Van Egdom claims Men’s U23 world title
by Chelsea White, ITU Media
The Netherlands’ Jorik Van Egdom scored the men’s Under23 World Championship title, not only surviving the blistering heat, but thriving in the conditions with a scorching run.
“I feel so good,” Van Egdom said. “On the run I thought that this is once in a lifetime so I just need to ‘keep on going, keep on going’. It was so hot. Everything was overheated. The other competitors chased me a bit to about 26 seconds, but then I think at the end it was 35 seconds. But I had a great run and a great bike, it just feels so good!”
Manoel Messias (BRA), who was the Junior World Champion last year, took home silver, while Hungary’s Bence Bicsak (HUN) rounded out the podium for bronze.
Weather conditions and high temperatures caused the U23 race to be delayed an hour and a half. When the men did take off, it was Spaniard David Castro Fajardo who led into the first transition after the one-lap 1500m swim.
However, the swim didn’t help break up the fully stocked field of 75 men, and several athletes grabbed their bikes together, including Tayler Reid (NZL), William Huffman (USA) and Tom Richard (FRA).
Ten men furiously charged forward on their bikes under the high sun in an effort to ditch the competition. The group of Castro, Huffman, Richard, Tayler Reid (GBR), Edson Gomez (MEX), Jorgen Gundersen (NOR), Xavier Grenier-Talavera (CAN), Vicente Trewhela (CHI), Gianluca Pozzatti (ITA) and Sam Ward (NZL). The effort paid off for a 19 second-lead ahead of the chase group of 40 men, which was being pushed forward by Wian Sullwald (RSA).
However, their gap was short lived. As the packs came together midway through the eight-lap bike for an almost 50-man peloton.
On the bell lap of the bike, Van Egdom, Ryousuke Maeda (JPN), Shiruba Taniguchi (JPN) and Sylvain Fridelance (SUI) made a last ditch effort to drop the large train of men, which proved to be a pivotal point for Van Egdom, as the break earned him a 40-second gap over several top athletes off the bike.
The young Dutch athlete took off on the run, and maned to maintain his large advantage on each lap, crossing over for his first World Champiosnhip title by 21 seconds.
Behind him, Declan Wilson (AUS) moved up to the top of the pack on the second lap, as did Antonio Serrat Seoane (ESP). But it was a gang of Frenchmen that looked the most dangerous, as four Frenchman positioned themselves in the lead of the chase pack.
However, world championship medals were not theirs to take home, as Messias made a move late in the last lap to take silver.
“I have been working a lot on my running, I am happy because all of the work that I did throughout the entire year now has paid off. I did feel the heat, but my preparations in Brazil were in the same conditions, so I am used to the heat,” said Messais.
Bicsak followed the Brazilian over for bronze just two seconds later.
“I can’t believe it, this is better than my biggest dreams,” Bicsak. “I just cannot believe it. On the run I tried to not push so hard, I tried to find my energy on the last lap. I then gave my all!”
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