“Bittersweet” win for Wilde as he causes crash that takes out Yee and Brownlee in LeedsPhoto by: World Triathlon/ Tommy Zaferes
New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde took the win, then admitted that he inadvertently was responsible for the crash that took out British favourites Jonathan Brownlee and Alex Yee, along with his teammate Dylan McCullough.
“I have mixed emotions right now,” said Wilde said after managing to pull clear of France’s Leo Bergere to take his first WTCS win. “I’d like to firstly apologise to Jonny Brownlee, Alex Yee and my teammate Dylan McCullough. Up the hill, Dylan (McCullough) had his shoulder out a touch, a bit of wind blew, I hit him and a few people came down. That’s how racing goes. It’s bitter-sweet. I am really sorry for Jonny and the British boys, it’s their home town and I really wanted to race them properly. Other than that, I tried to go out in front and chase Vincent (Luis) and Leo (Bergere) but they were just too strong out there today on the bike. I actually thought I blew my legs up, I really struggled on the first hill but then started to get some momentum and then just found the legs on the second lap and just went for it.”
Hungary’s Mark Devay led the men out of the water after the 750 m swim, but a quick transition by Bergere and his countryman Vincent Luis allowed the pair to open up a 10 second advantage onto the bike. The two managed to open up a gap of one minute by the 10 km point of the 20 km bike.
As the pack behind was getting organized the crash happened, taking out Brownlee, who ended up breaking his elbow, Yee and McCullough – after that the pack was a bit more conservative on the downhill, allowing the Frenchmen to continue to stay in front. As if the race didn’t have enough drama, Luis miscounted the bike laps and flew through transition, then head to turn around and come back to T2. Bergere managed to hold things together, leaving transition with a bit of a lead on the chasers.
Wilde charged to the front and was in the lead by the end of the first of two laps. His 14:11 run split was more than enough for the win. Bergere hung on for second, with Germany’s Lasse Luhrs rounding out the podium.
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