Alberto Gonzalez Garcia claims World Triathlon Cup gold in the Hong Kong heat

by Ben Eastman on 24 Mar, 2024 05:10 • Español
Alberto Gonzalez Garcia claims World Triathlon Cup gold in the Hong Kong heat

It was a day of firsts in Hong Kong. At the inaugural edition of the Hong Kong World Cup, Alberto Gonzalez Garcia (ESP) not only became the first male victor of the event on Sunday morning. He also claimed his first World Cup win, matching the achievement of Sian Rainsley in the women’s race.

In the opening salvo of the swim, much of the field drifted to the right, beyond the line of the first buoy. Several highly ranked men, including Kenji Nener (JPN) and Márk Dévay (HUN), had stationed themselves on the farthest right side on the pontoon and had to check back.

In the end, it proved of little consequence as Dévay was the first man out of the water. The Hungarian athlete clocked 9:15 for the choppy 750m. Diego Moya was next out while Nener and Darr Smith (USA) emerged afterwards in unison.

Exploiting the early break

Over the first of five rapid bike laps, a front pack of thirteen men came together. A pack of equal size hovered some 15 seconds behind. While Nener, Dévay and more set the tempo at the front, Kevin McDowell (USA) took up the challenge of reeling them in from the chase on his return to international racing.

Such was the pace, the second pack on the road fractured. One of the pre-race favourites, Lasse Nygaard Priester (GER), slipped back from the chase group into the clutches of the main pack. Janus Staufenberg was among those to take an eye-catching turn at the head of the large third group. 

The leaders, though, were 20 seconds to the good at the front and continued to push.

Nener rode like a man possessed as he sought a maiden World Cup medal, although threats such as Antonio Serrat Seoane (ESP) and Gonzalez lurked in the lead bunch. 

By the final lap of the bike, the leaders succeeded in breaking the will of the main chase group and extended their margin.

The pressure rises

After sterling work on the bike, Panagiotis Bitados (GRE) stormed through T2 to take the lead. Robin Elg (HKG) was quick to follow and gave a rapturous home crowd something to cheer. Having been omnipresent at the front, it was little surprise to see Nener also on hand.

Luke Willian (AUS) had the best T2 of the next group on the road. He faced a tall order in closing down the lead trio of Serrat, Nener and Gonzalez. On the first of the two run laps, Nener tested his Spanish rivals’ legs but they were equal to his efforts.

Prior to the race, Nener had detailed in his Paths to Paris interview how he had hoped to fight for the podium in Hong Kong and test himself in the heat of the moment. In Hong Kong, he did just that and forged onwards. Yet his rivals did not relent. Serrat made a dash off the front but Gonzalez closed the gap.

Gonzalez strikes

Having won a medal at the opening World Cup of the season in Napier, Gonzalez was in terrific form. In the final stages, he sensed an opportunity and pounced.

His move was decisive and carried him to the gold medal by 5 seconds. After the race, he heaped praise on his teammate, Serrat, as well as his fellow front pack riders.
“We were always in the front with the guys and on the bike and we collaborated really well and kept the gap,” said Gonzalez.

In a tense final sprint, Serrat held off Nener to seal the silver medal. As with Gonzalez, Serrat was effusive towards his compatriot.

“I tried to go really fast but then Alberto caught me and I knew his sprint was really good and I didn’t have any more today. I am happy for Alberto (Gonzalez Garcia), he’s a good friend and team mate and I am really happy for him.”

For Nener, it was perhaps not the final result he may have desired. Nevertheless, he came away with a first World Cup medal and having executed the race exactly as hoped. At the finish he confirmed that he was “thrilled”.

“Of course it wasn’t the smartest race nor was it tactical, especially in this heat,” he added. “But if I am going to race against the best in the world, the level is up and I am not going to be leading so I have to put myself out there and race aggressively.

Behind the medallists, Willian ripped the second fastest run of the day to rise to 4th place. In addition, David Cantero del Campo (ESP) made it three Spanish men in the top-5. Cantero had exited T2 in the main pack however he unleashed a field-leading 5km – indeed, he was the only man under 15 minutes – to nab 5th place.

View the full results here.

Article gallery
Related Event: 2024 World Triathlon Cup Hong Kong
24 Mar, 2024 • event pageall results
Results: Elite Men
1. Alberto Gonzalez Garcia ESP 00:53:17
2. Antonio Serrat Seoane ESP 00:53:22
3. Kenji Nener JPN 00:53:24
4. Luke Willian AUS 00:53:38
5. David Cantero Del Campo ESP 00:53:50
Tracker Pixel for Entry
Latest News
more news →