Eric Lagerstrom put together one of his fantastic videos, this one from inside the bike pack in Chengdu, China at last weekend’s ITU World Cup event.
In this race, Ryan Fisher (AUS) showcased that he is able to win when it counts. According to the triathlon.org press release, leaving it all up to a sprint finish, Fisher was able to break away at the very end to cross the finish line at 1:46:07 and claim his first gold medal since he won the 2013 Ishigaki ITU World Cup in 2013. Rostyslav Pevtsov (AZE) walked away with the silver medal, while Kevin Mcdowell (USA) won the bronze on a grueling day.
“I am over the moon to be honest, I wasn’t 100% sure what sort of form I was in, I have only raced a couple of local races so far this year and it has been a long time since I have done an ITU race so this is a big confidence booster to come out here for my first race of the year and race like that.”
As for the sprint, Fisher wasn’t sure how that would play out.
“I have always had a little bit of confidence in my sprint but at the end of 10k it is not always the best sprinter who wins, it is who has a little bit left, I went on to the blue carpet in second and there was three of us and – I don’t want to see the video as it won’t look good, I just closed my eyes and went for it, it was probably a bit ugly.”
The bike leg did little to separate the leaders from the rest. After the first lap with Irving Perez (MEX) had a slight advantage in a leading pack of 10, but the advantage didn’t hold. A massive 46-strong group formed and remained consistent for the next four laps. But on the final lap two brave athletes made a small breakaway. Kohei Tsubaki (JPN) and Gaspar Riveros (CHI) capitalized on an onward push and were able to gain a small lead. However the 44-man pack they left behind were only a mere 28 seconds back coming into T2 and had grown even larger as the chasers caught them to form a massive group of 60 plus athletes.
That second chase group, which was led at times by young New Zealander Cooper Rand had done well to join the leaders. Down by over a minute after the first lap, they were able to close the gap to cause major chaos in the transition zone, forming an impressive herd that left all predictions down to the run.
Other notable performances came from Hunter Kemper (USA), the 39 year old posting a strong fourth place finish, while Manuel Huerta (PUR) posted one of the best finish in an ITU World Cup by a Puerto Rican with his 8th place.