Manoel Messias leads a one-two for Brazil at the Vina del mar World Cup
Manoel Messias (BRA) had the decisive kick to score gold at the Vina del Mar World Cup this Sunday, with his teammate and golden boy of the Pan American Games Miguel Hidalgo (BRA) ending his superb season with World Cup silver in Chile and Aram Michell Penaflor (MEX) pushes until the end to earn bronze.
The conditions were similar for the men’s race, a wetsuit swim with the water at 14 degrees and the air also quite cold, barely 13 degrees. 42 men lined up for the beach start and it was Italy’s Alessio Crociani (ITA) who led the field on the choppy Pacific Ocean 750m swim.
He managed to open a small gap, followed by local hero Diego Moya (CHI), and great swimmers like Henri Schoeman (RSA) or Samuel Dickinson (GBR), with a large line of athletes behind them, and all moving quickly up the steps that led them to transition. Both Brazilian men, Hidalgo and Messias, had average swims, but managed to stay mid pack, ready to charge on the bike as soon a spossible.
It was Spain’s Alberto Gonzalez who led the athletes when they mounted their bikes, with Dickinson and Daniel Dixon (GBR) on his tail, but it would be Panagiotis Bitados (GRE) the first one to try to break away, right before the pack headed to the first climb up the hill.
His efforts were in vain, and the small lead group was quickly chased by Seth Rider (USA), Hidalgo, Chase McQueen (USA) and Diego Moya, and on a large group they all rode together for the remaining two laps to complete the 20km bike course.
The large group made it together to the second and final transition, and it was again Gonzalez leading the way with the running shoes on, but only for a few meters. Despite a not so great second transition, Messias lokked up when he started to run and the chase was inmediately on.
It was a matter of 1 kilometer when he had made it to the front, running shoulder to shoulder with his teammate Hidalgo, with Mexico’s Aram Michell Penaflor running alongside them, and the rest of the field struggling to keep up with their pace.
With an impressive kick in the last 500 meters, Messias run away from the rest of the field to claim the victory, one that feels special for him after only finishing in 9th place at the Pan American Games last week. “I am really happy, this is a great way to finish the season. I managed to have a great race today and I knew that, despite not having a great swim and not a great second transition, I had the speed on my legs”, he said.
Behind him, Hidalgo claimed the silver medal, not what he expected after the two golds earned last week at the Pan American Games, individual and Mixed Relay. “I tried my best today but I couldn’t beat Manoel. Still, I am really happy with my results and these last races of the season”, he said.
Bronze was for Penaflor, the third World Cup podium of his career, and also a rewarding one after having a disappointing performance at the Pan American Games. “This feels great. Finally I managed to deliver what I know that I am capable of, so I am really proud”, he said.
With a powerful sprint on the blue carpet, Gonzalez crossed the finish line in fourth place, with Sobey rounding up the top five on the day.