Tokyo Test Event Men: Tyler Mislawchuk sprints to victory

Tyler Mislawchuk / Tokyo Test Event

Canadian success in Japan from Mislawchuk

No adjustment to the race distances. No headline-grabbing disqualifications. No need to review the ITU Competition Rules at 2:30 a.m. In short, nothing like Thursday’s Elite Women’s race.

And with that, we can focus on the swim / bike / run of the Men’s Elite race at the ITU World Triathlon Olympic Qualification Event.

To the race action…

Commonwealth Games Gold medallist Henri Schoeman (RSA) produced his traditionally swift swim, stretching out the field, closely followed by Richard Varga (SVK), Mark Devay (HUN) and Jonathan Brownlee. Norwegian uber-biker Kristian Blummenfelt was just 20 seconds down at T1 – a dangerous position for anyone behind who was hoping to benefit from the ‘Blu Train’, notably Tom Bishop (+48 seconds) and Alex Yee (+58 seconds). Richard Murray (RSA) and Jacob Birtwhistle (AUS) were similarly further detached than they would like, less than 20 minutes into the race. Would that prove costly?

Despite the efforts and the apparent speed through the water stringing out the field, just two laps (10km) into the bike, the leading group was more than 20 athletes. Behind, the chasing group were benefitting from the efforts of Hayden Wilde (NZL) and Gustav Iden (NOR), now just 24 seconds back. Tom Bishop was part of that group along with Birtwhistle, but Alex Yee and Richard Murray were in the second chase group, more than 50 seconds down. Jonas Schomburg (GER) attacked on lap three, but behind the chase group bridged up to the lead pack, resulting in a huge group of almost 40 riders.

In other news, Kristian Blummenfelt and Russell White (IRL) had been awarded a 15 second mount line penalty.

The Schomburg attack ended within a lap, and just as the last 20km of riding – despite the now gusting wind – looked set to be a case of ‘as you were’, Kristian Blummenfelt and Lasse Lührs (GER) were into the barriers and crashed out of the race. The small chase group including Yee and Murray were now almost 90 seconds down and surely out of contention, even with their impressive running sills. Their swim deficit looked like it would indeed prove pivotal to their prospects in Tokyo.

29 athletes reached T2 in the large lead group, with Hayden Wilde (NZL) the first in and first out of transition. Jelle Geens (BEL), Henri Schoeman (RSA) and Tyler Mislawchuk (CAN) were among those to feature over the opening kilometre of the run, with Brownlee and Bishop a few seconds further back.

Alex Yee started the 10km in 38th psosition, 1:44 behind Wilde. Could he make any progress up the field?

5km done and it was Mislawchuk, Wilde and Casper Stornes (NOR) leading the way, 11 seconds ahead of Brownlee and Iden. Tom Bishop was holding 12th position (37 second down), but Alex Yee was losing, rather than gaining time. One lap later, the same trio were locked together, Brownlee and Iden now 24 seconds behind. The podium looked set, but which order would it be?

With around 300m to go, Casper Stornes hit the front for the first time on the run. He gained a few yards, Mislawchuk didn’t let him go, though Wilde could no longer hold on. The Norwegian, winner of WTS Bermuda in 2018, lead the way onto the blue carpet, but as they hit the finish straight Mislawchuk upped the pace again and it was a sprint that Caper could not match. Hayden Wilde safely completed the podium.

After the race, Mislawchuk said, “If you want to do it on one course, it’s this course. Now we know how to prepare for next year as well. I just want to thank all my supporters and the people who believe in me, from now and it goes back to when I was 15-years old and my parents. It’s a big moment for everyone in my circle.”

Finishing fifth means no automatic Olympic qualification (yet) for Jonathan Brownlee based on the British Triathlon selection policy, but you would still have to assume his place is still pretty much nailed on, following his Edmonton win and first Brit here.

Tokyo 2019 ITU World Triathlon Olympic Qualification Event – Friday 16th August 2019
1.5km / 40km / 10km – ELITE MEN

1st – Tyler Mislawchuk (CAN) 1:49:50
2nd – Casper Stornes (NOR) +0:04
3rd – Hayden Wilde (NZL) +0:12
4th – Gustav Iden (NOR) +0:34
5th – Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) +0:37
6th – Joao Silva (POR) +0:45
7th – Bence Bicsak (HUN) +0:50
8th – Pierre Le Corre (FRA) +1:09
9th – Henri Schoeman (RSA) +1:10
10th – Jonas Schomburg (GER) +1:10

15th – Tom Bishop (GBR) +1:50
33rd – Alex Yee (GBR) +4:10