Tyler Smith ecstatic after eighth at Europe Triathlon Cup in Poland
Tyler Smith continued an impressive return to elite-level action by clinching a top-ten finish at the Europe Triathlon Cup Olsztyn, in Poland, at the weekend.
Building on the momentum of a highly encouraging fourteenth-place finish at European stop in Caorle, Italy, in mid-May, the 23-year-old gave one of his best performances to date, to finish in eighth in the strongly contested Elite Men’s field.
Having completed the 750-metre swim in 9min 9sec to exit the water among the leading group, Smith powered his way into contention on the bike, finishing the 20-kilometre course in the fastest time of 28:01.
Establishing himself within a breakaway group of nine competitors, Smith just had to remain steady on his weakest of the three disciplines, the 5km run, to guarantee a top-ten finish. Clocking a respectable time of 15:45, the Bermudian athlete crossed the line in an overall time of 54:47, just 41 seconds adrift of Norwegian Vetle Bergsvik Thorn’s winning time of 54:06.
“I was really happy with the result,” Smith said. “It was the kind of result I was targeting from this sort of race among a really high-quality field.
“I had the feeling going into the event that I could finish inside the top ten and so I’m really proud that I managed to achieve that; especially the way I was able to execute certain aspects within the race.
“One of the biggest positives for me is that I felt I had some control over the outcome of the race and I felt comfortable as part of a small breakaway group of nine guys on the bike.
“It was full commitment on the swim and then a case of just getting my head down on the bike and pretty much going full-out to then see who was left for the run.
“Once I saw it was a small group, it was a case of us nine being pretty much guaranteed a top-ten finish, as long as we co-operated a bit, and that’s how it went.”
Smith added: “Overall, the swim was great, the run was great and I had good legs for the run on the day. My second transition let me down a little bit and I struggled getting the shoes on, so I had to play catch-up. However, in general, I was really happy with the result.
“The last two results have given me a lot of confidence in what I’m doing.”
Having enjoyed a promising start to the season, Smith has been handed another boost with the news that he will be on the start line among the Elite Men’s field for the second race of the World Triathlon Series, in Leeds, England, on Saturday.
Not only will it be his first outing among the highest level of elite triathlon, but the race signifies a special opportunity for Smith to race in his adopted home town.
“I’ve found out that I’ve got a starting place for the World Championship Series event in Leeds which will be the highest level I’ve raced at,” said Smith, who is relishing the chance to test himself against the highest calibre of triathletes.
“My recent results give me an amazing amount of confidence going into that I can compete with the best triathletes in the world and I have opportunity to test myself against the Olympic field in an Olympic year.
“Short of going to the Olympic Games, it is the best chance I have to see how I line up against the best in the world on a course that for me is home away from home because I’ve lived in Leeds for the past five years. I’m really looking forward to it.”