Impressive comeback from Richard Murray to claim the victory in Huatulco

by Olalla Cernuda on 19 May, 2024 03:21 • Español
Impressive comeback from Richard Murray to claim the victory in Huatulco

The last time Richard Murray (NED) performed his signature leg kick when taking the tape at a major event was in 2018, in Mooloolaba, but the Men’s race at the World Triathlon Cup Huatulco marked several firsts and one comeback. It was Murray’s first World Cup win since representing the Netherlands, and hence the kick, and it was also the first podium finish for Mathis Beaulieu (CAN) and John Reed (USA), who finished second and third respectively.

The 58 men toed the start line with the sun rising up on the Chahué beach, in Huatulco, with the thermometer set on 29.3ºC, the water at 30ºC and a humidity of 75%, challenging race conditions that will end up taking its toll on many athletes. And as it has been the case throughout the whole weekend in Huatulco, the swim was a challenging one, choppy and with strong currents that made the swim exit a difficult one.

Diego Moya (CHI) proved once again that he is an excellent open water swimmer and led the athletes out of the water, with Joao Nuno Batista (POR), Henri Schoeman (RSA), Kevin McDowell (USA) and Mitch Kolkman (NED) closely behind him. But the long run to transition stretched the group and allowed athletes that were further back on the swim catch up with the lead group, like Richard Murray, one of the last men to jump on the long train that would leave transition in one big pack of almost 30 athletes.

On the second lap, once they all got used to the circuit, Sebastian Wernersen (NOR), Brock Hoel (CAN) and Henri Schoeman gave it a try to open a gap, and rode up front for almost 5km, and managing to stay almost 10 seconds ahead the rest of the pack. When the chase group got organised and swallow the leading trio, it was Pelayo Gonzalez Turrez (ESP), a young Spaniard on his debut World Cup, who gave it a go and went solo for the last two laps, opening a gap that ended up being of almost 25 seconds.

Pelayo managed to get to the second transition by himself but with the large pack right at his wheel, and it was exactly when the men were getting on their running shoes when Murray proved that experience is a degree, and left transition in first place, taking with him his teammate Mitch Kolkman. Kolkman, part of the Relay team that qualified Team Netherlands for the Paris Games last Friday, needed to secure points on the race today in order to be eligible (ranked at least 140 on the Olympic Qualification Rankings), and they both were on a mission from the early stages of the run.

The push from the Dutch duo was only followed by a handful of athletes, including Erwin Vanderplancke (BEL), Bence Bicsak (HUN), Beaulieu, Reed and McDowell, while the rest of the field started to lose ground, impacted by the heat and the humidity.

Murray though managed to stay calm and found the leg speed that was a signature for him a few years ago, and cruised until the finish line, which he crossed repeating his traditional leg kick that he does every time that he takes the tape. “I didn’t know that today I was going to end up like this, the only goal for me today was trying to get Mitch (Kolkman) to get top 20 to qualify for the Games. To win and to have him qualifying… can’t get any better than this”, he said. “I tried to be motivated today, I managed to make the cut of the group on the bike, I think I was the last one to make it. I went on the run with Mitch thinking that maybe both of us will get on the podium but he qualified so I am really really pleased”, he explained.

Second on the line was Beaulieu, first-ever podium for the young Canadian on his third participation at the World Cup circuit. “This year has been really challenging. I left my country to train in Spain, and this result today is just so great, it has paid off. I was quite far back on the transition, but I managed to stay in and then on the last lap I realised that I could fight for the podium, and went for it”, said the Canadian, who had the fastest run split of the day.

Also debutant on the World Cup podium was John Reed. “I knew from the beginning, when we were all on a big group on the bike, that this was going to be all on the run, so I tried my best to get a good position in T2, when with Mathis (Beaulieu) and went for it. I am really really happy. Especially because I had food poisoning the last few days, lost a lot of fluids so I could make it healthy to the start line”.

Fourth place was for Vanderplancke, a great result for him after dealing with many injuries in the last season, while Joao Nuno Batista (POR) was fifth on the day. Bence Bicsak secured some valuable points on the race to be amongst the top three Hungarians on the Olympic rankings and qualify for Paris, with a sixth place today. He was followed on the finish line by Ryan Luczak (USA), Gjalt Panjer (NED), Mitch Kolkman (NED) - whose 9th today gives him enough points to be eligible for the Olympic Games- and Liam Donnelly (CAN) rounding up the top 10.

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Related Event: 2024 World Triathlon Cup Huatulco
18 - 19 May, 2024 • event pageall results
Results: Elite Men
1. Richard Murray NED 00:58:07
2. Mathis Beaulieu CAN 00:58:15
3. John Reed USA 00:58:21
4. Erwin Vanderplancke BEL 00:58:25
5. João Nuno Batista POR 00:58:29
Results: Elite Women
1. Alberte Kjær Pedersen DEN 01:04:54
2. Rachel Klamer NED 01:04:54
3. Solveig Løvseth NOR 01:04:54
4. Maria Carolina Velasquez Soto COL 01:05:00
5. Gina Sereno USA 01:05:08
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