It was an overall historical day on the island as the debut 2018 MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda saw the nation of Norway sweep the men’s podium for the first-time in WTS history.

In only his third WTS elite race of his career, Casper Stornes (NOR) dominated his way to claim gold, while compatriots Kristian Blummenfelt and Gustav Iden finished off the silver and bronze to complete the sweep.

“Not when I was in the big group, but when I saw that they just let me go (on the bike) I saw I had a chance, so I just took it. I won, so I am very happy!” said Stornes on thinking if he had a chance from the beginning to win gold. “I was thinking many times that maybe I should slow down and inhale a little bit, but I just pushed on and got more time.”

“That was impressive! I thought with 90 seconds we might be able to catch him, but he was running too strong. I think we only took about five seconds in the first five kilometres, I’m so glad for him,” said Blummenfelt on the strength of Stornes’ performance.

Iden added on Norway sweeping the podium, “It was just like in training, it has been just like this all winter. We have done this almost every day, so it is just unbelievable to do it in a competition as well. I don’t think many people thought that it was possible like four years ago, but we are here and we are ready to take the world.

The mens podiumThe mens podium
(Photo: Wagner Araujo / ITU; click to enlarge)

Thousands of cheering fans lined the streets in Hamilton, Bermuda for the inaugural event. Despite early forecasts of rain, the weather, while windy, was clear and eager to welcome the men to kick off WTS Bermuda.

Diving into the water from a two-metre high pontoon, Henri Schoeman (RSA) took the lead early on. USA’s Ben Kanute stayed right on his heels and the two held tight to their advantage for the complete 1.5 kilometre swim.

Schoeman exited the water as the swim leader for the seventh time in his WTS career but had a trail of competitors right behind to carry into the first transition. Spaniard Mario Mola put himself in a strong position with only a 30 second deficit.

The Bermuda bike course was much anticipated ahead of race day with the infamous Corkscrew Hill looming over the athletes as they would have to tackle the steep hill ten times. While a large group of men bunched together that tallied every strong contender in the field, Stornes made the brave breakaway attempt on the third lap.

The bold decision deemed successful as he pushed the pace with every stride, banking on the narrow and tight U-turn parts of the course to slow the large chase pack that held captive threats such as Mola, Schoeman and Blummenfelt.

Denmark’s Andreas Schilling was the only man to try to catch Stornes, but he ultimately could not close in. However, he never returned to the chase pack and remained in the second-place position for the rest of the bike.

As the second transition approached, Stornes had built up a lead over two minutes from the large chase pack of more than 30 men. But after riding solo for more than 30 kilometres, it would be a test to see if his legs could stay fresh enough to ward off any others gunning for the gold.

Right before the transition zone, Blummefelt and Iden made a last-minute push to gain some space upon entering the run. They caught up to Schilling and within moments surpassed him while on foot.

Still however, Stornes had a lead of about 80 seconds. His dominating risk on the bike paid off and his lead was never lost. With the Norwegian flag in hand, he ran his way into the finish chute to claim his first-ever WTS gold and the first WTS gold for his nation.

Blummenfelt and Iden then completed the puzzle as Blummenfelt came in for the silver, while Iden took bronze to finish off the historical sweep of the podium for the first time in men’s WTS racing.

Mola had the fastest run time of the day, despite finishing just off the podium in fourth place. However, combined with his second-place finish from WTS Abu Dhabi, Mola became the new 2018 Series leader.

Another strong performance of the day came from Mexico Rodrigo Gonzalez, who with a fifth-place result from a strong run, earned his highest WTS finish of his career.

Results: ITU World Triathlon Bermuda

Elite Men

1. Casper Stornes (NOR) 1:54:47
2. Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) 1:55:08
3. Gustav Iden (NOR) 1:55:10
4. Mario Mola (ESP) 1:55:45
5. Rodrigo Gonzalez (MEX) 1:55:58
6. Fernando Alarza (ESP) 1:56:08
7. Dorian Coninx (FRA) 1:56:08
8. Henri Schoeman (RSA) 1:56:24
9. Ryan Bailie (AUS) 1:56:28
10. Crisanto Grajales (MEX) 1:56:29