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World Triathlon Cup Wollongong: Luke Willian delivers as rising star Tilda Mansson shines

Australian Luke Willian won the men's race in Wollongong after a brave race, where he made his bid for the win straight out of transition and never looked back.

Staff Reporter
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Australian Luke Willian took a commanding victory in front of a home crowd in Wollongong, as the 27-year-old picked his first World Triathlon Cup win since 2019.

In a thrilling battle for second and third, South African Jamie Riddle and Chilean Diego Moya just beat Kiwi Taylor Reid to the line in a sprint finish, with Riddle taking silver and Moya clinching bronze.

It was a day for sprint finishes in the women’s race too, as Swedish star Tilda Mansson time her kick to perfection, beating Colombian Maria Carolina Velasquez Soto and Kiwi Ainsley Thorpe by a mere second.

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Mansson makes it count on the blue carpet

In the women’s race, Mansson once again used her superior sprint to take the tape, as she picked up her third World Triathlon Cup win, all three of which have come down to a sprint finish on the blue carpet.

Out of the water, Australian Emma Jeffcoat led Britain’s Sian Rainsley and Canadian Sophia Howell, with the Top 10 within ten seconds of each other entering transition.

Mansson, down towards the back of the pack, had +0:30 to make up on the front following the swim, but had strong cyclists such as Dutch athlete Rachel Klamer and Bermuda’s Erica Hawley for company.

On the bike, a big pack of almost twenty athletes came together up front, and eventually all the main contenders were back together, with the win looking likely to come down to a foot race.

A two-time Junior World Champion, Mansson underlined on the run why she is held in such high regard, as the Swede executed her race perfectly, running the fastest split whilst saving enough in the tank to take the sprint.

The women's podium at the 2024 Wollongong World Triathlon Cup.
[Photo Credit: Con Chronis / Aus Triathlon]

Behind her, Klamer, Soto and Thorpe tried desperately to hold on, and as a result required a photo finish to determine the podium, so tight was the battle down the blue carpet.

In the end, second place was awarded to Soto, with Thorpe finishing in third and Klamer just missing out on the podium by a matter of centimetres.

Willian kicks clear with decisive run

Unfortunately in the men’s race, home favourite Matt Hauser was forced to withdraw before the gun went off, leaving Willian and co to fly the flag for the hosts in testing conditions.

Luke Willian (AUS) wins the Wollongong World Triathlon Cup
[Photo Credit: Con Chronis / Aus Triathlon]

Out of the water, Moya led German stalwart Jonas Schomburg, Kiwi Taylor Reid and Riddle, with Willian also making the lead group, as a front pack of ten opened up a small gap on to the bike.

Amongst the chasers were the likes of Richard Murray and Jacob Birtwhistle, both former WTCS medalists, but much to their dismay the gap kept growing to the front pack, with the leaders eventually enjoying a +0:36 buffer into T2.

Knowing the quality of the runners in the group behind him, Willian made a decisive move out of the gates, leaving the rest of the breakaway to battle it out for the minor medals as he pushed on and never looked back.

Eventually taking a comfortable win, with a +0:23 margin of victory, Willian could cross the line and watch on as a dramatic sprint finish unfolded.

The men's podium at the 2024 World Triathlon Cup Wollongong
[Photo Credit: Con Chronis / Aus Triathlon]

Having served a ten second penalty in the closing straight, Reid was just passed on the blue carpet by Riddle and Moya, who took silver and bronze, finishing just a second ahead of the New Zealander.

World Triathlon Cup Wollongong – Saturday April 20 2024
750m / 20km / 5km

Elite Men

  • 1. Luke Willian (AUS) – 52:51
  • 2. Jamie Riddle (RSA) – 53:14
  • 3. Diego Moya (CHI) – 53:14
  • 4. Taylor Reid (NZL) – 53:15
  • 5. Callum McClusky (AUS) – 53:20

Elite Women

  • 1. Tilda Mansson (SWE) – 1:00:39
  • 2. Maria Carolina Velasquez Soto (COL) – 1:00:40
  • 3. Ainsley Thorpe (NZL) – 1:00:40
  • 4. Rachel Klamer (NED) – 1:00:40
  • 5. Erica Hawley (BER) – 1:00:42
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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