Like in 2017, France’s Vincent Luis won the World Triathlon Series (WTS) Grand Final. Mario Mola (ESP) crossed the line second to Luis, which was more than enough to secure his third consecutive world title. South Africa’s Richard Murray crossed the line to finish third. Australia’s Jacob Birtwhistle finished seventh – giving him just enough points to finish third in the WTS rankings.
After the race, training partners Mola and Luis praised each other on a great race. “It has been a great season and finishing with a second place behind my training partner – it was a great race. I’ll try to make it four in a row next year, and it’s in my hands to come back next year and be better,” said Mola. Luis was pleased with his second WTS Grand Final win in as many years, a result that also saw him jump Birtwhistle to take second in the rankings. “I didn’t expect that. I felt good in the run, and I thought ‘Why not attack? I’m third in the world; I have nothing to lose’. Plus, if I have to finish second to anyone, I’m happy it is Mario.”
The race began with Luis leading Richard Varga (SVK), Henri Schoeman (RSA), and Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) off the front heading into T1.
The bike saw lots of drama with Schoeman, Luis, Brownlee and Varga being joined by Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR), Dorian Coninx (FRA) and Marten Van Riel (BEL). Early in the bike Luis and Van Riel hit the tarmac, but little damage was done and with the two were soon back up and running.
Halfway through the bike, Van Riel and Blummenfelt made a move that gapped the rest of the field by 35 seconds. The move came just as a large chase group formed behind including names like Mola, Birtwhistle, Murray and Canada’s Tyler Mislawchuk.
Onto the run, it would be Blummenfelt out ahead, with Van Riel and the others chasing. As he did in Montreal three weeks earlier, Mola showed off his incredible run speed by closing the gap to Blummenfelt with near ease. This time, Luis was the one to match Mola’s pace, and the two passed the Norwegian with 5K to go. Closely following the Spaniard and Frenchman were Murray and Pierre Le Corre (FRA).
With 2.5K to go, the Luis dropped Murray and Mola. The Spaniard gave chase in the final hundred metres, but it wasn’t enough. Luis took the win, and Mola crossed the line 13-seconds behind in second. The South African finished eight seconds behind in third.
Top Ten Race Results from the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final
When asked how he felt repeating compatriot Javier Gomez’s hat-trick of world titles, Mola said; “Javier is an inspiration to me my whole career, someone I always look up to and who has set the path for all Spanish athletes, but I never imagined having three titles. I have to thank my coach for the last five or six years and my girlfriend – they have been there and created a perfect environment to keep me happy and going forward.”
Canadian Tyler Mislawchuk finished an impressive tenth in the last race of the WTS season. From the beginning of the year, it was his goal to end the year ranked in the top ten, and he did just that, finishing ninth overall. Mislawchuk will now be off to the Jersey Super League Triathlon race at the end of September.
Not to be outdone, Canadian Matthew Sharpe had a great day of racing in Australia. The six-foot-four-inch triathlete was right in the thick of it until the closing kilometres of the run. Sharpe finished seventeenth on the day and will join Mislawchuk in Jersey at the Super League Triathlon race.
Final Top Ten World Triathlon Series Rankings