Murray and Schoeman top 10 in Montreal
Unlike the women’s sunny WTS Montreal race on Saturday 25 August, the men’s race was rainy on Sunday 26 August. Two South African elite triathletes were among the 47 starters, namely Richard Murray and Henri Schoeman.
The race start unfolded as just about any would with the swimming power of Schoeman in the field, he exited the 1500m swim first in a time of 17:08- with so far a lead at one stage during the swim that he stopped to make sure the race was still going! He was followed into T1 by Seth Rider (USA) some 4 seconds down. Murray completed the swim leg in a time of 17:50.
Out on the bike course, a pack formed almost instantaneously, with athletes trying to play it safe in the treacherously wet conditions. This wasn’t to Andreas Schilling’s (DEN) taste however, and a few laps into the technical 40km cycle he successfully put in a breakaway effort that managed to stave off the bulk of the pack. With around 20km of cycling left, Kristian Blummenfelt and Casper Stornes (both NOR) seized an opportunity to break away and pursue Schilling. With the help of Charles Paquet (CAN) and Shachar Sagiv (ISR), the four closed a considerable gap on Schilling. Murray held the fifth fastest bike split of the day, with a cycle time of 58:57.
Into T2, the breakaway leaders had a gap of 60 seconds on the likes of Mario Mola (ESP), Murray and Schoeman. Blummenfelt held the lead on the run until 1km to go, where Mola came storming though for the win with a run split of 29:48 and overall time of 1:47:46. Blummenfelt claimed the silver medal. Murray came flying into the finishing chute, in an attempt to catch Jacob Birtwhistle (AUS) for the 3rd spot, only narrowly missing the podium. Murray ran a 30:36 10km and completed the race in a time of 1:48:36. Murray is content with his race saying that it was probably the best he had felt all season. This comes after spending some time training at an altitude camp in Arizona in preparation for the WTS Grand Final in Gold Coast next month. Schoeman came through in 6th position in a time of 1:49:10. Also happy with how his race went under the circumstances, Schoeman reflected that he had been feeling unwell in the days leading up to the race due to food poisoning.
Both SA elite men will be racing the series finale in Australia in September. The hard racing on the technical course of Montreal is sure to set them up for success.