Ecuadorian race walker Brian Pintado (© Getty Images)
Pan-American champion Brian Pintado achieved his first victory in a World Athletics Race Walking Tour Gold race, while Kimberly Garcia regained her title at the Grande Premio Internacional de Rio Maior em Marcha Atletica on Saturday (7).
Pintado had finished fourth, and just outside of the medals, at the World Race Walking Team Championships in Muscat and at the Race Walking Tour Gold meeting in Podebrady one month later. But this time the Ecuadorian secured his spot on the top of the podium after breaking away from his final pursuer in the closing stages.
France’s Kevin Campian led a nine-man group through 5km in 20:56, but that pack had been reduced to seven men at 8km. At halfway, which was reached in 41:25, the group was down to five: Pintado, Caio Bonfim of Brazil, Manuel Soto of Colombia, David Hurtado of Ecuador and Spain’s Marc Tur, though the latter was starting to drop off the pace.
At 12km Soto had been dropped, leaving Pintado, Bonfim and Hurtado as the lead trio. Pintado bided his time for another two kilometres, but then started to push on and covered the 15th kilometre within four minutes, opening up a gap on Bonfim.
Pintado continued to extend his lead and eventually won in 1:21:54. Bonfim was second (1:22:26) and Soto third (1:22:52). Cesar Rodriguez worked his way up to fourth place at 15km and held that to finish.
The women’s race was even more clear-cut with Peru’s Kimberly Garcia and Portugal’s Ana Cabecinha making an early break from the rest of the field. Cabecinha walked alone through 5km (22:49), but Garcia had reeled her in a couple of kilometres later and they passed through 10km in 46:00, almost half a minute ahead of France’s Eloise Terrec.
Garcia stuck with Cabecinha for another four kilometres, then – similar to Pintado – pushed on in the 15th kilometre and immediately opened up a nine-second gap on the experienced Portuguese race walker.
Garcia went on to win in 1:32:42, more than half a minute ahead of Cabecinha (1:33:20). 2017 world 50km champion Ines Henriques placed third in 1:34:18 as Terrec eventually dropped to fifth place.