Morgan Pearson devours tough Karlovy Vary course to take huge first World Cup win
It was to be a USA one-two in Karlovy Vary on Sunday afternoon as Morgan Pearson followed Gwen Jorgensen to gold and secured his first World Cup win with a dominant race from front to back on one of the toughest courses on the circuit.
An excellent swim saw the USA’s first male Paris 2024 qualifier straight into the front pack and, after the group were caught halfway through the bike, he then quickly dropped the hammer and pulled clear of his rivals, nobody among them able to stick the pace and from there on the gap just grew wider and wider all the way to the finish.
Behind him, it was the Mark Devay and Jonas Schomburg show, two athletes who had banged on the door of a World Cup podium for so long and suddenly found themselves all alone in the battle for silver and bronze, Devay ultimately holding off the German after three arduous laps to edge the sprint down the blue carpet.
It was Marcus Dey leading the opening strokes of the swim, Devay right on the young Brit’s heels as they reached the first buoy, Schomburg and Nicolo Strada (ITA) also going well at the halfway point.
That meant eight athletes started to come together early on the bike up front, Panagiotis Bitados (GRE) and Simon Henseleit (GER) and Alois Knabl (AUT) riding hard to close the gap while Simon Westermann (SUI) and Casper Stornes’ (NOR) group began to lose their way and were chasing shadows from the opening laps.
The long climb after transition on each of the seven laps tested the legs more with each loop, Bitados and Tjebbe Kaindl also now going well in the lead pack at the halfway point, while the likes of 2021 winner Lasse Nygaard Priester and Genis Grau were early casualties of the tough conditions, their challenges over before they had begun.
It was on lap five that Pearson started to think about a move and after almost getting one to stick, suddenly he had wriggled clear of Schomburg and co and was gaining precious advantage with every passing corner. The gap was quickly up to 15 seconds, then it was out to nearly 30 seconds by the time he hit T2.
It was Schomburg, Henseleit, Dickinson first out on the chase +30s back, the Austrian trio behind them, Swiss pair Fridelance and Studer leading the big final group in and out of transition now 2m30s off the pace.
Pearson was going through the gears, almost a minute his lead after the first lap, but suddenly Devay and Schomburg had 30 seconds of their own over over Knabl, Kaindl and Henseleit so the battle was on for which colour the two debut World Cup medals would be.
As Pearson soared to the gold, Schomburg never left Devay’s shoulder, but a final attack just proved beyond the German and it was Devay who held on for silver, Knabl following Schomburg over ahead of Henseleit, Barclay Izzard running into sixth with the fastest 10km of the day at 31m13s. Strada, Nan Oliveiras (ESP), Maxime Fluri (SUI) and Kaindl rounding out the top 10.
Full results can be found here.
11:02 - 10 Sep, 2023