The Bahrain Victorious 13 celebrated a weekend of wins from its Olympic bronze medalists as Hayden Wilde took victory in front of his home crowd in New Zealand while Cassandre Beaugrand went wire-to-wire in Portugal.
Wilde showed his mastery of the sprint distance at the World Triathlon Cup New Plymouth. Exiting the 750-metre swim 20 seconds behind the leaders, he clawed the difference back quickly not only to join the lead group but also to push its pace over the 20-kilometre bike leg to notch first-off-the-bike bragging rights and the fastest bike split. He then consolidated his win with the day’s fastest 5-kilometre run to take his first World Cup win and become the first New Zealander atop the podium at New Plymouth since 2009.
He said, “I feel on top of the world. It was just lovely to do it in front of friends and family. The family has ripped it out of me that I won an Olympic medal but never a World Series or World Cup medal. So it is nice to tick all four boxes on all four tiers. I did it completely the opposite way, but great to do it on home soil.”
Beaugrand returned to Quarteira for the first time since she won the Junior European Cup sprint race there in 2016. She proceeded to dominate again, but this time over the Olympic distance. Out of the 1.5-kilometre swim in first, she waited for the first chase group to catch up on the bike, then kept the pace high over 40 kilometres to keep the succeeding chasers at bay and keep the podium chase to the lead group of 11. Once on the 10-kilometre run, Beaugrand built an early lead which proved insurmountable by the finish line.
This coming weekend will see Bahrain Victorious 13 long-course warriors line up for Ironman 70.3 Oceanside. Holly Lawrence revs up for her first race since Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship Bahrain in December, while Jan Frodeno and Kat Matthews are both set for their much-awaited comebacks. Frodeno missed the latter 2022 season after undergoing surgery to treat a rare complication after a bike crash, while Matthews was knocked out of Kona contention when a car hit her on a training ride mere weeks before the big race. All three are poised to test their early-season fitness in Oceanside, the traditional opener for the North America race season.