South Africa’s Richard Murray was top seeded leading into today’s race and he certainly didn’t disappoint by motoring home to claim victory in the 2018 Mooloolaba ITU Triathlon World Cup.
ITU athlete Max Stapely, currently training in Australia, led the group of nearly 30 men out of the ocean swim, including New Zealand trio Sam Ward, Hayden Wilde and Tayler Reid, Brandon Copeland, Luke Willian and Ryan Bailie from Australia and Canada’s Tyler Mislawchuk, as they hustled through transition and out onto the bike course, consisting of 4 laps of 5km.
In the early stages of the race it was Wilde that was showing established form ahead of the massive group of riders which included Willian and Murray, 40-seconds down on the leaders.
Murray proved that he was a force to be reckoned with looking to get to the front of the group for a fast transition to run.
“There was a lot of looking up and sitting around, a couple of the guys tried to break away. I tried to break away myself, not particularly sure why, but thought it would be good to get a hard ride in today,” said Murray.
As the athletes emerged from their second transition there were no doubts that this was going to come down to a wild and frantic running race. Wilde was one of the initial front-runners before Murray and Hauser steamed away from the field to lead. America’s Matthew McElroy produced a reckless run holding onto third place.
“It managed to all come together. I was really pushed on this one. “Matt (Hauser) turned the gas on in those final laps,” said Murray. The South African triathlete was determined to make his mark on Mooloolaba this year and produced a victorious golden finish.
“That was a lot harder than anticipated. 2nd time on the podium here and now top step,” said Murray.
Australian triathlete Hauser, who was crowned Junior World Champion at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Rotterdam, put Murray to the test on the run. “It was a great hit out today ahead of the Commonwealth Games in April. “I managed to handle myself on the bike and stay tucked into the pack and was able to have a bit of a kick at the end and come home for second place,” said Hauser.
Murray’s race in Abu Dhabi last week didn’t go accordingly to plan so today’s win in Mooloolaba stamped confidence as he commences his final preparations for the Commonwealth Games next month. Murray and Hauser will go head to head again in the world class competition of next month’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Queensland.
McElroy bolstered across the finish line to claim bronze and round out the elite men’s podium. “Super stoked with the performance and to be on the podium to set the year off.
“It was the perfect course for me, I have a surfing background so the swim was great and I also come from a running background,” McElroy said.
Defending champion Willian, who played a little cautious in preparation for next month’s Commonwealth Games, took out 8th position.
|Results: Elite Men|