Martin Sobey provided Canada’s one bright light at the World Triathlon Cup Lisbon, finishing 29th. After a flat tire put him out of contention, Tyler Mislawchuk cruised through the run to take 47th.
While the Canadian Olympic contenders had a tough day, Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt continued his incredible week, following up his impressive win in Yokohama last weekend with a gutsy leg in the Mixed Team Relay yesterday with another win today.
Swimming at the front
The day began really well for the Canadian team as Matthew Sharpe exited the water in eighth, with Alexis Lepage not far behind and Mislawchuk 18 seconds back in 25th. Sobey was 52nd at that point, 37 seconds behind the leaders.
Mislawchuk and Sharpe were quick to join the lead group, but it appears that Lepage had some sort of an issue and was out of the race shortly after T1.
“My task was pretty simple, I had to help Tyler as much as I could,” Lepage said. “I had a good swim and I waited for Tyler in T1 to help him bridge back the front pack. Unfortunately, after about 2 km on the bike, I had nothing left in the tank and I couldn’t help him anymore. My tasks were over at that time. It’s unfortunate because my window of opportunity was already small … The power output I had on the bike in the previous weeks/months was a lot greater than on the bike today and everything else (sleep, nutrition, mindset) was ready to go. I don’t understand yet why I couldn’t have some power on the bike today, but I know I gave everything I had leading to the race to be 100 per cent ready.”
Initially swim leader Richard Varga (SVK) and Germany’s Jonas Schomburg tried to make a break for it, but it wasn’t long before they were joined by a group of 15 that quickly swelled to 33. Blummenfelt appeared to be running the show in the group, and was content to have things cruise along so his teammate Gustav Iden, who was in the chase group, could join in the fun. That happened just past the halfway point of the bike as the groups joined, creating a big bunch of 55.
Around that time Mislawchuk flatted. Sharpe waited for his teammate and tried to pull him back to the group, but the almost two-minute deficit was too much to make up. Sobey, who had been in the chase group, was suddenly the leading Canadian in the race, coming off the bike in 39th place, just three seconds behind the leaders as they hit T2. Sharpe and Mislawchuk would hit the second transition 2:14 behind.
Blummenfelt sprints to another win
Schomburg flew to the front of the race for the second time starting the run, which set the stage for a group of five to join together at the front of the race that included Blummenfelt, Switzerland’s Max Studer, France’s Tom Richard, Spain’s Genis Grau and Schomburg. With about 2.5 km to go Blummenfelt decided it was time to spread things out, surging away from all but Studer. The Swiss athlete put in his own surge, which seemed to “poke the bear” a bit – after he caught up, Blummenfelt started to really push hard, dropping the Swiss athlete and charging to a second-straight win in 1:42:33. Studer would take second, with Grau rounding out the podium. Schomburg took fourth, with Richard finishing fifth.
Sobey would hang on for his 29th-place finish, 2:15 behind Blummenfelt. Sharpe started the run with Mislawchuk, but would drop out of the race during after the second lap.