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World Triathlon Cup Rome 2023 results: Vasco Vilaca cruises to dominant victory in Italy

There was no stopping Vasco Vilaca in the Eternal City on Saturday

Chief Correspondent
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Portugal’s Vasco Vilaca was the clear favourite for victory at the debut edition of the World Triathlon Cup Rome on Saturday. That tag never looked in danger as he added a first career World Cup win to his C.V., keeping the run of success for bib #1 in World Triathlon Cup racing.

Here’s how the race played out, as the Portuguese star headed into his off-season with a smile.

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Swim – Strada leads the way for the Azzurri

In contrast to the Elite Women’s race which took place three hours earlier, there was little separation in the leading men as they took on the 750m, non-wetsuit swim at Central Lake Park.

As they returned to dry land, it was Italy’s Nicolo Strada (winner at Arena Games London this year), just ahead of the Hungarian duo of Zalán Hóbor and Csongor Lehmann – but with 30+ athletes within 20 seconds it would take a while to see the shape of the race play out.

Returning to short-course racing after a fantastic season over the middle distances, American Jason West exited back in 45th position, but still only 27 seconds back in a long line of athletes. He was still very much in contention if he could execute the opening kilometres of the ride efficiently.

Bike – Pace is on for the breakaway 22

The opening bike lap of five saw 25 athletes make the front group, but even the chasers – including Sergio Baxter Cabrera (ESP), Richard Murray (NED), Barclay Izzard (GBR) and West – were less than 30 seconds in arrears. With the gaps small, was it all going to come together over the remainder of the bike?

Martin Van Riel (BEL) and Vetle Bergsvik Thorn (NOR) were among those consistently to the front and pushing the pace of the large leading pack, but the chasers had further reduced their deficit to just 22 seconds as the second lap was completed.

Stefan Zachäus (LUX) and Yanis Seguin (FRA) tried to break clear on lap three, but with no success. Once they were reeled back in, the pace at the front of the leading group – which was now 22-strong – returned back to type, and their lead over the equally large pack of chasers went back out to 30 seconds, with just 4km of riding remaining before the run. They would add another 10-seconds to that over the closing kilometres.

There was disaster for Van Riel in the very late stages, as he was one of about three athletes to come down at low speed on the final 180-degree turn, around 1km out from T2.

Run – Vilaca a different class

Wearing #1 here, Portugal’s Vilaca was the clear favourite after a season which has seen him secure a host of top-tier results on the World Triathlon Championship Series (finishing fourth overall), but with no victories. This was a prime opportunity to tick that box.

Moving to the front of the run early, Vilaca was not looking behind him and having seemingly recovered from the illness which hampered his performance at the WTCS Championship Finals in Pontevedra, it was soon clear this would be a race for silver and bronze.

Simon Henseleit, U23 World Champion in Pontevedra, was in the podium mix, alongside Tom Richard (FRA), Emil Holm (DEN) and Arnaud Mengal (BEL), as Vilaca continued to extend his lead on the second and final run lap.

Vasco could take the tape in the Eternal City in comfort, while behind it was silver for Mengal and Henseleit completing the podium in third

World Triathlon Cup Rome 2023 Results

Saturday 7 October 2023, Rome, Italy – 750m / 20km / 5km

Elite Men

  • 1. Vasco Vilaca (POR) – 53:39
  • 2. Arnaud Mengal (BEL) – 53:43
  • 3. Simon Henseleit (GER) – 53:45
  • 4. Tom Richard (FRA) – 53:48
  • 5. Emil Holm (DEN) – 53:53
  • 6. Charles Paquet (CAN) – 53:56
  • 7. Yanis Seguin (FRA) – 53:58
  • 8. Casper Stornes (NOR) – 54:01
  • 9. Simon Westermann (SUI) – 54:04
  • 10. Alessio Crociani (ITA) – 54:06
John Levison
Written by
John Levison
TRI247's Chief Correspondent, John has been involved in triathlon for well over 30 years, 15 of those writing on these pages, whilst he can also be found commentating for events across the UK.

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