Morgan Pearson pulls out lightning fast 10km to take WTCS Yokohama gold

by doug.gray@triathlon.org on 11 May, 2024 07:47 • Español
Morgan Pearson pulls out lightning fast 10km to take WTCS Yokohama gold

The sun was out and the action was on from the gun for the men’s WTCS Yokohama on Saturday afternoon, and Morgan Pearson delivered the gold with a blistering 29m11s 10km run to the tape. Pearson becomes the first American male to hit a top-tier podium since Jarrod Shoemaker’s Hamburg win in 2009.

After a huge pack had come together on the bike and several crashes shuffled the pack, including a last-lap shock that took out Dorian Coninx, Vasco Vilaca and Tom Richard, it was Pearson and Luke Willian pulling clear of the field, only for fellow Australian Matthew Hauser to pass Willian over the closing stages and take the silver.

A first WTCS podium for a delighted Willian also meant his place at Paris 2024 was confirmed, hitting the top eight criteria for his team to open up his Olympic dreams.

“I knew I could win one of these, but these guys are beasts and training just as hard as me,” said Pearson. “Everyone wants to win. You can be in the shape of your life and still have things go wrong or someone be fitter. You just have to show up and give it your best and today my best was good enough. Last year I had some back problems and I did Miami to do an Olympic distance and test my health rather than Abu Dhabi. This is a nice way to start the season but of course we all know who is missing today and it’s still a long way to Paris.”


As would prelude the course of the race, the swim didn’t stretch out as much as the women’s had, Mark Devay (HUN) and Vincent Luis (FRA) leading from Dorian Coninx (FRA) and Jonas Schomburg (GER).

Hauser, Kenji Nener (JPN) and Miguel Hidalgo (BRA) were also going well over the second lap of 750m, and heading up the ramp and towards transition, Vetle Bergsvik Thorn (NOR) and Vilaca were well set.

There were 33 men coming together on lap two of nine, Schomburg leading the long train along transition, Spanish trio David Castro Fajardo, Sergio Baxter Cabrera and Antonio Serrat Seoane 45 seconds back with Belgian Jelle Geens, Hugo Milner and Matthew McElroy (USA).


The chasers went about reeling in that group, the pace too hot for Milner as he dropped off, a coming together between Canada’s Tyler Mislawchuk and Henri Schoeman (RSA) ending their races.

As the packs eventually merged to a group of 50, stress points emerged and the next to come down was Simon Westermann (SUI) after misjudging a corner, Emil Holm also caught up and both fell back.

The bike then settled until the final lap, when a seemingly incongruous corner saw some big names come down, Tom Richard, Dorian Coninx and Vilaca the main victims and coming off hard, Leo Bergere, Miguel Hidalgo, Hungarians Mark Devay and Gabor Faldum also caught in the crossfire but able to continue.


Up ahead, Luke Willian and Schomburg were in and out of transition fast and clean, Geens also going well, Hauser and Nener well set as Pearson struggled into his trainers and lost some time.

It would not be long until he found his groove once more, however. As Willian, Geens and Schomburg pulled away from the field, Pearson was picking off those ahead and by the time they came towards transition for the first time the American was on Willian’s shoulder, the Belgian dropping back to be replaced by the marauding Canadian Charles Paquet.

Hauser and Nener were now 5 seconds back with Luis and Bergere for company, but that gap would be stretched over the penultimate lap.


Indeed, with Paquet then dropped, the lead went out to nearly 15 seconds to the lead two, but cue the rise of Matt Hauser, reeling in his teammate with a blistering fourth lap as Pearson found another gear of his own to find daylight out front.

There was no stopping Pearson as he pulled clear to the tape, Hauser moved into silver, he and Willian making it two Australian men on a Series podium for the first time.

Behind them, Leo Bergere pulled out another fine fourth ahead of Paquet, a career-best fifth seeing his Paris 2024 qualification assured. Marten Van Riel finished strongly for sixth ahead of Nener, Miguel Hidalgo with the day’s second-fastest run to eighth, Luis and Blummenfelt rounding out the top ten.


Quotes
“Really proud of myself over the past couple of years after struggling with the consistency coming up from Junior and U23 so its great to have these results,” said Hauser. “I heard a lot of noise at the crash and wanted to stay out the front but I hope everyone is okay. There’s so much at sake and people’s Olympic spots and dreams are on the line, but days like these make it all worthwhile for me.”

“I’m a bit speechless right now,” admitted Willian. “I was so close to qualifying last time (to Tokyo) and missed out on the discretionary selection and this whole journey has been about taking my opportunities and making my own destiny, so its pretty special. It was quite stressful the whole race, got caught in the crash and dug in deep to get back on, then the legs started cramping that last lap and I just really wanted that podium. I didn’t want to just qualify, I want to compete and strive for the best, and it’s pretty special the other Aussie on the podium is my roommate.”


Article gallery
Related Event: 2024 World Triathlon Championship Series Yokohama
11 May, 2024 • event pageall results
Results: Elite Men
1. Morgan Pearson USA 01:42:05
2. Matthew Hauser AUS 01:42:12
3. Luke Willian AUS 01:42:20
4. Léo Bergere FRA 01:42:26
5. Charles Paquet CAN 01:42:30
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