In the Algarve sunshine on the beachfront of the Portuguese town Quarteira, Dominic Coy raced to an excellent bronze medal at the World Triathlon Junior Championships 2021.
It had been a race in which bad luck befell three of the leaders and falls broke up the bike field, leaving Bellido flying out of T2 and holding firm all the way to the tape after the impressive Henry Graf (GER) faltered. Behind him, Portugal’s Joao Nuno Batista outran the pack to win silver.
Conditions were near-perfect for the 1pm beach start, and it was another Brit, Daniel Dixon, who was going well in the early stages of the 750m one-lap swim. He was joined by Germany’s Graf and the two were carving their way through clear water with USA’s Andrew Schellenberger staying in touch as the field strung right out.
Batista was only a few seconds back out of the water too, but as the powerful Graf put the hammer down straight out of transition, only Schellenberger and Dixon could keep up. Coy sat at 40 seconds back as the bikers began to try and get organised for the 20km ride.
For a relatively flat bike course, things soon took a major turn out front, however with Graf hitting the gas on the small climbs at the end of each lap, and it was on the first that Dixon pushed a little too hard coming out of the descent and came off at speed.
Shaken but not too badly hurt, the Brit could get back on but was suddenly 50 seconds off Graf who was looking at ease and in total control, and just as their lead out front was growing, at the end of the second lap it was Schellenberger who lost traction and slid away in similar fashion to Dixon to end his challenge.
That left Graf to take the final 6.5km all alone and eventually coast into transition with a 5km run to go and a massive 35 seconds of daylight behind him. With 23 athletes now all together in their shoes and hunting him down, the drama was still far from over.
The likes of Coy, Batista, Alexandre Montez (POR) and Canada’s Leo Roy were soon able to catch and pass the unfortunate Graf too, and from that point another very different race was suddenly on.
As the race came to a close, Coy secured his spot on the podium for the first time.
“I knew I could put a good race together today but to be honest I didn’t think I could do that,” said Coy. “It was really tough on the bike and there were some really good guys that went down so I was just focussed on getting to T2. I knew Joao was a really good runner and wanted to stay with him when he kicked and I managed to hold on for bronze.”
Dixon managed to keep on with his race to finish in 26th place overall.
In the women's race, Lizzy Edge finished in 19th place as the highest ranked Brit with Daisy Davies and Bethany Cook finishing in 28th and 29th place respectively.
Photo courtesy of World Triathlon