Jonny Brownlee produced a fantastic performance to kickstart his season, but couldn’t quite hold off David Castro Fajardo of Spain, as the Brit agonisingly lost out in a sprint finish in Madrid.
After getting into the breakaway, Brownlee was at the front of the race all day and despite outlasting everyone else in the front group, couldn’t respond when a lightning quick Fajardo kicked for home with less than a hundred metres to go.
Run – Spaniards strong on home soil
With the men’s race also switched to the duathlon format due to the water quality in Madrid, the race began with a run of approximately 5km. Unliked the women’s race, however, the men’s race saw a big split in the group during the first run.
At the front, reigning World Duathlon champion Mario Mola of Spain led the way, alongside compatriots Genis Grau and David Cantero Del Campo, as this trio pulled a small group of men ahead of the rest of the field heading into transition.
Alongside them was Britain’s Brownlee, Emil Holm of Denmark, Adrien Brifford of Switzerland and German Lasse Nygaard Priester, plus a few other names, as an initial group of ten made it out ahead of the main pack with a slender lead of around 15 seconds.
Bike – Brifford pushes pace
As the bike leg went on and the course began to take its toll on the athletes, the front group was quickly whittled down to a group of eight, pushed on by Brownlee, as the gap to the main group grew to over half a minute.
With two laps to go, the group was down to seven, with Mola hanging tough alongside Brownlee, as Brifford in particular took it upon himself to ramp up the pace on the climbs and really punish the rest of the front pack.
Having successfully dropped Mola, Brifford and Brownlee came into transition side by side, with Cantero Del Campo, Holm and Israeli Shachar Sagiv close behind, as Mola trailed by around ten seconds.
Despite the front pack’s best efforts, the chasers, which included the likes of German Jonas Schomburg, came into transition just behind Mola, around 20 seconds back from the front, to set up an exciting finale.
Run – Castro Fajardo kicks clear
Brownlee and Brifford made a break for it out of transition, quickly gapping the rest of the breakaway, as the pair pushed on at the front and the battle for the win began.
Behind, Castro Fajardo was making quick progress to the delight of the home crowd, and having come from the chase pack, made his way up to Brownlee and Brifford, to put himself in prime contention for the win with a kilometre to go.
Coming into the final stretch, Brifford had settled for third, as Brownlee and Castro Fajardo pushed onwards, with Brownlee leading through the final couple of hundred metres and Castro Fajardo stuck to his shoulder like glue.
Heading into the final turn, Castro Fajardo kicked clear, celebrating down the blue carpet after Brownlee was unable to match his turn of pace, as he took the tape, to the delight of the home crowd. Brownlee finished in second, with Brifford in third.
Europe Triathlon Championships Madrid 2023 Results
Sunday 4 June 2023 – Duathlon
- 1. David Castro Fajardo (ESP) – 1:48:13
- 2. Jonny Brownlee (GBR) – 1:48:17
- 3. Adrien Brifford (SUI) – 1:48:27
- 4. Arnaud Mengal (BEL) – 1:49:05
- 5. Emil Holm (DEN) – 1:49:09
- 6. Csongor Lehmann (HUN) – 1:49:17
- 7. David Cantero Del Campo (ESP) – 1:49:30
- 8. Jonas Schomburg (GER) – 1:49:41
- 9. Eric Diener (GER) – 1:49:48
- 10. Noah Servais (BEL) – 1:49:55