Tiszaujvaros World Cup returns for 24th edition with European Games champions among names chasing gold and Olympic qualification points for Paris 2024
The legend that is the Tiszaujvaros World Cup returns this weekend for another two-day extravaganza two hours east of Budapest where you will find the small industrial town that can lay claim to being the spiritual home of Hungarian triathlon.
After a two-year hiatus the anticipation will be higher than ever for an event that has previously seen stars like Gwen Jorgensen, Jan Frodeno, Emma Carney and Chris McCormack on the podium, all after finishing down one of the loudest home straights around.
The longest-running race in World Triathlon history, Tiszy once again provides a testing two-day semi-final/final format, bringing double the entertainment: three men’s and two women’s qualifiers on Saturday, two 30-deep finals on Sunday, all on a course that is not without its unique flavour.
The tight lake swim is a dizzying three-lap, anti-clockwise, 750m challenge from start to finish, then a long run into transition precedes 2 x 10km loops on the bike (switching to 8 x 2.5km laps for the finals) and then a three-lap run to the tape (4 in the finals).
You can watch Sunday’s finals on TriathlonLive.tv from 14.45 CEST.
Semi-Final One – Lehmann heating up
There’s no surprise in seeing local boy Csongor Lehmann topping the start list of the first semi, the man who grew up on a diet of Tiszy triathlon and has gone on to become the 2021 U23 World Champion and took his first World Cup win in Karlovy Vary last year.
That form has continued into 2023, with top 10s in WTCS Yokohama and WTCS Cagliari. While the pain of a 4th place finish back in 2019 will have been somewhat dimmed by back-to-back European Cup/Premium Cup victories here, there is no doubt what victory would mean to the 24-year-old, who has shown he can produce the goods over any format.
Alberto Gonzalez Garcia has been one of several next-generation Spaniards putting in eye-catching performances including silver in Miyazaki at the tail end of 2022. Strong in the water, lightning on the run, this format could suit him well.
GB’s Hamish Reilly was on the podium at last year’s U23 World Championships and has plenty of potential to deliver a big performance on his day, likewise another Hungarian, Gergely Kiss, who took the U23 silver in Abu Dhabi and helped steer his team to European Games bronze in Krakow a week ago.
Another star in Krakow was Norway’s Casper Stornes, who posted the second fastest bike split in that relay (to Spain’s Gonzalez) and joint fastest run split (with compatriot Vetle Thorn) all of which suggests he is back in the kind of form that will worry his rivals.
Semi-Final Two – Bicsak is back
Another Hungarian bullet with top-tier pedigree and a point to prove is Bence Bicsak, still only 27 but vastly experienced having first raced Tiszy as a Junior 11 years ago. World Cup Champion here in 2017, 7th place in the Tokyo Olympics, two WTCS podiums under his belt and a deadly kick at the pointy end of a race, 6th place at WTCS Montreal in June suggests Bicsak is back.
Frenchman Maxime Hueber-Moosbrugger has plenty of power to deploy on his Tiszaujvaros debut if he can navigate the notoriously tricky lake swim, Max Stapley returning for the second time and in his first full season in the Team GB tri-suit will be looking to kickstart a 2023 campaign that has suffered both bad luck and injury up to this point.
David Cantero del Campo has been putting together some eye-catching displays in Europe recently and his fearless style could pay off here, while Canadian Martin Sobey continues his pursuit of precious Olympic qualification points.
Semi-Final Three – Baxter on the hunt
There aren’t many faster in the water than Hungarian Mark Devay, the chase to get on his feet at the start of the third semi possibly more consequential for the outcome of the race. Devay has been a major player over the first half of the biggest races of late, prone to fading over the run, and past struggles here in Tiszy suggest this may not be the place for that first World Cup podium he so deserves.
Spain’s Sergio Baxter Cabrera took his first win at this level in Pontevedra almost exactly a year ago and could be a contender for the medals with an explosive run, USA’s Darr Smith continues to build towards his breakthrough performance and the consistency to help him mix it at the highest levels.
Australian Callum McClusky will want to put his run power to good qualification use if in touch off the bike, Chile’s Gaspar Riveros scored a top 10 in the Huatulco heat last month and China’s Junjie Fan arrives fresh from a first WTCS outing in Montreal where his swim and run were competitive, and he will looking to translate his strong Conti Cup results to the world stage.
Semi-Final One – Bragmayer on fire
It has already been quite the eventful 2023 for Zsanett Bragmayer, but a Tiszaujvaros World Cup victory on home turf at the sixth time of asking would send it into the stratosphere. Her best World Cup finish here is 6th back in 2019, since when she has gone on to Arena Games glory and been crowned World Aquathlon Champion and Duathlon runner-up in Ibiza.
This time last year the 29-year-old ran away with the Europe Triathlon Premium Cup win here, but she’ll face much stiffer competition this time around, including Norway’s Solveig Lovseth. The recently crowned European Games Champion proved once again in Krakow that her bike power is up there with the best and she has the engine to maintain the pace over 5km or 10km on foot. Lovseth now has the winning habit, but has she had the recovery time to build back up?
This year began with a first World Cup podium for Lovseth, too, with third in New Plymouth, and it was in her native Bergen that Junior World Champion Tilda Mansson (SWE) scored a remarkable first World Cup win a year ago. Since then the 19-year-old has made her first forays into WTCS racing, and while the swim course may not suit her, if Mansson can get back in touch by T2, she has the pace to out-run most of her rivals on her day.
Fifth in Huatulco and 17th at WTCS Montreal, Dominika Jamnicky has looked in good form in 2023 and should be a nailed-on finalist, likewise Australia’s Charlotte McShane who finished one place ahead of the Canadian in Huatulco and has been putting in the hours in Spain to build in to a crucial race period for her Olympic ambitions.
Semi-Final Two – Seregni torpedo loaded
Italy’s Bianca Seregni will want to lead from the first strokes of the swim and could find herself all alone in T1 if past form is anything to go by. Also possessing incredible powers of endurance on the run as shown in last year’s Karlovy Vary silver medal display, at the age of just 23, Seregni is undoubtedly one of the most exciting of a rich crop of Italian talent coming through.
USA’s Gina Sereno took the Arena Games gold in Montreal but hasn’t quite found her best form on the blue carpet so far in 2023, a first slice of unique Tiszy action may not be the place to do so but she will know that the likes of Sara Vilic (AUT) and Jolien Vermeylen (BEL) will be ones to stay in touch with in the bid for safe passage to the final, all three with huge podium potential on Sunday, too.
Another strong Austrian contender, Lisa Perterer touches down in Tiszy after a stop-start 2023 that has seen illness and injury blight most chances to build some consistency and that could cost her over the later stages, while Spain’s Sara Guerrero Manso and GB’s Sophie Alden will be eyeing up a very good opportunity for a first slice of World Cup silverware following strong Continental Cup and European Games displays.