Mola takes his third world title in a row
Frenchman Vincent Luis wins WTS Gold Coast, but Spaniard Mola takes his third world title in a row
If you’re a betting person your money would have firmly been on Mario Mola winning a third world title. After winning four out of five WTS races the number one entered the WTS Grand Final on the Gold Coast knowing a top 14 position would secure the title over second-placed Australian Jake Birtwhistle, and third-placed Vincent Luis from France.
But make no mistake the Spaniard would want to finish the season on a high with a win.
However joining Birtwhistle and Luis in hoping for an upset and a victory, would be Ali Brownlee, making his first WTS appearance this year, his brother Jonny and South African Henri Schoeman.
Conditions were cold in Australia, and the choppy swim caused the athletes to bunch at the first buoy. The resulting chaos led to Ali Brownlee swimming the wrong side of it, which would have repercussions later for the British athlete and lead to his disqualification.
Predictably Slovakian Richard Varga came out of the swim first with Luis, and Schoeman on his heels and Jonny Brownlee not far behind. The race was on…
At the start of the 8-lap bike leg Schoeman, Varga and Luis made up a lead group of three who were soon joined by the next four athletes, including Jonny Brownlee; making a strong group of seven that looked like they could potentially dominate the bike.
However it would prove not to be as, thanks to a tumble from Luis, the chase group closed the gap to about 10secs by the end of the first lap, and shortly after the two groups became one.
Crucially this large lead group now included the series leader Mola, along with the Brownlees – so if the other athletes didn’t want to leave it to the run and become a victim of Mola’s blistering pace they would have to make their move soon.
And it would be Norwegian Kristian Blummenfelt and Marten Van Riel from Belgium (who had been leading the group for much of the bike leg) twho would make a successful break away with 15km to go. By the end of lap 6 they had a lead of 28secs over the chase group, which extended to 34secs by the end of lap 7.
A bike mechanical for Van Riel meant that Blummenfelt would enter T2 in first position, but could he hold the lead?
With 5.5km to go Mola caught and overtook the Norwegian, but with Luis, and South African Richard Murray at his side it wouldn’t be easy for the Spaniard. Going into the final lap it would be Luis who would take the bell first and make his decisive move that would see him win his second Grand Final.
Mola would finish second, securing his third title in a row, and Murray took third. Mola joins his Spanish teammate Javier Gomez as only the second man ever to win three WTS titles in a row.
Listen to a post-race interview with the Brownlees from Mark Buckingham
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Post-race interview with the Brownlee Brothers @jonnybrownleetri @alistair.brownlee #wtsgoldcoast #worldchamps