by Takumi Hojo (JPN) and Jawad Abdelmoula (MAR), and the opening 200m of the swim saw both sides of the field diverge before honing in on the first buoy.
Messias looked to get on the feet of the likes of Seoane and Diego Moya, only Bence Bicsak (HUN) and McElroy of the top-ranked athletes opting for the opposite end, and it was Nicola Azzano setting a good pace straight through the centre.
But it was fan favourite David Castro Fajardo (ESP) who was up the ramp out of the water first at the end of the 750m swim, he and Portugal’s Miguel Tiago Silva followed by Azzano, Moya and Spain’s Alberto Gonzalez Garcia out of transition and onto the 20km bike.
Morocco’s Badr Siwane was just 13 seconds behind Castro along with Bicsak and Noah Servais (BEL), but it was on the first of four bike laps that Siwane would come together with Moya and Germany’s Henry Graf, all three men’s races dramatically over before they had got into their challenge.
Another Spanish contender, Genis Grau also had his race ended abruptly with a puncture, then it was Kaue Willy’s (BRA) turn to come off, only quick evasive action keeping the accident from escalating as the pack of riders struggled to come to terms with the course.
The pace was rarely pushed hard out front through the mid-point of the 20km bike, Felix Duchampt, Ren Sato and Gonzalez tucking in 15 seconds back on lap three and happy to keep the big group in check but staying clear of any possible trouble.
Suddenly upfront though, it was Messias and Kaindl really putting the hammer down at the end of lap three and rapidly carving out some precious daylight behind them. Nobody else was able to respond, and the duo worked well to maximise their effort as the pack allowed them to take a crucial 14 second lead out of transition.
The Spanish quartet of Gonzalez, Serrat, Castro and Roberto Sanchez Mantecon were first to hoover up Kaindl, but Messias was straight into the groove and able to maintain the gap over the first 2.5km out and back.
Mola was next to move into striking distance along with McElroy, but even he couldn’t exert enough pressure on the leader to slow his progress.
It was in fact Serrat who rolled the dice to catch and momentarily pass Messias, only for the Brazilian to go again straight away and then drop Serrat for whom the effort to bridge had been too much.
With just 1500m to go Mola found another gear to go through his compatriot as McElroy tucked in on their shoulders, then the former World Champion went all in to pull clear in second, but simply ran out of course, Messias still so smooth to the final turn and able to soak in the moment as he hit the blue carpet and took the tape, McElroy cruising into third ahead of Serrat.
For the full results click here.
Related Event: 2022 World Triathlon Cup Valencia
|Results: Elite Men|
|4.||Antonio Serrat Seoane||ESP||00:50:34|
|5.||David Castro Fajardo||ESP||00:50:48|
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