Frenchman Vincent Luis holds off chasers to win elite men’s race
Vincent Luis made most of the running to end a long drought without a win in the elite men’s race at the World Triathlon Series Bermuda.
The Frenchman completed the 1,500m swim, 40-kilometre bike ride and 10km run in a time of 1hr 49min and 37secs to savour a first title at this level in more than two years.
Luis cut a lonely figure for the majority of the run but was pressed hard during the latter stages as Spain’s Antonio Serrat Seone and Roberto Sanchez made up considerable ground to keep things interesting.
However, the two-times world champion was equal to the task as he held off his charging rivals to apply the finishing touches to a convincing display in the island’s capital.
Luis was clearly emotional after the race and revealed that he was close to quitting after a string of injuries.
“Last year, I thought I was done and this means everything to me,” he said.
“But still I’m surrounded by amazing people who believe in me, so I just had to believe in myself as the minimum I could do. The last lap, I was just remembering all the days I couldn’t run.”
Out in front, Luis was aware of the talent in behind him with world champion contender Alex Yee and Olympic champion Kristian Blummenfelt among the chasing pack.
“When You have Alex Yee and Kristian Blummenfelt behind you, you never know what might happen, and I had zero expectation for my run, so I’m just really happy for myself.
“I knew I had to be careful with the pace and make sure I had another bullet left for the last lap.”
The 33-year-old was first out of the water but relinquished his advantage during the first transition as Japan’s Kyotaro Yoshikawa surged ahead to lead the field onto the bike leg.
However, Luis managed to remain thick in the hunt on the bike to enter the final transition just behind leaders Jonas Schomburg, of Germany, and Japan’s Jumpei Furuya.
Portugal’s Vasco Vilaça and Schomburg set the early pace on the run to carve out a 30- metre advantage over Luis and Hungary’s Márk Devay.
But Luis, the 2019 and 2020 world champion, was not done just yet as he gradually reeled in and passed the leaders and maintained pole position the rest of the way to seal the deal.
Serrat Seone crossed the line eight seconds after Luis to take second in 1:49:45 followed by compatriot Sanchez in third a further nine seconds adrift.
Belgium’s Jelle Geens was fourth in 1:49:54 with pre-race favourite Alex Yee, of Britain, rounding off the top five in 1:50:04 respectively.
Despite coming up short, Yee moved into second in the race to be world champion behind New Zealander Hayden Wilde with the pair set for a winner-take-all clash in the season finale at Abu Dhabi from November 23 to 26.
Tyler Smith, the only Bermudian in the field, was forced to pull out during the swim leg after encountering difficulty breathing and suffering a panic attack on the second lap in Hamilton Harbour.