For the second time in the 2012 ITU Triathlon World Cup season, Mexicans occupied the top two spots when Sergio Sarmiento and Crisanto Grajales sprinted to first and second place. Sarmiento's win was a historic one for Mexico, as the country had never earned gold in the previous nine World Cup events Cancun has hosted. Grajales took silver to Sarmiento, while Gregory Rouault (FRA) rounded out the podium.
"I was retired for five years because I had a crash on the bike, but I wanted to come back and I'm feeling good," Sarmiento said. "In every event we do, it's a better result and better result. It's perfect for me. I am very happy. I don't want to believe this because I hope it will lead to a lot more triumphs."
Similar to the women, the men's race saw two athletes swim out to a lead when Steffen Justus (GER) and Tommy Zaferes (USA) surged ahead of the field. The two jumped on their bikes in front of a massive pack of men that included nearly the entire competition contingency.
However, it didn't take long for the chase pack of 35 men to close in on Zaferes and Justus early in the second bike lap. Justus lived up to his number one start position until he suffered a flat tire on the third lap. While the tire slowed him down, it didn't take him out of the race as he opted to continue riding in lieu of a tire change. The Americans and Mexicans seized the opportunity the mechanical difficulty presented to take over the top seven positions on the bike.
Althought Zaferes was not one of the Americans leading on the bike, he managed to get out of transition first for the second time in the race. However, he was quickly run down by Grajales, Sarmiento and Jarrod Shoemaker (USA).
Similar to the Guatape World Cup where Grajales and Sarmiento ran with an American, the trio ran shoulder to shoulder on the first lap. But the brutal heat and humidity proved too much for Shoemaker, who lagged behind midway through the second lap. Rouault took the chance to run into third position.
While it was Grajales who had the legs to sprint ahead in Guatape, the contrary was true in Cancun. Sarmiento bolted ahead in a last-ditch effort for the gold in 53 minutes, 33 seconds. Grajales crossed over three seconds later in 53:36, while Rouault was third in 53:49.
"I knew I could run fast, I just had to keep myself in there," Rouault said. "I knew I had the potential to do well. I just waited on the run. With the heat and humidity, I thought it would be a tough 5km. I picked it up in the last 2km and it was good enough for a podium."
Shoemaker finished in fourth while Justus rounded out the top five.
Photo: Arnold Lim/ITU