Spain's David Castro crowned champion in Huatulco battle royale
In a breathtaking sprint to the tape David Castro wins gold in the 2023 World Triathlon Cup Huatulco. Canada’s Tyler Mislawchuk and multiple Huatulco champion showcased another mighty performance in Mexico to earn silver while Aram Peñaflor claims first World Cup medal with bronze in front of a home crowd.
Elite Men’s Race Report
A hot and humid day set the scene for race day in Southern Mexico for the 2023 World Triathlon Cup Huatulco. Spain’s David Castro was wearing number one and led the field of elite men onto the beach for the start of the sprint-distance World Cup race format.
Canada’s Tyler Mislawchuk, 2022 World Triathlon Cup Huatulco champion, was one of the first men out of the 750m swim and straight to the front into the first transition of the day. Castro, Chile’s Diego Moya, USA’s Chase McQueen and 2023 World Triathlon Cup Huatulco champion Genis Grau (ESP) were also among the leaders out of the swim.
Mislawchuk produced a quick transition and was the first athlete out on the 20km bike course in Huatulco. A group of 13 men, which included Mislawchuk, Moya, Grau, Antonio Bravo Neto (BRA) Alberto Gonzalez Garcia (ESP), McQueen quickly established a lead, with two distinct groups of athletes chasing in tow. New Zealand’s Kyle Smith, renowned for his phenomenal bike power, was also in the leading group, renowned for his bike power and form.
Across the bike course, two distinct groups had formed and by the final lap on the bike, the relatively large chase group was nearly one minute down on the leaders. The lead group now included Australia’s Jake Birtwhistle and Luke Bate.
With 5000m of running to go, Mislawchuk had an impeccable transition to sprint out onto the run course. All the big names in the lead group got away together leaving Castro with a slight sprint to catch back up. Gonzalez (Spain), Grau, Canada’s Brock Hoel, Israel’s Itamar Levanon and Bate, jostled for positions at the pointy end of the field. Halfway through the first lap Castro, Mislawchuk, Grau and Gonzalez established a gap on the chasers. Mexico’s Aram Michell Penaflor Moysen moved through and was able to catch the men up front.
Mislawchuk, Castro and Penaflor were able to push the pace to drop Grau and Gonzalez on the final lap. Stride for stride, gold, silver and bronze would be decided with this trio, who had nothing separating them on the run course.
In a tactical race, Castro appeared to be attempting to attack on the final stage of the race, Mislawchuk and Penaflor responded every time. Castro went again in the final 50 metres and it was the telling break. In a thrilling sprint down the blue carpet Castro, who was recently crowed 2023 European Championships, was able to find that extra gear to take victory in Huatulco.
“The conditions, the weather, it’s very very hard. The race is more tactical, more dangerous but the first position here today is very important for the Olympic classification.”
“The European Championships was very important for me to win. In my mind, it just clicked and today I just enjoyed the race, the public, the community here in Mexico. The bike is more tactic in the five, six positions and in the run I collaborate with Tyler (Mislawchuk) in a hard pace and the Mexican with the crowds cheering, it was amazing. I attacked with 100m to go and I saw Tyler behind and in the last 50m I was able to push it to win.
For Spanish, it is very very difficult. I currently have the third position in the Olympic ranking. For Spain, third is very difficult as there are seven triathletes in the fight. The most important is to enjoy the race and I am very happy,” said Castro.
Mislawchuk earned silver again in Huatulco in a mighty performance in tough conditions.
“I love Huatulco, everyone knows that. David (Castro) was too strong today. You can’t complain anytime you’re on the podium. The whole run was pretty tactical and once we had a three-way it was like cat and mouse. David is one of the best finishers in the world, we saw that in Madrid a few weeks ago and smoke a good finish. He’s not one of the guys you want to come to the finish with. I gave it my best shot but came out this close.”
“One race at a time, I climbed a few spots today, not many believers in the Tyler camp these days, a lot of people have given up on me but the ones who are around, that’s a nice one for them.”
“Next week is (WTCS) Montreal, it’s a big race at home and you want to perform.”
Penaflor put himself in a prime position to impress crowds in Mexico to be awarded bronze and a first World Cup podium in his career.
“Oh my god, it was tough since the beginning. When I am at the sprint with (David) Castro and (Tyler) Mislawchuk I was thinking, how did I get here but the Mexican crowd was amazing and supported me a lot and that’s how I got the strength to the finish. Castro and Mislawchuk were better but it’s amazing to come back with a bronze medal and now I feel grateful and very excited,” said Penaflor.
09:05 - 15 Jun, 2023