Jonas Schomburg leads the line for another classic Karlovy Vary showdown this weekend
This weekend, the 2023 World Cup circuit hits the seventh of this year’s fourteen races, and it is a classic to mark the halfway point of the World Cup calendar – the unique Czech challenge that is Karlovy Vary.
The action starts with a 1500m Rolava Lake swim and then part one of the two-part transition, first from the lake into town via a point-to-point bike followed by seven x 4.9km technical city loops, all wrapped up with a demanding 4-lap, 10km run to the tape through the beguiling streets of this former royal retreat.
The swim is tight and technical, the bike has awkward climbs, fast descents, tunnels and cobbles to navigate, and the deceptive inclines of the run are always a massive challenge.
That all adds up to two hours of tough, world-class racing and you can watch full coverage of the men over on TriathlonLive.tv from 3pm local time.
Schomburg on medal hunt
Wearing the number one and eyeing that elusive first World Triathlon medal is Germany’s fearless warrior Jonas Schomburg. Few have found themselves out front on so many occasions out of T2 only to be reeled in, but from swim to bike to run, it is from there that the 29-year-old loves to race.
Expect plenty of pace from the get-go, then, as the Paris Test Mixed Relay winner will almost certainly choose chaos once again and hope that he can break his rivals before he breaks himself on a course where he finished 8th last year and an agonising 4th in 2017.
The German talent pool has continued to grow around Schomburg, and it was Lasse Nygaard Priester making a name for himself here in 2021 with an outstanding debut World Cup win, his 10km split a full 30 seconds faster than his nearest rival. The result helped secure a first WTCS start in Hamburg that same year where he took fourth, and he looks back to that form once again after successive World Cup medals in Weihai (bronze) and Valencia (silver) in recent weeks.
Pearson powers on
Outside of the European threat, Morgan Pearson makes a rare World Cup start, fresh from securing his Paris 2024 starting place for the USA at last month’s Test Event. Owner of one of the fastest kicks out there, a mechanical-related DNF in 2020 is his only previous taste of Karlovy Vary life and if he can steer clear of bad luck this weekend, another podium is surely on the cards.
Two years ago it was Japan’s Takumi Hojo and Hungarian Mark Devay leading out of the water and driving a four-deep breakaway all the way through the bike, but the demands of the ride took a big toll – even a 30-scecond lead can be swallowed up over just one lap, and both will want to hang on for longer if they are in a similar position this time around.
Another experienced Hungarian head, Gabor Faldum has been rolling back the years in recent outings to deliver strong finishes in Paris and Sunderland as well as a fourth in Tiszy. The only man on the start list born in the 1980s (’88 to be precise), he must not be discounted from following compatriot and 2022 champion here Csongor Lehmann onto the podium.
Former champion Dickinson is back
Samuel Dickinson makes his World Cup return on a course he won gold back in 2019, the Brit has been plagued by injury so will use the weekend as a marker for his progress alongside teammate Barclay Izzard, a man making the very best of his recent big opportunities in Paris and Sunderland.
With Jan Volar leading the home medal charge, Kyle Smith (NZL) back on the Olympic points hunt on a course that could suit him well, Casper Stornes (NOR), Simon Westermann (SUI) and Genis Grau (ESP) always a threat and Panagiotis Bitados of Greece rising up the ranks in 2023, this year’s podium places are looking impossible to predict.
10:23 - 12 Sep, 2021