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5 More things we learned from the Paris Test Event – men’s edition

Don't take on Alex Yee in a footrace, Morgan Pearson makes the most of his opportunity and more

Photo by: World Triathlon/ Wagner Araujo

With a who’s who of men’s draft-legal racing on hand to check out the Olympic course for next year, we knew that today’s Paris Test Event was going to be competitive and exciting. Here are a few things we took note of from today’s racing.

Yee nails Olympic qualification with decisive win in Paris

Wow, that is quite the course

Yeah, I know we said this in yesterday’s “Things we learned” story on the women’s race (see below), but the organizers sure have knocked it out of the ball park (I know – probably not an appropriate expression for a race in France) with this course. The backdrops are simply spectacular.

Six things we learned from the Paris Test Event

If you want to beat Alex Yee, don’t let it turn into a 10 km road race


I’m sure this wasn’t news to anyone of the folks racing, either, but if you’re going to have a group of over 50 cruising around the bike course and hitting T2 as a bunch, there’s a very good chance that Alex Yee is going to beat you all to the finish line. A look at the guy’s World Athletics page reveals some frighteningly fast times: 7:45 for 3,000 m, 13:29 for 5,000 m and 27:51 for 10,000 m. Those are times from “who knows how accurate the course is” triathlons – those are on the track. Who knows how accurate the run course was in France, but Yee’s 29:00 was 14 seconds faster than anyone else (Dorian Coninx went 29:14, Vasco Vilaca went 29:15).

Yee was just 20 seconds off the lead out of the water, so it’s not like he’ll be way back in a third or fourth chase pack. If anyone is planning to try and contend for the gold next year, they’re going to have to figure out how to either have a chunk of time off the bike, or have made the bike ride so challenging that the Brit is exhausted starting the run. (Good luck with that one, folks.)

A huge name is going to get left off the French team next year

You’ve got reigning world champion Leo Bergere, who finished fifth today. You’ve got Dorian Coninx, who took third ahead of Pierre Le Corre. Then there’s two-time world champion Vincent Luis, who has been struggling with an Achilles injury all year. Four superstars, three spots. It’s a great position for the French Triathlon Federation to be in, but no-doubt a bit stressful for the athletes.

Morgan Pearson nails an automatic qualifying spot

Americans love their automatic selection process – think of the Olympic Trials for track, for example. Morgan Pearson’s sixth-place finish ensured he’ll be at his second Olympics, joining Taylor Knibb on next year’s team.

Here’s what is really nuts – the guy wasn’t on the start list for the race until the day before the race. How’s that for taking advantage of an opportunity presented to you?

“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet,” Pearson said after the race. “This past day has been a whirlwind. I wasn’t on the start list until 14 hours before the race. I wasn’t even thinking about qualification that much until those last two laps (on the run). This means a lot to me, but maybe it means more to my family because they can come to this one.”

Let’s not count Kristian Blummenfelt out quite yet

Sure, my bet is that he’d have preferred a higher finish, but the Norwegian has somehow managed to balance a crazy race schedule of both middle- and draft-legal racing over the last little bit and was certainly part of the mix in today’s race.

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The Tokyo gold medalist might not be in spectacular short-course shape, but he’s certainly not far from it. And there’s a year to get things focussed as he prepares to defend his title next year. After the race Blummenfelt told Tri247.com that after the 70.3 worlds in Lahti, Finland, he wouldn’t be competing in any more long-distance races until after Paris. Exactly the kind of focus one would imagine he’ll need.