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San Francisco T100 2024 Men’s Results: PHOTO FINISH as Marten Van Riel edges out Kyle Smith

Marten Van Riel took a memorable win at the San Francisco T100, as the Belgian edged out Kiwi Kyle Smith in the final metres to take the tape.

Staff Reporter
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In a battle for the ages, the San Francisco T100 men’s race went down to the wire, with Rico Bogen, Marten Van Riel and Kyle Smith taking part in a thrilling sprint finish in California.

Bogen, the reigning IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion, time after time tried to break both Van Riel and Smith in the final kilometre, but was overhauled by both athletes in the final 100 metres.

In a sprint finish separated by less than the width of a hair, Van Riel just edged out Smith on the line, as the Belgian took his first ever victory over the 100km, two months out from his third Olympic Games appearance in Paris.

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Swim – Sensational swim from Sam Long

Thanks to a strong current in San Francisco Bay, the 2km swim took almost ten minutes less than expected, with the leaders navigating the course in just over 14 minutes, at a pace of 0:42/100m!

Out first was four time Escape from Alcatraz winner Ben Kanute, who showed his tactical nous by exiting wide on to the beach, and as a result reduced the amount of time he spent in the water.

With a 600m run up the beach to transition, some athletes used this time to strip off their cold weather kit, whilst others jostled for position, with Kanute followed by Germany’s Bogen into T1.

The first ten athletes were into transition within 30 seconds, with triathlon legends Alistair Brownlee and Javier Gomez making the front pack alongside the likes of Van Riel, Smith and Mika Noodt.

Further back, the biggest surprise was Sam Long, who having been almost four minutes down at this stage of the Singapore T100, was just +0:57 down on the front in T1, ahead of fellow American Jason West and Canadian Jackson Laundry.

Unfortunately, Long picked up a 30 second penalty on his way out on to the bike, after forgetting to clip up his helmet before crossing the mount line, which he would have to serve later on during the run.

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Bike – Big pack stay together

Out on to the bike, Smith and Van Riel quickly worked their way to the front alongside Bogen, as several athletes in the lead pack played with fire over the opening lap with regards to the 20m drafting rule.

Behind, Brownlee, Long and French star Clement Mignon appeared to be engaged in a battle of their own over the first lap of six, before things started to settle down on the second lap.

Through two laps, the front three of Bogen, Smith and Van Riel had half a minute over the chase pack of ten, led by Mignon, which also featured the likes of Mathis Margirier, Magnus Ditlev, Long and Brownlee.

During the second half of the bike, Mignon and Ditlev were the big movers, with Mignon bridging the gap to the leaders before setting the pace up front. Ditlev, who had worked through the chase pack over the first three laps, made contact with the front after the halfway mark.

Behind, the cracks started to appear, as Brownlee and Gomez lost more than three minutes to Mignon and were languishing in 13th and 14th with two laps to go. Aaron Royle, who came out of the water with the leaders, was the first withdrawal after reportedly struggling with sickness before travelling out to San Francisco.

After a leg sapping bike, a surprisingly large pack made it off together. Into transition, a lead pack of nine men – Mignon, Margirier, Bogen, Noodt, Smith, Van Riel, Ditlev, Long and von Berg – had a lead more than two minutes over the chasers, with Heemeryck next best in tenth place, +2:32 down.

Back in 13th, Brownlee was +6:14 off the front coming into transition. Gomez, also struggling, was +9:53 behind, with Jan Frodeno in the commentary booth stating that “the train has left the station” with regards to the pair making it back into the race.

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Run – A sprint finish for the ages

At the front, Smith, seemingly buoyed by his recent win at The Championship, was quickest out of the gate, as the New Zealander built a substantial gap over the opening kilometre.

However, Van Riel, who had led for so much of the bike, made his way up to Smith by the end of the first lap, with Bogen in third. Further back, Noodt, Ditlev and Sam Long, who had now served his penalty, were all trying to work back up to the podium.

Demonstrating an impressive degree of patience, Bogen made back up to the front with a very concerted effort, as the IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion reeled in Smith and Van Riel to make it a three-way battle for the win with just over ten kilometres to go.

With five kilometres to go, the front three were inseparable, with fourth placed Mika Noodt locked in step with Ditlev and Margirier, +1:20 off the front. Over the final lap, Smith, Bogen and Van Riel started to prepare themselves for the final sprint, with everything to be decided on the blue carpet.

Bogen, who was having his best race since the world championship in Lahti last year, attacked several times over the final kilometre, but was unable to break Smith and Van Riel. Through transition, the Kiwi made his bid for the win, gapping Bogen and leaving it to a straight shootout with Van Riel.

Marten Van Riel and Kyle Smith put on a show at the San Francisco T100.
[Photo Credit – Professional Triathletes Organization]

Down the finishing straight, Smith looked like he had done enough, but with 20 metres to go, Van Riel pulled level, and just did enough to take the tape by an inch. Bogen, a handful of seconds back, finished in third, after what will go down as one of the greatest sprint finishes of all time.

San Francisco T100 – Saturday June 8 2024
2km / 80km / 18km

PRO MEN

  • 1. Marten Van Riel (BEL) – 3:18:21 [14:20/1:59:42/1:00:35]
  • 2. Kyle Smith (NZL) – 3:18:21 [14:27/1:59:36/1:00:51]
  • 3. Rico Bogen (GER) – 3:18:24 [14:08/1:59:38/1:00:53]
  • 4. Magnus Ditlev (DEN) – 3:19:38 [14:51/1:59:00/1:01:50]
  • 5. Mika Noodt (GER) – 3:19:43 [14:17/1:59:34/1:02:10]
Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.
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