Fisher survives massive packs to win Chengdu
The third World Cup of the season proved to be a test of surviving the masses and Ryan Fisher (AUS) showcased that he was the elite man to do it. The 2015 Chengdu ITU World Cup saw three disciplines of athletes banning together and forming gigantic packs that carried almost throughout the entire race.
Leaving it all up to a sprint finish, Fisher was able to break away at the very end to cross the finish line at 1:46:07 and claim his first gold medal since he won the 2013 Ishigaki ITU World Cup in 2013. Rostyslav Pevtsov (AZE) walked away with the silver medal, while kevin_mcdowell’>Kevin Mcdowell (USA) won the bronze on a grueling day.
Fisher was delighted on his return to ITU racing after some time away with injury.
“I am over the moon to be honest, I wasn’t 100% sure what sort of form I was in, I have only raced a couple of local races so far this year and it has been a long time since I have done an ITU race so this is a big confidence booster to come out here for my first race of the year and race like that.”
As for the sprint, Fisher wasn’t sure how that would play out.
“I have always had a little bit of confidence in my sprint but at the end of 10k it is not always the best sprinter who wins, it is who has a little bit left, I went on to the blue carpet in second and there was three of us and – I don’t want to see the video as it won’t look good, I just closed my eyes and went for it, it was probably a bit ugly.”
Pevstov was delighted with his podium, the second of his career.
“I give that everything today, I have nothing else, the others were too good in the finish but I am delighted, this is a very good race for me and I am very happy.”
Mcdowell stood on the podium for a second successive year on a course and venue that he enjoys.
“I do like it here, it is a great event, everyone puts on a great show and I love coming here, they know how to put on a triathlon on a course that is designed for the sport, I am happy to be back.”
And he didn’t mind the hot conditions either, with the temperature hitting 33 degrees Celsius by the end of the run.
“It throws down another challenge and you just have to adapt to it and you just have to be patient, that was the biggest thing out there, taking one step at a time, it was a big process goal for me to get through each discipline and then on the run the key was being patient, knowing when to go and when not to. But I like the heat anyway so that was okay.”
Under fair and sunny skies, the elite men started their competition with two laps in the warm Chinese waters. Marten Van Riel (BEL) showcased that he was the strongest swimmer of the day after he led in the water after the first lap and exited first from the swim heading into the first transition.
The bike leg did little to separate the leaders from the rest. After the first lap with Irving Perez (MEX) had a slight advantage in a leading pack of 10, but the advantage didn’t hold. A massive 46-strong group formed and remained consistent for the next four laps. But on the final lap two brave athletes made a small breakaway. Kohei Tsubaki (JPN) and Gaspar Riveros (CHI) capitalized on an onward push and were able to gain a small lead. However the 44-man pack they left behind were only a mere 28 seconds back coming into T2 and had grown even larger as the chasers caught them to form a massive group of 60 plus athletes.
That second chase group, which was led at times by young New Zealander Cooper Rand had done well to join the leaders. Down by over a minute after the first lap, they were able to close the gap to cause major chaos in the transition zone, forming an impressive herd that left all predictions down to the run.
Despite sporting the top-seeded number one to start the race, the fan-favourite Ryan Sissons (NZL) suffered a puncture during the first lap that caused him to ride a full lap on a flat. The setback put him too far behind to make up the difference and he was forced to pull out of the race.
Other notable performances came from Hunter Kemper (USA), the 39 year old posting a strong fourth place finish, while Manuel Huerta (PUR) posted one of the best finish in an ITU World Cup by a Puerto Rican with his 8th place.
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