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The day belonged to the French, as they controlled the course from start to finish in the finals of the Tiszaujvaros ITU Triathlon World Cup. Aurelien Raphael opened the day with the fastest swim, while teammate Pierre Le Corre closed it out for his first ITU World Cup victory.
Le Corre crossed over the finish line first, followed shortly thereafter by Raphael and Anthony Pujades for a French sweep of the podium.
“We are very glad to win today,” Le Corre said. “The French team on the podium, it’s fantastic.”
Swift swimmer Raphael, who posted the top swim time in semifinals on Saturday, again set the pace on the swim, leading his teammates out of the water first. Pujades and Le Corre were not far behind, sitting in second and fifth, respectively.
The trio hopped on their bikes and, alongside Russians Igor Polyanskiy and Andrey Bryukhankov, immediately created a breakaway lead group of ten men. By the second lap, the pack had earned themselves a 41-second advantage. Throughout the next three laps, the leaders managed to hammer out a minute lead by the bell lap.
“I felt fantastic today,” Le Corre said. “We worked very well on the bike. We wanted to break away on the bike and we did. We pushed hard on the swim, the French team did. So it was a good race.”
Dan Wilson (AUS), who posted the fastest bike time of the day in semifinal action, headed onto the run course first, followed by Stefan Zachaeus (GER) and the three Frenchman. Le Corre, Raphael and Pujades then worked to furiously drop Wilson and Zachaeus on the first run lap.
By the first lap they had succeeded. Le Corre stormed to the top spot and never looked back. He continued edging ahead, while Raphael lengthened his stride, maintaining pace from behind.
Pujades received the most opposition, positioned narrowly in front of Ryan Fisher (AUS) midway through the run. But on the last lap, Pujades took off to round out a French top three.
Le Corre coasted into first with a time of a time of 51 minutes, 54 seconds. Raphael slowed behind him to drape the French flag around him before clocking in at 52 minutes, 5 seconds. Pujades was next, scoring bronze and his first career ITU World Cup podium, five seconds behind Raphael.
“This is the first time maybe France has gone 1-2-3,” Pujades said of the French sweep. “They are my friends. We train together, so I am so happy. It’s great.”
Fisher and Polyanskiy completed the field’s top five. Teen phenom Lukas Verzbicas (USA) languished in the chase group on the bike but scorched the day’s fastest run split to move up to sixth place.
Another Frenchman, Gregory Rouault, was also impressive, clocking the day’s second fastest run to finish seventh. Verzbicas and Rouault were the only men to run under the 15-minute mark on a tough day when all athletes had to back up yesterday’s semifinals.