Franco Pesavento crowned Winter Triathlon king on a brilliant day for the Azzurri in Andorra
It was a magnificent day in Andorra for the Italian team, with Franco Pesavento adding another gold medal to his tallly and claiming the Winter Triathlon world title, while Mattia Tanara finished in the first place of the U23 category, and Guglielmo Giuliano crossed the finish line in second place in the Junior race. The 2022 Andorra World Triathlon Winter Championships elite podium was completed with Marek Rauchfuss (CZE), who finished in second place, while the athlete representing the Russian Federation Evgenii Uliashev took the bronze medal.
26 men toed the start line on a beautiful and cold morning in Naturlandia, the mountain resort that hosts for the second consecutive year the Winter Triathlon Festival, to vye for the world title in the Elite and U23 categories, with a new format of a 3-lap snow run before transitioning to a hilly and technical mountain bike course and onto the two-lap ski, to then repeat it all again before crossing the finish line. In total, 8,2km run; 13,2 km bike and 12,4km ski.
And it was Krilan Le Bihan (FRA) who set the pace for the first kilometers of the run, followed only by the young rising star of winter triathlon, Franco Pesavento (ITA) and Felix Duchampt (ROU), making his first attempt to the winter version of triathlon. Behind them, the field started to strecht while 7 times world champion Pavel Andreev kept an eye on the leaders, not allowing the distance to grow more than 30 seconds.
By the time the athletes jumped on their bikes for the first time, Pesavento was leading the small group, quickly leaving behind Le Bihan and Duchampt, struggling with the technical downhills in the mud and snow, and with Andreev and Marek Rauchfuss quickly closing the gap. Other great bikers like Guiseppe Lamastra (ITA), Sebastian Neef (GER) and Alessandro Saravalle (ITA) were able to put themselves on a comfortable position to fight for the podium spots, but as soon as the athletes were on their skis it was the Russian who showed his skills to almost catch Pesavento, still on the lead even though he had to ser a penalty of 15 seconds for mounting on his bike before the line.
Pesavento, winner also of the Winter Duathlon World Championships two days ago, knew that he would be hard to beat on the run and went full gas on the second leg on his running shoes, opening again a significant break with Andreev, while Lamastra, Viorel Palici (ROU) and Mikhail Antipin (RTF) where behind them fighting for the podium places. But the most dangerous threat to them would come from behind showing incredible skills on the bike.
Marek Rauchfuss (CZE) only needed the two laps on the bike to quickly pass one athlete after the other, including the leader, Pesavento, a few meters before heading to the last transition of the day. With the two of them playing cat and mouse for the first of the two laps of the ski, it looked like it will be a close finish and so it was. The young Italian managed to find the final extra gear in the last ramp on the skis to cross the finish line triumphant to claim his first Winter Triathlon world title just two years after being crowned U23 world champion on his hometown, Asiago.
“It was really, really hard”, he said after finishing the race. “I did enjoy the format a lot, but the altitude here really has an impact, and also I was very tired after the race two days ago, so I didn’t know if I would be able to do it. Marek caught me on the bike and then I thought I would not be able to win on the skis, but I managed to do it at the end”, he explained.
For Rauchfuss this is the second silver medal in the Winter Triathlon world championships, after crossing the finish line in second place in 2019 and in third in 2019, both times in Asiago. “I am very happy but also dissappointed that I couldnt find the strength to beat Franco at the end, today the race was really hard, congratulations to all”, he said.
The drama of the day came with the fight for the bronze medal. Andreev had to stop at the penalty box right before the finish line to serve a penalty and it was right there where he saw his teammate Evgenii Uliashev (RTF) pass him to cross the finish line in third place. Andreev was disqualified after the race by the competition jury for leaving the penalty box before he served the 15 seconds, and the fourth place was for Germany’s Sebastian Neef.
On the U23 race, another Italian led the race from the begining, with Mattia Tanara (ITA) doubling up to leave Andorra with two golden metals hanging on his neck: the U23 Winter Duathlon world champion and the U23 Winter Triathlon world champion. He was followed on the finish line by Danila Egorov (RTF) while Frenchman Marin Gautier closed the podium.
Norway claimed for the second consecutive year the Junior world title, this time with Henrik Farstadvoll the first one to cross the finish line of the sprint distance race. Second was another Azzurri, Guglielmo Giuliano while Alvaro Lopez Lucia gave Spain the only medal of the day.
Related Event: 2022 World Triathlon Winter Championships Andorra
|Results: Elite Men|
|Results: U23 Men|
|Results: Junior Men|
|3.||Alvaro Lopez Lucia||ESP||01:09:01|
|9.||Miguel Flor Tejedor||ESP||01:26:20|
|5.||Ausias Rosaleny Aznar||ESP||01:19:28|
|Results: 2x2 Mixed Relay|
|1.||Team I RTF||RTF||01:18:29|
|2.||Team I Italy||ITA||01:20:25|
|3.||Team I Norway||NOR||01:21:07|
|4.||Team I Romania||ROU||01:23:52|
|5.||Team I Germany||GER||01:27:43|