After they dominated the 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series (WTCS), it was an unbelievable shock when Alex Yee and Hayden Wilde were pipped from the world title when France’s Leo Bergere took the Championships Final and neither finished high enough to win the title. That made Bergere an unlikely world champion.
After once again dominating the WTCS series, triathlon fans were anticipating another spirited race between the Brit, Yee, and the Kiwi, Wilde, for the world title. As long as each finished in the top six or so, they were pretty much guaranteed the world title. Once again, though, that didn’t happen and we got to see a different Frenchman, Dorian Coninx, sprint to the Finals win, taking the world title in the process as Yee and Wilde failed to finish high enough to take the overall world championship.
Favourites gapped after the swim
Things started to go south for Yee and Wilde in the swim – the pair lost 24 seconds after the first of two swim loops, and were 49 and 50 seconds back as they ran to T1 behind swim leader Matt Hauser (AUS). Wilde managed to drop his swim cap as he ran from the swim exit, too, which resulted in a 15-second penalty.
Initially a group of 14 hammered out of T1 in front that included Conninx and his countrymen Bergere, Tom Richard and Pierre Le Corre, along with Portugal’s Vasco Vilaca, who entered the race in third place in the standings. It wasn’t long before another group of 10 that included Canadian Tyler Mislawchuk, bridged up to the front, making it a group of 24 out in the lead.
Behind them, in the first chase group, Wilde found himself doing the lion’s share of the work, with Tokyo gold medalist Kristian Blummenfelt still dealing with illness after his PTO Asian Open win in Singapore struggling to try and help. The Norwegian did go up front for a while, but in the end the group hit T2 46 seconds behind.
That was way better than Yee fared, though. The Brit missed the Wilde and Blummenfelt group and found himself 2:18 back as he hit T2 in the third chase group.
French dominance again
With three men up at the front of the run, France certainly appeared ready to take the day, but things remained very much in the air with regards to the overall world title. Vilaca remained in the front group as Wilde managed to gain time on the men ahead, even after he took his penalty at the end of the first run loop.
American Morgan Pearson made a break during the second lap, which ended up being too much for Vilaca, who was dropped from the lead group. Le Corre managed to shut Pearson’s break down, setting up a group of five – Bergere, Le Corre, Coninx along with German’s Tim Hellwig and Lasse Luhrs – to contend for the medals over the final lap.
In the end it was Coninx who sprinted to the win in 1:42:22, with Hellwig taking silver a second later, with Le Corre rounding out the podium in the same time as the German. Bergere would end up fourth at 1:42:28 with Luhrs fifth in 1:42:44.
Wilde would end up crossing the line in ninth (he moved up a spot after Brazil’s Miguel Hidalgo was DQ’d), one spot behind Canada’s Tyler Mislawchuk.
Once all the math was done, it was Coninx who would take the world title ahead of Wilde and Bergere.
“I’m kind of gutted, I tried to get the guys in the group to help,” Wilde said after the race. “I needed 20 seconds.”
Wilde was slightly off – in the end the difference was 23 seconds that separated him from a world title. All of which made for another incredibly exciting World Triathlon Championship Finals in Pontevedra, and another dramatic finish to the WTCS series.