Keeping his undefeated 2016 streak alive, Spaniard Mario Mola executed a brilliant finishing run to win the 2016 Jewel World Triathlon Gold Coast on Saturday.
Conquering the Gold Coast heat, Mola was able to remain within the top tier from start to finish and then showcase his signature running speed in the final two and a half kilometres to bypass Great Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee and compatriot Fernando Alarza. The win granted him his second WTS victory of the season and third-straight season win after also taking gold in the Mooloolaba World Cup.
Mola said of his win, “Yeah, it was really tough. Jonny was really strong during most of the run. I am very happy for Fernando that he got second place. I felt great during the whole race. I tried to stay in the front as much as I could on the bike in order to make it a 10k run and I think things went well and I am very happy with the result.”
Running past Brownlee in the final kilometre to earn the silver was Alarza, with Brownlee ending the day with bronze.
“It was an amazing final run, I thought I was only going to get the bronze medal and then when I saw that Jonny was down, I thought now, now now, so I am very happy with the silver medal,” Alarza said. “This is for my family and for my girlfriend. I think this was my best swim, my best cycle and a good run so I am just so very happy.”
The top men all positioned themselves on the right side of the pontoon, to try and make the most of the current at the Broadwater Parklands. As usual, it was Richard Varga (SVK) who led out the swim, followed by Igor Polyanskiy (RUS), Henri Schoeman (RSA) and Jonny Brownlee.
In the first lap of the bike they were joined by seven others, including Aaron Royle (AUS), Ben Kanute (USA) and Alessandro Fabian (ITA), to create a 12-strong lead pack on the bike.
But with the likes of Alistair Brownlee (GBR), Ryan Fisher (AUS), Ryan Bailie (AUS), Thomas Bishop (GBR) and Mola in the chase group, the leaders were hard-pressed to make their break stick.
A 15-second gap from the second lap was cut to nine seconds just one lap later, and they came together within the next kilometre where the peloton then tallied 29.
An episode of breakaway attempts then occurred in the latter half of the bike leg. Alistair Brownlee was first to enjoy a solo ride and his pushed through a lap on his own. But he retreated back to the pack when he was unable to gain any company.
It was then that Ben Shaw (IRL) and Tom Bishop (GBR) went together on a breakaway push and were able to create a gap of 50 seconds and enter the second transition zone together with a slight advantage.
However, with the strong running legs of Mola and Brownlee coming up from behind, it was only a matter of time before they charged out of the transition gate and overtook Bishop and Shaw.
Running stride for stride, Mola and Jonny Brownlee stayed together for the first three laps of the run, giving the audience a flashback to when the two raced together in the Junior World Championships in 2009 in the Gold Coast. And just like in that race, Mola was able to finally kick in some final energy in the final lap and bypass Brownlee and cross the finish line and claim his third straight victory of the season.
Alarza found himself in a comfortable third place position for the first three fourths of the run, but when Brownlee started to run out of gas in the final kilometre, Alarza was able to make a move and finish with the silver.
Using up every ounce of energy left, Brownlee managed to finish strong and grab the final spot on the podium.
But perhaps the loudest cheers coming from the crowd was for the fourth place finisher, Bailie, who was able to claim his position on the Australian Olympic Team for Rio this summer.
Commenting on his Olympic performance Bailie said, “It hasn’t quite sunk in yet to tell you the truth, it has been a lot of hard work to get here. I knew what I had to do and I just wanted to take it out of the selector’s hands. When Rio did not go quite as planned I knew this was the race that I wanted to peak for. I just can’t believe it to tell you the truth.”