Tyler Mislawchuk (right) and Andrew Yorke finish 21st and 29th at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final.
Photos and story by Kevin Mackinnon
In a thrilling finish Mario Mola managed to outlast Javier Gomez to take the win in Chicago today, but thanks to his silver medal performance Javier Gomez took his fifth standard distance world title.
After a quick swim (just over 16 minutes for Richard Varga) a group of eight initially broke away on the bike, only to be sucked up by the lead pack before the end of the first lap thanks to the efforts of defending world champ Gomez. That lead group of about 30 managed to open up a gap of over a minute on the large chase pack, which also numbered about 30. Canadian Tyler Mislawchuk was in the first group, while countrymen Andrew Yorke and Kyle Jones were in the chase group, along with one of the pre-race favorites, South African Richard Murray. Through the first half of the bike the lead group stayed clear, but once Yorke started to get his legs back after a tough swim he was able to help the group to make up time.
“It was a really tough swim – today I just didn’t have any gas out there,” Yorke said after the race. “I felt like I was fighting the whole way. On the bike it took me three laps to recover – normally I feel like I can go right from the start. When I started to take some turns we began to get some momentum going and the gap started to come down.”
No one would have appreciated that support more than Murray, who was hoping to win a second WTS title in a row after his win in Edmonton a few weeks ago. The chase group did catch up with a few laps to go, so coming out of T2 there were 60 men within a minute of each other, even though a small group of four, including American Ben Kanute and Brazilian Reinaldo Collucci, had managed to get a few seconds clear of the rest.
Within a few kilometres the race quickly became the Mola/ Gomez show. By the end of the first of four 2.5 km loops the two had moved to the front and proceeded to put on a running clinic for the rest of the field. This clinic included everything from trading surges full-out sprints to the front, but neither could break the other until the last few hundred meters, at which point Mola pulled ahead and stayed clear of Gomez to take the day.
As long as Gomez finished on the podium he was guaranteed his fifth standard distance world title – the silver medal was more than enough to garner that. Murray managed to break clear of the chase group for the bronze, while this year’s Pan Am games champ, Mexican Crisanto Grajales took fourth.
Mislawchuk ran his heart out through the first loop of the run, staying in the top eight, but couldn’t hang on though the second half of the run and faded to 21st.
“I was in the front pack in the swim, which got brought back by the chase pack on the bike,” Mislawchuk said after the race. “That was a bit disappointing because quite a few people from that group ended up outrunning me. My race strategy was to go for a top-eight, which is the Olympic selection. I would rather go for broke and go for eighth than be conservative and come 15th … I just didn’t have the legs on the second half of the run.”
Yorke also struggled on the run and finished 29th. “It was really tough on the first lap of the run,” he said. “I hauled a lot of guys back on the back end. I didn’t even have the legs to go to get to the front end of the group at the end of the bike. I know I gave my best effort on the day – I was seeing stars by the end of the race.”
Jones would eventually pull out during the run.
|1||Mola, Mario (ESP)||01:44:53|
|2||Gomez Noya, Javier (ESP)||01:44:57|
|3||Murray, Richard (RSA)||01:45:35|
|4||Grajales, Crisanto (MEX)||01:45:40|
|5||Luis, Vincent (FRA)||01:45:44|
|6||Alarza, Fernando (ESP)||01:45:52|
|7||Royle, Aaron (AUS)||01:46:03|
|8||Geens, Jelle (BEL)||01:46:10|
|9||Pereira, Joao (POR)||01:46:10|
|10||Bailie, Ryan (AUS)||01:46:13|
Tyler Mislawchuk – 21st. 1:46:43
Andrew Yorke – 29th. 1:47:17