Tilda Mansson produces more 5km fireworks to take photo-finish gold in Tiszaujvaros World Cup
All the signs were there during the previous day’s qualifier of the 2023 Tiszaujvaros World Cup, when Sweden’s Tilda Mansson gritted her teeth and went shoulder-to-shoulder with Anna Godoy Contreras down the blue carpet even with her place in the finals already safe.
On Sunday afternoon, it was all on the line as Mansson and Noelia Juan came towards transition for the final time neck-and-neck after nearly an hour in the scorching Hungary heat, and this time the Swede’s late surge took her past the Spaniard right at the tape to secure her second World Cup gold in the most dramatic fashion.
It was a tough one to swallow for Juan but her delight at a first podium was clear, while Jolien Vermeylen hung tough for the bronze after a hective two-weeks of racing.
Seregni torpedos into lead
There was little surprise to see Italy’s Bianca Seregni out front in the 750m swim, more surprising was the fact the Italian was able to put a full 30 seconds into another dart, Hungary’s Zsanett Bragmayer.
Behind her Vermeylen was hanging in, and soon out onto the 20km bike chasing the home favourite while Seregni enjoyed clear air out ahead.
First the Belgian was hoovered up by the chasers, then Bragmayer likewise, collectively still some 40 seconds off Seregni as they merged with the second chasers, driven on by Norway’s Solveig Lovseth, after three of eight laps.
Norwegian train fired up again
The Norwegian then helped reel Seregni in as she gave way to the inevitable after soloing for half the bike, and then Lovseth forged another small break as athletes were shelled off the back unable to stay the pace.
Lovseth moved again on the final lap to hit transition first, but it was Bragmayer smoothest into her shoes and out for the 4-lap 5km run.
Vermeylen clicked into gear and was soon leading seven athletes snaking through the course in single file, Juan and Mansson off the back, Lovseth, Angelica Prestia, Bragmayer and Marta Pintanel Raymundo going well.
Juan vs Mansson down to the wire
The seven stuck together as Mansson made her way to the front and upped the pace, only Juan and Vermeylen able to match it, but just as it looked like the Swede was ready to take control, Juan found a kick and pulled ahead with 200m to go.
There she stayed as she hit the blue carpet, only for Mansson to come flying up the inside and burst past right at the tape to take the win by a fraction of a second, Juan the silver and a tiring Vermeylen safely home in third.
“I just thought I would go as hard as I can and just try to get rid of the others but they were so strong today,” said Mansson. “I thought I was second on the sprint but she slowed down a bit and I thought sprint it! Last year it was the same with Jolien. I tried to stay with her and then move up and keep the pace. It’s always nervy before the race but I wanted to do the best swim I could and trust in my body. Solveig is so strong on the bike and did some good pushes so I knew I had to stay with her!”
“Im so happy, I wanted to win but I’m so excited,” said Noelia Juan. “I swam well and stayed on the front on the bike and ran for all I could, I just didn’t see Tilda coming on my left! At the beginning of the run I felt strong and I wanted to get out ahead.”
“I think it’s my 4th race in 13 days,” said a tired but happy Vermeylen. “I didn’t know what I had left in my legs today so I went for it one kilometre out today because I didn’t want a sprint finish! I think it was a hard course to work together on the bike, but once Seregni was caught we were able to slow it down for the run. Now Hamburg in five days!”
Full results available here.
04:25 - 08 Jul, 2023
12:23 - 05 Jul, 2023
04:45 - 28 Aug, 2022
01:51 - 24 Jun, 2022