Mexico’s Crisanto Grajales dominates in Weihai to earn 2023 World Cup gold. In a thrilling battle on the run, Japan’s Makoto Odakura surged to a mighty silver and career-best performance leaving Germany’s Lasse Nygaard Priester to claim bronze in the heat of Weihai, China.
Men’s race report
Germany’s Lasse Nygaard Priester and Johannes Vogel led the field of 45 men onto the sandy start line of Half Moon Bay, for the 2023 World Triathlon Cup Weihai on Saturday morning, to contest in the Olympic-distance race, for valuable points and rankings.
The course featured a 2-lap 1.5km ocean, followed by an 8-lap bike course across the scenic 40km which included a technically challenging course with hilly sections and corners to navigate. Athletes then had a 4-lap 10km run to complete, before coming down the blue carpet to finish in front of the stunning coastal backdrop. The clear sky overlooked the bay in Weihai and race conditions were warm and humid for the start of the men’s competition.
Michal Oliwa, a standout in the 1.5km swim
Michal Oliwa led for most of the 1.5km ocean swim with 8 athletes strung out behind the Polish athlete. There was a slight gap to the chasing group and it was clear that the exit out of the water was going to be a crucial factor in deciding who was going to make the lead group. China’s Nanhe Wang was having a brilliant race start, sticking with the leaders out of the swim and through transition.
Leading charge of 19 men on the 40km bike
Austria’s Leon Pauger and Martin Demuth,Japan’s Makoto Odakura and Jumpei Furuya, New Zealand’s Trent Thorpe, Ireland’s Russell White, Germany’s Priester and Mexico’s Grajales were just some of the names who were first onto the bike in Weihai.
Pauger and Priester were up the front of the pack, taking the corners with speed. Three chase packs had formed behind the leaders, who were gaining ground on the chasers lap by lap.
Luxembourg’s Gregor Payet, Japan’s Ren Sato and Israel’s Itamar Eshed were chasing hard, 30-seconds down on the leaders. At the halfway point of the bike, the chase pack caught the leaders and it was then a arge group of 19 men riding together.
Hong Kong’s Oscar Coggins, Japan’s Kyotaro Yoshikawa and Romania’s Felix Duchampt were riding off the back of the front group. The roads are wide in Weihai therefore the athletes were able to take the corners at speed.
Mexio’s Irving Perez who had left transition with the leaders, had now dropped off the pace and the group of 19 men who were leading had established a sizeable 2-minute-36-second gap over the rest of the field. Grajales, White and Pauger were doing a lot of the work up front of the lead pack. The men were spreading out on the downhill and using the decline to take a bit of the pressure off.
On the final lap of the bike, it was Japan’s duo Furuya and Sato who were pushing the pace. Thorpe was clinging to the tempo, at the rear of the front group.
Crisanto Grajales had the power to surge on the 10km run
Grajales led the men out of the final transition of the day and it didn’t take long before the lead group of 19 men fragmented on the pavement of Weihai. Wang of China was the top Chinese athlete in the race.
In the early stage of the 10km run Grajales appeared to lose pace and Japan’s Aoba Yasumatsu took the lead with Priester, Sato and Duchampt chasing. It was then Priester’s turn to take the reins, he looked in formidable form as he opened the gap on the field. Odakura and Grajales were the men who were chasing.
Grajales was closing the gap on the thrilling downhill charge and he was right on the heels of the German. Priester didn’t respond and the Mexican took control of the race. Odakura shifted into second position. The effort of the bike and early stage of the run had clearly taken its toll on Priester, who moved into third.
Grajales celebrated as he ran down the blue carpet and took the tape in Weihai, a truly impressive gold medal performance by the Mexican Olympian.
“It was a very hot and fast course. I am so happy with the training and work that I have done in my country. I am very happy, that was a very fast race,” said race champion Grajales.
Japan’s Odakura crossed the line and was thrilled to be awarded his first-ever silver World Cup medal.
“It’s only been one week since the individual and mixed relay test event in Paris so it was a very tough race today and the legs were tired and cramping. But mind control and I am happy with this good result,” said Odakura.
Race favourite Priester delivered a strong performance, after leading for most of the day, to come away with bronze in Weihai.
“I couldn’t stop the other two guys, they were just too quick, but third is ok today,” Priester said.
Related Event: 2023 World Triathlon Cup Weihai
|Results: Elite Men|
|3.||Lasse Nygaard Priester||GER||01:46:57|
|7.||Jason Tai Long Ng||HKG||01:47:15|
|Results: Elite Women|
|4.||Anna Godoy Contreras||ESP||01:59:08|
|6.||Sinem Francisca Tous Servera||TUR||02:00:06|