Mario Mola (ESP) on top in ITU World Triathlon Series opening race
Abu Dhabi kicked off the 2015 World Series with the elite men leaving it all down to end. In a final kick, Mario Mola (ESP) earned his second-ever World Triathlon Series title with a time of 52:32 when he broke away from a three-man pack that included Vincent Luis (FRA) and Richard Murray (RSA).
Saving it all for the run, Mola held a consistent performance throughout the first two disciplines until a kilometer out on the two-lap run when he made a final push for home to the finish line. Clocking the fastest 5km run split in WTS history of 14:03, Mola secured the top podium spot.
“I felt really good throughout the whole triathlon,” Mola said. “In the run I put 110 percent down and did all I could. I tried to put the hammer down before the sprint so I could hold on to it until the end, so I am really happy about that.”
Photo - Janos M Schmidt
Despite being pushed back on the one-lap ocean swim, Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) was back to his leading ways by the second of four bike laps. Like Brownlee, reigning world champ Gomez was sucked back on the swim, which was led by Frenchman Anthony Pujades. Mola, however, enjoyed a solid swim to pick up his bike in T1 in solid form.
With so many strong athletes strung out on the swim, a big pack of 31 men formed together early on the first lap of the bike, including pre-race favourites Murray and Luis, and Joao Pereira (POR). The chase group held steady nearly half a minute behind the lead.
Entering into the final transition it was Henri Schoeman of South Africa who came off the bike first, but it was his compatriot Murray who took an aggressive start to the run portion and gained a lead on the first run lap. He was able to hold onto his lead until Mola and Luis capitalized on a joint opportunity to run shoulder to shoulder with Murray. All three men remained together to make up the lead pack for the majority of the 5-kilometre sprint.
Despite sustaining a glute injury earlier in the week, Gomez continued to hammer away in fourth in the chase group alongside Brownlee and Joao Silva (POR), 10 seconds behind the leading men.
Avoiding a sprint-finish, Mola took off with about a kilometer to go to earn himself a safe lead that brought him into the finish line at 52:32. Luis separated from Murray at the wire to land him a silver with a time of 52:45 and Murray followed shortly after at 52:50.
Silva (53:02), Brownlee (53:03) and Gomez (53:12) crossed over next, rounding out the second group of finishers.
2015 World Triathlon Abu Dhabi - 7 March
750m swim - 20km bike - 5km run - Final Results - Elite Men
1. Mario Mola ESP ES 00:52:32
2. Vincent Luis FRA FR 00:52:45
3. Richard Murray RSA ZA 00:52:50
4. Joao Silva POR PT 00:53:02
5. Jonathan Brownlee GBR GB 00:53:03
6. Javier Gomez Noya ESP ES 00:53:12
7. Fernando Alarza ESP ES 00:53:17
8. Igor Polyanskiy RUS RU 00:53:18
9. Vicente Hernandez ESP ES 00:53:20
10. Sven Riederer SUI CH 00:53:28