It’s been a couple of years since we’ve seen France’s Vincent Luis at the top of a World Triathlon Championship Series (WTCS) podium, but the Frenchman showed that he’s returned from injury in fine form today with an impressive win at WTCS Bermuda, setting up a breakaway out of the water, then pulling clear on the run to take an impressive win just a few weeks ahead of the Grand Final in Abu Dhabi at the end of the month.
Luis leads the swim
As has come to be the norm at any event he’s in, Luis led the way out of the water, setting up a breakaway group right from the first leg. The first nine men were just 14 seconds apart with a lead of about seven seconds to the next chasers – included in that lead group along with Luis were Germany’s Jonas Schomburg and Portugal’s Vasco Vilaca.
By the end of the first lap there were eight in the lead group, who had a 40-second lead on the chase group which included many of the pre-race favourites including Great Britain’s Alex Yee and Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt and Gustav Iden.
The lead group managed to work well together, but could never really open up much more time on the chasers, with Blummenfelt often seen at the front of the chase group, doing his best to ensure the gap didn’t grow too much. By the end of the eight-lap, 40 km bike that included eight climbs up the steep Flora Duffy Hill, Schomburg had put himself in front of the lead group of seven, who hit T2 with a 40-second lead on the huge chase group of 31.
More Luis domination on the run
Biding his time through the first of four laps on the run, Luis made his move and pulled clear of the rest of the lead group as he hit the second lap of the run. Belgium’s Jelle Geens and Spain’s Antonio Serrat Seoane stayed together in second and third, holding off the charge from the chase group, but unable to match Luis’ quick pace up ahead. Another Spaniard, Roberto Sanchez Mantecon was also making a strong move towards the front.
Behind a chase group that included Yee. Blummenfelt, Iden, Hungary’s Mark Devay and Bence Bicsak, Switzerland’s Adrien Briefed, Portugal’s Joao Silva, France’s Tom Richard and Germany’s Lasso Luhrs were all trying to put pressure on the leaders, but couldn’t make many inroads.
Hitting the final lap Serrat Seoane surged away from Geens and made a push, trying to close his 10-second deficit on Luis, with Sanchez Mantecon moving ahead of Geens as he battled for the final spot on the podium.
There was no touching Luis, who held on for the win over Serrat Seoane, with Sanchez Mantecon making it two Spaniards on the podium. Geens hung on for fourth, with the crowd enjoying a thrilling sprint to the line between Yee and Blummenfelt, with the Brit taking fifth and the Norwegian grabbing sixth.
“Last year I thought I was done, then this year I got injured again,” an emotional Luis said after the race. “I am surrounded by amazing people – they believe in me. On the last lap I was remembering all those days that I couldn’t run … I came here with zero expectations of my run.”
You can see the full results here.