A strong field of 46 elite men lined up, on the white sand of Busan’s famous beach, for the inaugural World Triathlon Cup Haeundae, in favourable race conditions. The men’s race launched from Haeundae Beach at 1030AM KST, for the 750m ocean swim, where the water temperature was 21.5°C and the air temperature had risen slightly to 17°C, since the women’s race earlier, ensuring a non-wetsuit swim. Today’s sprint distance course featured a 5-lapped bike course (20km) and closed with a 4-lapped run segment (5km).
Italy’s Alessio Crociani was the first elite male out of the swim and into transition, to commence the opening lap of the bike course. A group of 10 elite men formed out in front, taking short turns and getting organisaed. The group, which included Crociani, Japan’s Takumi Hojo and Jumpei Furuya, Italy’s Nicola Azzano, Australia’s Max Stapley and Frenchman Anthony Pujades, was 24-seconds ahead of the chase group. The second group included pre-race favourite Romania’s Felix Duchampt and Italy’s Michele Sarzilla.
The front group of men worked together through the final lap of the bike segment and extended their lead by over 1-minute, all in a position to race for the medals, as they entered the final transition of the day.
Hojo, who has shown incredible run form in recent World Triathlon events, blasted out of transition with Pujades and Azzano on the hunt. All three athletes were fixed on being in medal contention. Crociani was moving in fourth position with Furuya in fifth. The three men in front built into their run which extended their lead, on the field, each lap.
At the halfway point of the run Purjades surged out in front with Hojo attempting to grip but the Frenchman had the strongest of the day. With an almighty stretch to the finish, Purjades claimed the gold medal in Haeundae!
“It was a crazy good finish for me and am so happy to do it. It’s been a while for me since I have raced in ITU (World Triathlon) races so yes, such a happy man now. It was a really nice race, I enjoyed it alot, so when is the next one now.”
“Most of the strategy was to save as much energy as I could until the run and then I tried to build my run, because it was four laps so it was quite easy to build it.”
“It was quite hard with the quarantine here but such a happy crew and everything was done well so that we could race, just thankful.”
Hojo produced an impressive performance in Busan to earn his first World Cup silver medal.
“I am so happy, I am on the podium, at a World Triathlon Cup, for the first time.”
In a sprint for third place, it was Italy’s Nicola Azzano who clutched the bronze medal in the inaugural World Triathlon Cup Haeundae.
“We exited the swim and we were in a group of 10. I thought ok, it’s a good group of strong bikers, Let’s go all out and see what could happen. It worked really well so I am really happy. I wanted to put a really good swim in today and that’s what I did, I wanted to go all out in the bike and breakaway and that’s what we did. I am really happy.”
Related Event: 2021 World Triathlon Cup Haeundae
|Results: Elite Men|
|Results: Elite Women|