Spanish legends and rising stars chase success at stacked Valencia World Cup
Hot on the heels of an incredible debut Bergen World Cup comes the promise of more brilliantly unpredictable sprint-distance entertainment on Saturday afternoon in the Spanish city of Valencia. The men’s race will be impossible to call thanks to a start list that is thick with talent and includes a wealth of explosive runners eager to let loose on the fast, flat course that hugs the harbour side.
Ahead of the 65 men starting lies a 750m swim in the Valencia Marina followed by four 5km laps on the bike with just one dead turn, transitioning to the 2-lap, 5km run that covers half the bike course. You can watch all the men’s action unfold on Saturday 3 September from 6.45pm local time on TriathlonLive.tv.
Wearing the number one is home favourite Antonio Serrat Seoane. Hailing from 1000km across the country, the 27-year-old has made a big impact over the past two seasons including fifth place here in 2020 with the fourth fastest run split behind that edition’s trio of notable adversaries Alistair Brownlee, Vincent Luis and Jelle Geens. Second in July’s Pontevedra race behind compatriot Sergio Baxter, his determination, consistency and form all suggest that a precious first World Cup podium is surely due.
Morocco’s Jawad Abdelmoula has been a man on a mission since his remarkable World Cup triumph in Tongyeong last year, only his second World Triathlon outing but a breakthrough performance that he has swiftly followed up on with a top 10 at WTCS Montreal and bronze at WTCS Hamburg in July. A signature long, smooth run stride has been the spark behind the 28 year-old’s success but he has quickly established the swim and bike prowess to be able to mix it with the best.
Japan’s Takumi Hojo was second in the Haeundae World Cup that formed part of that World Cup season-closing South Korean double-header last year, but has yet to find his very best so far this year since scoring a European Cup triumph in March. It has also been a rollercoaster of a year for Hungary’s Bence Bicsak who followed a fine top 10 at Tokyo 2020 with bronze at WTCS Abu Dhabi last November but has yet to quite hit those heights again so far in 2022. Could Valencia be the race where the 26-year-old reignites his next Olympic campaign?
Tim Hellwig (GER) followed U23 Worlds silver with WTCS Hamburg individual and Mixed Relay gold in 2021, and currently sits just outside the Maurice Lacroix Ranking top 10. Teammate Henry Graf also made a big splash 12 months ago at the Junior World Championships Quarteira only to have his Algarve title charge derailed with stomach issues. A career-first World Triathlon Cup will be the next big test for this exciting 20-year-old talent.
Proving his long journey back to full power is nearly over in Norway last weekend was USA’s Matthew McElroy, the fastest athlete over the final 5km run in Bergen and looking ready to rekindle the fire that burned so brightly in 2019 as he scooped a trio of World Cup wins in succession and a first Series podium in Leeds. Nothing has been straightforward since then, with injuries hampering any consistency but with the Paris 2024 start line his target, Valencia could be the race to firmly underline that the Mac is well and truly back.
Three-time World Champion Mario Mola starts only his second World Triathlon race sine Tokyo 2020 and the Mallorca-born 32-year-old will want to give fans a reminder of what he is capable of over 5km and could certainly be pushing for a crowd-pleasing podium if still in touch with the front pack off the bike.
Also in the top 10 here two years ago was Manoel Messias, the Brazilian bullet always capable of producing a show-stopping run in the heat just as he did in Arzachena and WTCS Montreal earlier in the year.
Canada’s former Junior Worlds runner up Charles Paquet continues his pursuit of a first World Cup podium, while Spain’s Genis Grau got his first taste of World Cup gold in Huatulco and will be eager to reproduce that dramatic and successful sprint finish in front of a home crowd this weekend.
Leading the French line is Paul Georgenthum, who pushed Hellwig all the way to the line at last year’s WTCS Hamburg and would love to register a first World Cup podium, while Grant Sheldon is the top-ranked Brit, arriving with the wind in his sails after a fifth-place finish at the Commonwealth Games.
Valencia will also be the second of three supported events in 2022 for members of the ASICS World Triathlon Team hailing from smaller and developing National Federations. Joining Jawad Abdelmoula will be fellow Moroccan Badr Siwane, Estonia’s Henry Rappo and Chilean Diego Moya, all looking to secure vital points in their hunt for a place on the Paris 2024 start line.
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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