Matt Hauser seals World Cup gold with almighty chase effort in Nur-Sultan
Australia’s Matt Hauser pulled out another brilliant 2019 World Cup winning performance on Saturday afternoon with victory in Nur-Sultan following gold in Chengdu in May. Switched to a duathlon format on the morning of the race due to water quality concerns in the Kazakh capital, the action boiled down to three world-class runners and training partners, Hauser passing a brave Wian Sullwald (RSA) to take the tape, Matt McElroy of the USA coming home in third.
“I really wanted to prove myself on this distance and show that I had that 10k leg speed so I was really happy with that,” said a proud Hauser afterwards. “I’ve taken a lot of confidence from the Mixed Relay sprint distance format and wanted to prove a few things out there today. A big shout out to Matt Mac and Wian for some great racing and to Brandon Copeland for 9th place. Matt and I were working pretty well at the end and I just wanted to control my pace and know I had the leg speed to overcome Wian.”
The duathlon format looked to play to race number one Matt McElroy’s strengths as he led out of T1 with no obvious signs of residual weariness after his WTS silver-medal exertions in Leeds less than a week before. There were threats all around though with just 10 seconds separating the top 28 as they mounted the bikes out of transition.
Along with Sullwald, the likes of Erwin Vanderplancke (BEL) and Emil Holm (DEN) were also looking comfortable after putting in 15m50sec for the opening 5km. Last year’s winner Dmitry Polyanskiy thrived on this circuit 12 months ago and also looked well set once more, but it was Sullwald doing all the early work over lap one of six on the bike.
That large, unwieldy pack stayed together as one until Vander Plancke and Lukas Pertl pushed the button, but their charge was short-lived and the duo were again swallowed up into the group of 34. The likes of Liam Ward (NZL) and Badr Siwane (MAR) remained just 12 seconds off the leaders themselves at the halfway point.
After 5 laps, Australia’s Max Neumann then made his move, powering away from the group and extending a 34-second lead seemingly out of nowhere, McElroy and co. content to let him go early and hope his legs start to think twice about the pace.
But Neumann just clicked, while the group struggled behind him, the leader able to focus fully on the task in hand out alone and maintaining his rhythm but the gap was eaten into over the final 5km of the bike and out of T2 he had a 7-second lead over compatriots Matt Hauser and Brandon Copeland, with Matt McElroy, Gordon Benson (GBR) and Sullwald among those still very much in check 12 seconds back.
Sullwald then made a charge, only Hauser going with him after the first 2.5km before Hollaus, McElroy and Maxime Hueber-Moosbrugger of France brought them back into range.
The South African looked calm enough until lap three drew to a close and at the bell, Hauser had him caught, from which point there seemed no way back. As Hauser stretched away, Sullwald doggedly held firm in second, McElroy unable to summon one last kick and having to settle for third, after the Australian took the tape with a roar to continue his brilliant start to 2019.
“I went for it hard at the start of the run and felt good and I knew the duathlon would come down to that last run,” said Sullwald. “It nearly paid off but that was two class guys to try and stay away from. As Matt was catching me I thought he looked strong and I was cramping up badly. But this is redemption and i’m only getting started, so it’s a nice confidence booster to take back into preparing for WTS Montreal and hopefully I can go from strength to strength from here on in.”
For the full men’s results click here
08:24 - 15 Jun, 2019
04:43 - 14 Jun, 2019