Eleonora Peroncini holds the blue finish tape aloft with a huge smile on her face

On a steamy afternoon in the Romanian hills of Targu Mures, it was two seasoned pros who led the way to dominate the women’s race. The first gold medal at the 2022 World Triathlon Multisport World Championships went to Eleonora Peroncini, who revealed her plan to retire after a typically powerful bike to set up a first world title in the format and follow up her 2019 Cross Triathlon title in fine fashion.

The Italian passed Austria’s Carina Wasle on the first lap of that middle segment and pulled clear with a devastating 90-minute bike on a demanding hilly and technical course. Netherlands’ newcomer Noor Dekker finished with a brilliant bronze.

“I never expected this result, I’m very happy because this will be my last event,” said a delighted Peroncini.

“The type of bike course is always important for me, and the run was super tough.”

The start list was a Europe-heavy affair, and it was Wasle who clearly wanted to show the young guns what she can do with a lightening quick opening kilometre. Only Kristina Lapinova (SVK) was able to keep in touch, but the deficit had grown from 6 to 11 seconds by the end of the run, and was increased yet further when the Slovak struggled to get into her bike shoes once out of transition.

That left the door somewhat open for Peroncini, who was soon through it and pulling right up on Lapinova, Dekker never far behind, clearly loving her debut at the top level.

It was over the tough 23km bike that Romania’s hopes of a medal finally faded with Agnes Tuszon struggling to cope with the sharp climbs, leaving a four-way battle for the medals.

Having been over a minute slower over the opening 6km run, it was Peroncini who showed she still had the legs and the staying power to maintain her lead right to the tape, Wasle unable to make any inroads in that gap as she realised silver was hers, Dekker likewise happy that, while she couldn’t make any headway towards silver, the bronze was undoubtedly hers on the final lap.

“That means a lot to me,” said Carina Wasle.

““The last few years weren’t easy, I thought my career was finished so to win a medal makes me very happy. I changed my coach, had not a lot of racing, but I got more experience and that helped me a lot. I’ve known Eleonora a long time, I was sure she would pass me at some point, and I felt good on the final run and show I was stronger on the bike.”

“I didn’t dream of that medal,” admitted Noor Dekker. “I didn’t know what to expect and the hills were killing me in the end, I’m not used to them in the Netherlands. I practiced a lot of steep climbs, and really enjoyed myself out there.”

Full results can be found here.