World Triathlon Cup Valencia 2022: Tertsch, Messias win in Spain

The heat was on in Spain today at the 2022 World Triathlon Cup Valencia.

Mario Mola did his best to bring cheers to the home crowd – but had to be content with a silver medal against a very strong Manoel Messias. Lisa Tertsch continued her excellent 2022 season with a second career World Triathlon Cup title.

Predict to win with Zwift
2 Days. 2 Races. 2 Chances To Win.
Predict the podiums for the women and men's races at Kona to win one of two Zwift Hub Smart Trainers*
Zwift Smart Hub Trainer

Elite Women – Tertsch sprints to victory

The USA’s Summer Rappaport set the pace through the opening 750m swim in Valencia harbour. Fifth this year at WTCS Montreal, the tall American is always swift in the water, but as the race took shape over the opening couple of kilometres on what is a pretty flat and fast course, a large front group quickly formed.

Wearing #1, Rappaport’s team mate, Kirsten Kasper, was safely among them – though so sizeable was the group, that pretty much everyone else of note from the start list was there too. Close to 40 athletes were together at the end of the first of four cycle laps – and very little changed over the next three, truth be told. More than 50 athletes would start the run separated by less than 20 seconds.

Leonie Periault (FRA) took the lead early in the run, joined by Lisa Tertsch (GER) and Anahi Alvarez Corral (MEX). Second in Yokohama earlier this year, Periault had been in incredible form for the best part of two years, before a DNF at Leeds and an uncharacteristic 28th in Munich at the European Championship brought that to a halt. Was this going to represent a return to normal service?

The German would likely provide a stern test, having finish third at WTCS Hamburg and second at the Pontevedra World Cup already in 2022, The Mexican, by contrast, had no such C.V. but was producing perhaps the best performance of her young career to date.

Into the final 400m and Periault was the first to fall off the pace, as Tertsch raised the tempo. Winner of two America Triathlon Cup races this year, this was nonetheless a significant step up for Alvarez Corral, who was hanging tough. Tertsch continued to put the pressure on, and while she never looked like losing, the Mexican was never distanced significantly. The gap at the finished was just two seconds, with Periault well clear of the chasers to complete the podium trio with bronze.

For Tertsch, that was her second career Triathlon World Cup win, the first having been earned in 2019, in Antwerp.

Lisa Tertsch World Triathlon Valencia 2022
Photo Credit: @dymages / World Triathlon

Elite Men – Messias holds off Mola

Davide Castro Fajardo (ESP) was first out of the 750m swim against the backdrop of the modern Valencia harbour, but as with the Elite Women’s race earlier, a long line of athletes looked set to lead to a large group on the flat and fast, four-lap bike circuit.

35 athletes went through the first lap separated by just seven seconds. A crash in the earlier stages did take out a small number of athletes however, including Henry Graf (GER).

Manoel Messias (BRA) and Tjebbe Kaindl (AUT) made an attack on the fourth an final lap, and they would reach T2 together with an advantage of 12 seconds over a huge group which was now more than 40 strong.

Messias is a class act (and great runner) – second to Jonathan Brownlee at the Arzachena World Triathlon Cup this year – and not surprisingly he dropped Kaindl like a stone the moment his running shoes were on.

Behind him, it was like the Spanish Armada – as Antonio Serrat Seoane, Mario Mola and David Castro Fajardo were chasing – with Mathew McElroy (USA) perhaps the only athlete capable of going with the home trio.

Serrat Seoane all but bridged up to the shoulder of Messias, only to seemingly pay for his effort by falling immediately back to Mola and McElroy. Too much, too soon?

Messias, the World Junior Champion in 2015 looked like he had the race under control, but Mola was absolutely going full gas to try and win on home turf, leaving McElroy and Serrat Seoane in his dust. He got close – but the Brazilian took the title, a worthy return for his efforts to break things up on the bike.

He didn’t get the win, but speaking post-race, Mario Mola said, “It was great for me to feel like I’m competitive again. I think I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m on the right path.”

World Triathlon Cup Valencia 2022 results

Saturday 3 September 2022 – 750m / 20km / 5km

ELITE WOMEN

  • 1. Lisa Tertsch (GER) – 55:17
  • 2. Anahi Alvarez Corral (MEX) – 55:19
  • 3. Leonie Periault (FRA) – 55:23
  • 4. Valerie Barthelemy (BEL) – 55:40
  • 5. Mathilde Gautier (FRA) – 55:42
  • 44. Iona Miller (GBR) – 57:57
  • 47. Annabel Morton (GBR) – 58:14

ELITE MEN

  • 1. Manoel Messias (BRA) – 50:14
  • 2. Mario Mola (ESP) – 50:18
  • 3. Matthew McElroy (USA) – 50:25
  • 4. Antonio Serrat Seoane (ESP) – 50:34
  • 5. David Castro Fajardo (ESP) – 50:48
John Levison
Article by
TRI247's Chief Correspondent, John has been involved in the sport for well over 30 years, 15 of those writing on these pages. While his passion is triathlon, you'll also find him watching Boxing, Darts or at the theatre enjoying a good musical...