Hungary’s Kristof Rasovszky won at 1:47:17.6 over Italy’s Domenico Acerenza (1:47:20.1) and Germany’s Oliver Klemet (1:47:20.5) on the final lap. The pacing was much quicker than the previous race in Somabay, Egypt, with the winning time two weeks ago at an hour and 52 minutes, as the 17-degree water temperatures certainly played a role in the five-minute time difference as 59 men went faster than the time that won the World Cup in Egypt.

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The story coming in was the arrival of Italian Gregorio Paltrinieri racing in his home nation while making his debut for the 2023 World Cup. The 2022 World champion set the pace early, skipping the first two feeds to have a comfortable lead on the likes of Rasovszky and Acerenza through two laps.

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Throughout the first half of the race, it was those three plus Marcello Guidi, David Betlehem and Carlos Garach sitting in the lead pack, and the race hardly changed characters throughout the back half, with all six of them remaining by each other’s sides.

Germany’s Klemet turned on the pace on the back half, utilizing a calm and controlled race plan to stay relaxed on the muscles in the cold water to chase the lead pack. Klemet was as low as 30th place through two laps of the race before climbing up to 18th at the halfway point. He was the only swimmer to emerge from the chase pack as he got noticed by the commentary over an hour into the race on lap four. He would eventually get up to seventh after five laps, some eleven seconds off the leaders.

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After a prolonged chase, Klemet breached the lead pack on the final feed and moved up within the swimmers an hour and a half into the race, putting himself in contention for a win.

Paltrinieri held strong on lap five, but Rasovszky took the lead an hour and 17 minutes into the race, and never relinquished it, despite challenges thrown from the rest.

The Hungarian had a body length lead on the chasers and held that strong the entire final lap, holding off Acerenza and Klemet, who had the fastest last lap, but his final sprint was not enough, finishing third overall. Acerenza stayed on Rasovszky’s feet the entire sixth lap, but could not get up in front as Rasovszky kicked away and won by two and a half seconds.

The early race leader Paltrinieri, started to feel the effects of his quick early pacing and faded to sixth at the finish.

Italy’s Guidi finished fourth overall at 1:47:22.1 over Hungary’s Betlehem (1:47:23.7) and Italy’s Paltrinieri (1:47:26.2) in the lead pack.

Rasovszky also scored the most sprint points, leading the race on each of the sprint laps.

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The junior winner was Germany’s Linus Schwedler, who finished 16th overall at 1:49:03.2, while Italy’s Vincenzo del Vecchio was the second-fastest junior at 68th overall (1:57:54.2).

The water temperatures were reported to be 17 degrees Celsius during the race as the frigid conditions caused the men to all be wearing wet suits in the waters of Golfo Aranci. The overcast weather matched the water temperature, and the cold conditions caused 13 men to exit the race early, including Worlds 5K medalist Mykhailo Romanchuk and junior champion from the first race in Italy Sacha Velly. Pre-race favorites Florian Wellbrock and Dario Verani were late scratches to the race as well.