World Triathlon Cup Opener in Napier - McClusky Wins and Wilde's Heroic Comeback

Australian Callum McClusky clinches his first World Cup win in Napier, overshadowing Hayden Wilde's stunning rally from a poor swim to a near-victory

World Triathlon Cup Opener in Napier - McClusky Wins and Wilde's Heroic Comeback

The day belonged to McClusky, who, at 26, claimed his first World Triathlon Cup win, echoing compatriot Sophie Linn's earlier success in the women's race. Seven years of hard grit culminated in this golden moment for McClusky. And with Paris 2024 on the horizon, this win couldn't have come at a better time.

Wilde's Wild Ride: A Comeback for the Ages

Let's talk about Hayden Wilde, the local hero and Olympic bronze medalist. He was the pre-race favourite, but a disappointing swim saw him emerge from the water with a mountain to climb. However, Wilde, known as 'The Falcon', showcased his phenomenal bike-run strength, turning a seemingly impossible situation into a nail-biting chase. Although he couldn't clinch the top spot, his performance, especially a blistering 13:52 run off the bike, was nothing short of mind-blowing. Talk about a nail-biter!

A Global Showcase

While the spotlight was on McClusky and Wilde, the race was a veritable United Nations of triathlon talent. Spanish triathlete Alberto Gonzalez Garcia grabbed the bronze, signalling the resurgence of Spain in the triathlon world. His performance was a blend of consistent swimming, diligent biking, and a strategic run.

Others like Israeli Shachar Sagiv and New Zealander Dylan McCullough also put up commendable performances, rounding out a truly international top five.

A Tactical Battle

The race unfolded with Italian Alessio Crociani setting a scorching pace in the swim, leading into the first transition. But as the bike leg progressed, it was clear that strategy and endurance would be key. The choppy waters and challenging bike course tested the athletes' resilience and tactical acumen. Wilde's phenomenal comeback on the bike was a masterclass in race strategy, albeit one that fell just short.

Looking Ahead: The Road to Paris 2024

McClusky’s victory in Napier is a statement of intent from Australia. With Paris 2024 looming, his performance has surely put him in a favourable position for selection. Meanwhile, Wilde, despite his disappointment, demonstrated why he's a force to be reckoned with. His post-race reflection showed a keen awareness of his strengths and areas for improvement, particularly the need to work on his swim.

As we gear up for the rest of the season, including the WTCS in Abu Dhabi, one thing is certain: the world of triathlon is in for an exhilarating year. With athletes like McClusky and Wilde leading the charge, we're in for a treat. So, buckle up. As we are on the road to Paris and it's going to be a thrilling ride.

World Triathlon Cup Napier results

Saturday February 24 2024 – 750m / 20km / 5km

Elite Men

  1. Callum McClusky (AUS) – 49:41
  2. Hayden Wilde (NZL) – 49:47
  3. Alberto Gonzalez Garcia (ESP) – 49:49
  4. Shachar Sagiv (ISR) – 49:50
  5. 5. Dylan McCullough (NZL) – 49:52