Let the Olympics come: Yee beats Wilde after thrilling duel at WTCS Cagliari

Hayden Wilde and Alex Yee to battle it out at WTCS Cagliari (Picture: Triathlon Today)

In poor weather conditions – the start even had to be postponed by half an hour – Alex Yee has just won the WTCS Cagliari. This was the result of a direct battle that many – especially ahead of the Paris Olympics – had been looking forward to for weeks. Yee won after a great duel with Hayden Wilde.

First out of the water climbed a somewhat surprising athlete: Spaniard Alberto Gonzalez Garcia. And despite the fact that he had just about all the favorites in his surroundings at that point – everyone followed quite closely – the surprises weren’t done yet: on the bike he went on a short adventure and in the first kilometers he immediately grabbed a gap on a large and chasing peloton.

A few kilometers later, however, Gonzalez Garcia himself realized that the chasing group was riding too fast, so he decided to keep his legs still and join that group as well. So after the first of ten bike laps, a leading group of about thirty riders emerged, with almost all the favorites together: Pierre le Corre, Max Stapley, Morgan Pearson, Jonas Schomburg, Henri Schoeman, Léo Bergere, Hayden Wilde, Alex Yee, Kristian Blummenfelt and Vincent Luis.

On the third lap, so after about 12 kilometers, Hayden Wilde and Samuel Dickinson went on a brief adventure, but they too were soon caught again. However, it caused the leading group to thin to 21 men, but apart from Schoeman, who had to let the leading group go, the biggest names were still together.

Before the eyes of the public – although there were not many people along the course – a beautiful bike race unfolded in which several attacks were placed and in which the leading group was pulled apart several times and also came back together again. Yet those attacks also cost the lead to several athletes, including Pearson and Italian Alessio Crociani, while Blummenfelt also suddenly lost time rapidly, quickly dropping two minutes. From that point on, a little past the halfway point of the bike leg, the lead group still consisted of eighteen men and remained so until T2.

Meanwhile, everyone was getting ready for the battle that many had been looking forward to for a long time: both Wilde and Yee were still in the lead group, and the two men who are both considered perhaps the biggest favorites for the Olympic title in Paris were also preparing themselves for the decisive ten kilometer run.

Both men immediately ran away from T2 so fast that really no one could follow. What happened next behind the leaders was therefore not really very interesting. All eyes were on Yee and Wilde, who ran side by side and stayed that way for kilometers. Sometimes Wilde took the lead, sometimes Yee took the lead, but in all cases the pace was incredibly high, both men stayed focused and would not budge an inch.

With about a kilometer and a half to go, Yee and Wilde were still going side by side. From then on Wilde began to speed up a bit and Yee kept running a meter behind his archrival. Until the very last few meters, when Yee made a devastating acceleration with two hundred meters to go to take the win in a time of 1:39:44. Wilde was second in 1:39:46. Csongor Lehmann, good for his first WTCS medal, finished third 43 seconds behind.