Ueda and Messias deliver run masterclasses to guarantee the golds in Lima World Cup
The first ever Lima World Cup took to the Peruvian capital’s Playa Agua Dulce on Sunday morning for the penultimate race of the 2019 calendar. Over the sprint distance course Japan’s Ai Ueda showed no signs of fatigue after her gold in Miyazaki and silver in Tongyeong, out-sprinting Yuliya Yelistratova (UKR) and Elizabeth Bravo (ECU) to take the tape once more. In the men’s race, Manoel Messias was a man on a mission after his silver here at July’s PanAmerican Games, and he pulled away from the pack over the final 500m to earn a brilliant World Cup gold ahead of Florin Salvisberg (SUI) and Felix Duchampt (ITU).
It was a grey morning as the athletes took to the line, race number one Ai Ueda assuming position on the right of the start and despite giving herself a longer route to buoy one, she kept out of trouble while Hungarian swim specialist Zsanett Bragmayer led the field.
USA’s Sophie Chase also delivered an impressive 750m, Barbara Riveros (CHI) and Elizabeth Bravo (ECU) equally swift through the water but as the athletes came out of the surf it was Tereza Zimovjanova (CZE) and Bragmayer who were able to catch a wave in and open up a useful little window into T1.
Riveros and Yuka Sato (JPN) were next over the mount line some 10 seconds back followed by a mass of athletes including Romina Biagioli (ARG), Mengying Zhong (CHI), and Cecilia Perez (MEX), Ai Ueda at that stage some 10 seconds behind.
The four-lap ride opened up with Zimovjanova looking determined to extend the gap, but Perez was right onto the leaders’ back wheels and behind her the collective effort of the chasers saw a big pack come together before the end of lap one.
With such a large train of athletes and nobody eager to roll the dice, the likes of Andrea Hewitt (NZL) and Erika Ackerlund (USA) were well placed, but it was Bravo doing the lion’s share of the work and seeing if anyone would push on with her.
Lisa Berger and Xisca Tous were also going well on the bike and moving to the front as T2 approached, but it was Ueda who flew out first, Bragmayer hanging onto her shoulder, Hewitt also among the front ten as they became more organised.
Ueda was attacking in the manner her form allowed, but Bravo, Yelistratova, Chase and Perez had other ideas and soon surrounded her, while Hewitt, Amy Sloan and Romina Biagioli‘s challenges faded just behind. Perez then fell back, the American Chase doing likewise at the final turn of the second lap as Ueda again asked the question.
Bravo looked good for the silver as Ueda bounded towards the tape, but it was a well-timed last surge from the Ukrainian that saw Yelistratova take silver, the Ecuadorian with bronze. Chase crossed the line in fourth followed by Perez, Sloan just edging out Hewitt to sixth, Romina Biagioli in eighth.
Results: Elite Women
1. Ai Ueda JPNJPN Flag 00:59:12
2. Yuliya Yelistratova UKRUKR Flag 00:59:12
3. Elizabeth Bravo ECUECU Flag 00:59:12
4. Sophie Chase USAUSA Flag 00:59:22
5. Cecilia Perez MEXMEX Flag 00:59:24
The swell had grown even larger by the time the men took to the start, but the shallow waters providing a challenging start to proceedings and stretching things out quickly as the front markers gunned towards the first turn.
It was Bob Haller who came closest to breaking the eight-minute mark as he rode in on a timely wave and was out quickly towards transition for the first time, Kenji Nener (JPN) and Morgan Pearson (USA) his nearest rivals as they got out onto the bike course.
The short climb and descent at the start of the each lap gave only a short opportunity to lay down any form of intention to breakaway, and with nobody seizing that moment, a group of 40 came together for most of the 20km ride.
Stefan Zachaus (LUX) and Jan Volar (CZE) were the first to try and make a move but their effort was short-lived, then Yuki Abe did likewise, but it wasn’t until the final kilometre that Jumpei Furuya (JPN) and Reinaldo Colucci (BRA) tried to force an advantage to take into transition.
The duo did manage to carve out a ten-second gap to take onto the 5km run, but another Brazilian, Manoel Messias, was taking the run by the throat, powering past his teammate and Furuya as he found his legs and gave the rest of the field plenty to think about early on in the run.
Messias looked untouchable for a kilometre, but Zachaus, the US duo of Kevin McDowell and Pearson, Israel’s Ran Sagiv and Tim Helvig (GER) refused to let him out of their sights. There too were Salvisberg, Duchampt and Rostislav Pevtsov (AZE) as part of a seven-strong lead bunch at the bell and it was the Americans trying to squeeze the pace.
At the final 300m the lead group was down to five, but it was Messias who then accelerated away once again and this time he would not be caught, taking the tape by two seconds from an emotional Salvisberg, Duchampt holding firm for bronze ahead of the American pair McDowell and Pearson.
Results: Elite Men
1. Manoel Messias BRABRA Flag 00:52:30
2. Florin Salvisberg SUISUI Flag 00:52:32
3. Felix Duchampt ITUITU Flag 00:52:32
4. Kevin McDowell USAUSA Flag 00:52:35
5. Morgan Pearson USAUSA Flag 00:52:43