Vetle Thorn of Norway won the Quarteira European Triathlon Cup with a well timed sprint finish, as Great Britain’s Jonny Brownlee kicked off his 2023 with a seventh placed finish on the Algarve.
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Swim – Silva puts on a show for home support
To the delight of the crowd down by Quarteira beach, it was a Portuguese athlete, Miguel Tiago Silva who led out of transition. The 25 year-old came out of the water alongside former World Junior Champs runners-up, Paul Georgenthum, of France.
On to the bike out of T1, Georgenthum and Silva were joined by Jimmy Lund of Great Britain, as this trio held a slim advantage over a big group of men following the swim. The first chase group, which included the number #2 ranked Simon Westermann of Switzerland, however, was close on their heels.
Further back, home favourite Joao Pereira led a small group out of transition at around 1:00 back, with a large group, including 2023 World U23 runner-up Hamish Reilly of Great Britain and Norway’s Gustav Iden some 75 seconds adrift.
Bike – Chasers close the gap
Out of T1, Georgenthum and Silva got right to work, as Lund struggled to get across to the leading duo. The Brit, second at the European U23 Aquathlon Championships in 2022, was then swiftly caught by the chase pack as they tried to work their way up to the leading pair.
Once settled, the chase pack quickly began working well together, with Jonny Brownlee and Westermann keeping the pack of about 15 men honest throughout the first lap. As well as Brownlee and Lund, Britain’s Harry Leleu also found himself in a solid position within the chase pack early on.
After reeling in Georgenthum and Silva, the front group settled in, with nobody seeming too eager to keep or grow the gap to the chase pack. With no sense of urgency amongst the leading eighteen, the gap between the break and the chasers rapidly began shrinking lap-by-lap.
In the chase, Kona Champion Iden, along with fellow Scandinavian Andreas Carlsson of Sweden, were responsible for much of the work at the front, as they gradually closed the gap to the point where they could see the back of the break.
As they came into T2, the front group’s lead was down from 1:15 at the start of the bike to just a fraction of their initial gap, at around 15 seconds. For Iden and the rest of the chasers, their hard work seemed to have paid off as they gathered themselves for the 10km run.
Run – Thorn clinches it
Out of transition, it was Frenchman Valentin Morlec who pushed the pace, with the initial lead pack of 18 soon whittling down to less than ten as the tempo quickly increased. By the end of the first 2.5km loop, Brownlee was at the fore, with Morlec, Chantler-Mayne, Westermann, Vetle Thorn of Norway and a handful of others alongside him.
As they approached the 5km mark, Portuguese favourite Joao Pereira, who bridged up after riding with the chase pack, made his move to the front of the race. The fifth place finisher at the Rio Olympics, a true veteran of the sport, looked strong and primed for a big kick down in front of an animated home crowd.
As Brownlee stretched out the leaders with an injection of pace on the penultimate lap, the fatigue began to show on the faces of some athletes. Nearing the bell, Brownlee seemed to be in pole position, but the rest of the pack were still valiantly hanging on.
With a little over a 1.5km remaining, it was down to a group of seven, made up of Brownlee, Westermann, Georgenthum, Pereira, Thorn, French athlete Yanis Seguin and Swiss Fabian Meeusen. Seguin surged repeatedly, but couldn’t shake Pereira as they neared the final 800m.
With the finishing line in site, Brownlee began to fall off the pace, as Westermann made a bid for glory but couldn’t shake the group. As it came down to the final sprint, Thorn made the decisive move, keeping Meeusen and Pereira at bay as they entered the blue carpet.
The Norwegian, who hails from the fabled Bergen, took a well deserved win, with Meeusen of Switzerland second and Joao Pereira giving the home crowd something to cheer for, completing the podium slots in third.
Europe Triathlon Cup Quarteira Results 2023
Saturday 25th March 2022 – ELITE MEN
1.5km / 40km / 10km
- 1. Vetle Thorn (NOR) – 1:46:36
- 2. Fabian Meeusen (SUI) – 1:46:38
- 3. Joao Pereira (POR) – 1:46:41
- 4. Yanis Seguin (FRA) – 1:46:43
- 5. Simon Westermann (SUI) – 1:46:44
- 6. Paul Georgenthum (FRA) – 1:46:50
- 7. Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) – 1:46:56
- 8. Miguel Tiago Silva (POR) – 1:47:11
- 9. Jan Diener (GER) – 1:47:15
- 10. Valentin Morlec (FRA) – 1:47:22
[CLICK HERE for the Elite Women’s report]