The short course contingent in the men’s race turned up the heat in Daytona as two-time ITU World Champion Vincent Luis put the hurt on the rest of the competition to take the win in Florida.
Swim – Schoeman takes bonus
Immediately, the short course specialists showed their prowess in the water, with Henri Schoeman (RSA), Vincent Luis (FRA), Seth Rider (FRA) and Matthew Sharpe (CAN) gapping the rest of the field early on as Schoeman took the first lap swim bonus.
Over the second lap, the lead group of four continued to put time into the chasers, as the leaders came out with a +0:11 gap to fifth placed Braxton Books (USA) and a further 45 seconds to the main chase pack that included Marc Kubrick (USA), Jonas Schomburg (GER), Kevin McDowell (USA) and Tom Bishop (GBR).
Behind the first ten, which contained a disproportionate amount of short course racers, the likes of long course specialists Jackson Laundry (CAN), Andrew Starykowicz (USA) and Matt Hanson (USA) were between 2:30-3:00 in arrears.
Bike – Starykowicz and Bishop to the fore
After featuring in the breakaway together at WTCS Abu Dhabi last weekend, Rider, Luis and Schoeman must have had a strong sense of deja-vu as they flew around the Daytona Speedway over the opening laps.
Rider, the youngest of the three, set the pace for the majority of the trio’s time at the front, as Sharpe dropped off early, but it was the chasers Bishop and Starykowicz who were making the big moves from behind, as the pair made inroads into the front group lap by lap.
By lap 11, everyone began to sit up and take notice of Bishop, as he made his way to the front of the race after leaving the rest of the chase pack in his wake. After a lap to catch his breath, the Derby born athlete put his foot down to gap the trio of Schoeman, Luis and Rider, eventually entering T2 with over a minute advantage.
The oldest man in the field in Daytona was the American Starykowicz, but he was also one of the fastest on the bike, as he closed a 2:30 minute gap to come off the bike in 2nd behind Bishop. Out of T2, however, Starykowicz, quickly lost that lead, as Luis, Rider and Schoeman shot out in pursuit of Bishop.
It was Schomburg of Germany who took the T2 bonus of $1,000, with Nicolas Gilbert taking home $1,000 for the fastest first bike lap to make up for a puncture he suffered later on in the bike leg.
Run – Luis too strong for the rest of the field
Whilst Bishop seemed strong over the first half of the run course, it seemed inevitable that he would eventually be caught by a runner off the calibre of Vincent Luis. The Frenchman is capable of running with the best, as he proved to be true when he took the win at WTCS Bermuda less than a month ago.
Behind this duo, it was Jason West and Joao Pereira (POR) who worked incredibly together to quickly make up time on the leading duo. As the pair passed Schoeman, Rider and Bishop, who relinquished his lead to Luis with a lap to go, it seemed likely that these two would be locked togethor for the final lap.
At the bell, Pereria kicked onwards, leaving West and setting his sights on Luis and the win. Whilst it looked for a little while that Pereria might catch Luis, the Portuguese ran out of steam over the final few kilometres as the two-time ITU World Champion showed his class to stay strong and take the tape.
In the battle for second, Pereria took the honours ahead of West, with Bishop, who raced so bravely, rewarded with an amazing fourth place finish to cap off his debut season on the middle distance scene.
After the race, Luis said: “I’m really grateful to be here and really happy to be with everyone on the podium here.” He added that the 2022 season has seen him “go to really dark places” but “holding the tape again is a feeling you can’t buy”.
CLASH Daytona 2022 results
Friday 2 December 2022 – 1.6km / 60km / 13.2km
- Vincent Luis (FRA) – 2:23:48
- Joao Pereira (POR) – 2:24:12
- Jason West (USA) – 2:24:58
- Tom Bishop (GBR) – 2:25:30
- Matt Hanson (USA) – 2:27:04
- Matt Sharpe (CAN) – 2:27:57
- Jonas Schomburg (GER) – 2:28:00
- Jackson Laundry (CAN) – 2:28:43
- Seth Rider (USA) – 2:29:36
- Tomas Rodriguez (MEX) – 2:30:49