Without the Brownlees and Javier Gomez, who had broken his arm when training and is now out of the Olympics, the Spaniard Mario Mola was always the favourite to win the sprint distance, and he did not disappoint with his fourth WTS win of the season. South Africa’s Richard Murray looked certain to take second until he displayed unsportsmanlike behaviour on hearing he had incurred a penalty led the officials to disqualify him from the race.
Mola finished the swim in 13th place but not to far from the leaders and fellow training partner Murray, who was racing for first time after breaking his collarbone. However a mistake from Murray in transition when he threw his swim cap into the wrong box cost him a ten second penalty to take on the run.
Wet conditions gave tricky and slippery conditions for the bike leg and the pack of about 25 knew that if they had any chance of beating Mola and Murray they had to try and make a break and several were tried by USA athlete Ben Kanute and Andreas Schilling. However these were unsuccessful and with transition in sight Mola and Murray hit the front and after a clean transition started the run in the lead and from then on a win for Mola was never in doubt.
Murray didn’t realise he had a penalty until the final lap and when entering the penalty area could be seen asking the official furiously what he had done wrong. He then sprinted out and still managed to take second, thanks to a 17 second lead, with Jake Birtwhistle just taking 3rd from Fernando Alarza after the Spaniard sprinted for the line.
But the drama hadn’t finished as Murray’s fury was evident to all and he could be seen arguing with officials who then made the decision to disqualify him for unsportsmanlike behaviour. This meant Birtwhistle finished in second and Alarza took third.
Mola has won WTS Abu Dhabi, Gold Coast, and Yokohama this year and is now the current leader in the series