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After passing up on a Collins Cup slot and a recent win at IM Mont Tremblant, 29-year-old American Collin Chartier surprised triathlon pundits by grabbing the top step at the PTO U.S. Open with speedy bikes and runs on a blisteringly hot day in Dallas.
Related: Remember the Name: Collin Chartier
Unlike the women’s race the day before, the men’s field had a huge group out of the water together—a list of long-course who’s who including Aaron Royle, Sam Laidlow, Ben Kanute, Daniel, Baekkegard, and Collin Chartier. All in all, the lead group of swimmers had 20 men all together, less than 30 seconds apart. Slightly further back, two men to watch—Sam Long and Lionel Sanders—were around 2:30 down from the leaders, but went to work quickly to move up.
Out onto the bike, Long fairly quickly rode into and through Sanders en route to the front of the field. Though Sanders didn’t lose much time to the leader—who changed from Laidlow to Angert during the 50 miles of the bike—Long eventually made his way into the lead chase group with fellow strong cyclist Magnus Ditlev. Angert would ride into T2 alone, but with a group of four, including Ditlev, Chartier, and Long around a minute back.
As temperatures soared near 100 degrees F, Long tore out of transition faster than anyone else. While Angert, Ditlev, and Chartier took a more conservative approach to the 11-mile run early on; Long did not.
With about 10 miles to go on the run, Long passed Angert, finally taking the lead at the front of the race, though Ditlev and Chartier held steady close behind after a slightly slower transition than the American. Just behind Long, Chartier and Ditlev gave chase, with Chartier finally passing Ditlev with four miles to go after clawing back seconds over the previous seven miles.
With three miles to go, Chartier finally made the pass, after being one of the fastest movers of the day on both the bike and the run—Chartier’s quick, choppy stride a sharp contrast to Long’s more loping gait.
After the pass, it was the Chartier show, as he extended his lead all the way to the line, eventually breaking the tape in 3:17:17. With a mile to go, Ditlev pulled alongside Long, and finally into second place with a time of 3:17:59—just 10 seconds back, Long would settle for third.
“That was the race of my life. I’m super happy to get the win today,” Chartier said, moments after crossing the finish line.
“I believed I had a chance at winning today, I knew if that fatigue settled down, it would be possible to win,” he added, noting that he had had a seven-hour training day last Sunday.
Strategically, it was the group of three—Ditlev, Long, and Chartier—that truly made the race up front. “I was really pleased with the bike,” Chartier said of his race. “There were some tactical moments with three laps to go. Long and Ditlev made a move, and if you didn’t make that move, you were gone”
“It felt really relaxed, I kept really focused,” said Chartier, who lost his watch in the swim, adding that he had no sense of his pace during the run. “You never know you’re going to win until you win.”
PTO U.S. Open Men’s Results
Highlights: PTO U.S. Open
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