In the men’s U23 World Championships, Connor Bentley made it a double for Great Britain as he matched Kate Waugh’s earlier victory to make sure that both world titles would be coming back to the UK, taking an emphatic win with a blinding run in the men’s U23 race.
Swim – Riddle leads the way
For the man wearing #1, Jamie Riddle, the swim was where the South African could inflict some serious damage on some of his fellow title contenders. An incredibly talented swimmer, Riddle, who was second at the African Championships earlier in the year, led out of the water on the first lap of two alongside Alessio Crociani (ITA) and Mitsuho Mochizuki (JPN).
Behind the leading trio, it was tightly bunched, with over half of the field together on the first lap. Upon re-entering the water, the gaps started to appear, as Crociani attempted to stretch out the field and was successful to a degree, as he culled the main group down to 20 or so athletes in T1.
Reilly and Bentley made the lead group, with GB teammate Dan Dixon further behind as he came through in the chase pack. Dixon, one of the names mentioned as a pre-race favourite, would have to ride hard in the chase pack if he wanted to get himself back in contention.
Bike – Still all to play for
Out on the road, it was pre-race favourite Riddle who made the first move, as Bentley joined him to form a two man break at the start of the bike. The pair managed to get around 10 seconds on the field but were caught within two laps, as the main pack managed to find some cohesion.
Once the initial break was caught, the front group slowed, and whilst Riddle was impatiently pushing the pace at the front, nobody was eager to make a move up the road, resulting in the chase pack bridging up to the main group after 30km of riding.
With such technical elements to the course, having a main pack of 38 was at times nerve-wracking, but the majority of the field made it through unscathed, as it really came down to a 10km foot race to determine who would take the title.
Run – Bentley times it to perfection
Out of T2, it unfortunately transpired that Riddle’s failure to get away on the bike would come back to haunt him, as a slow transition from the South African left him trailing from the off. Bentley and Reilly made the first move, as the pair started the run ferociously, taking out the first lap hard to create an initial gap back to the rest of the field.
Max Stapley (ITU), Maxime Fluri (SUI), Eric Diener (GER) and Kiss made the move up to the leading duo by the second lap. It was Saxon Morgan of New Zealand who led through 5km, before Bentley and Reilly once again made a substantial move to crack the field wide open, with only Diener and Kiss willing to match them.
Into the final lap, Bentley showed why he’s British Champion as he produced a massive surge to quickly gap Reilly, Diener and Kiss, as he opened up an insurmountable lead in a matter of seconds, almost as if he had barely touched his reserves until this point.
The gap continued to grow, with Bentley crossing the line to take the win, pointing to the #ForGeorge sign on his trisuit as he took the tape.
Behind him, Kiss took home second, before Reilly made it a British 1-3 by grabbing the last podium spot ahead of Diener.
U23 World Championships 2022 Results
Yas Bay, Abu Dhabi
Friday 25 November 2022 – 1.5km / 40km / 10km
- 1. Connor Bentley (GBR) – 1:50:15
- 2. Gergley Kiss (HUN) – 1:50:24
- 3. Hamish Reilly (GBR) – 1:50:29
- 4. Eric Diener (GER) – 1:50:33
- 5. Maxime Fluri (SUI) – 1:50:52
- 6. Max Stapley (ITU) – 1:50:59
- 7. Paul Georgenthum (FRA) – 1:51:09
- 8. Saxon Morgan (NZL) – 1:51:12
- 9. John Reed (USA) – 1:51:16
- 10. Itamar Eshed (ISR) – 1:51:21