Earlier this fall, Vincent Luis won the World Triathlon Championship Series (WTCS) event in Bermuda, his first podium finish at WTCS event in two years. In a 12-month period that’s included injuries and even getting hit by a car on his way to a runner-up finish at Ironman 70.3 Indian Wells-La Quinta, the two-time world champion has had more than his share of frustrations. Things are definitely on an upswing, though – today the three-time Olympian surged to an impressive win at Clash Daytona.
Two years ago Luis appeared ready for a big day at Daytona International Speedway, but ended up having to serve a penalty. Today there was no issue – as Luis led the way into T1 (after trailing Henri Schoeman after the first lap of the two-loop, 1,6 km swim), then stayed near the front for much of the bike. It was another short-course specialist competing in his first long-distance event, American Seth Rider, who was in front for much of the first two-thirds of the bike, with Luis and Schoeman close behind, but as the leaders hit the 40 km point of the ride Great Britain’s Tom Bishop surged to the front.
By the end of the 60.2 km bike Bishop had opened up a lead of a minute on American Andrew Starykowicz, with Luis close behind.
On the run it didn’t take long for Luis to get ahead of Starykowicz, but it was Portugal’s Joao Pereira and American Jason West who were making the biggest move towards the front of the race. Bishop hung on to his lead for the first two laps of the run, but then Luis surged ahead. Pereira also charged away from West heading into the final lap, and with about a kilometre of running to go had managed to close the gap to 18 seconds behind the Frenchman.
You don’t win two world titles unless you know how to consolidate a lead, which Luis did in style, pulling clear to take the win in 2:23:48. Pereira would take second in 2:24:12, followed by West in 2:24:58. Bishop would hang tough for fourth, 2:25:30, while American Matt Hanson bounced back from his 2:35:39 marathon run at Ironman Arizona (where he took second) 12 days ago to round out the top five (2:27:04).
Canada’s Matt Sharpe (2:27:57) outsprinted Germany’s Jonas Schomberg (2:28:00) for sixth, with Jackson Laundry finishing eighth in 2:28:43.
Luis heads straight from Florida to Bahrain for the 70.3 race there in a couple of weeks – today’s race should be a warning to his competition – he’s back to his winning ways.