For the second year in a row, the World Triathlon Series Grand Final came down to a furious finishing chute battle between Spain’s Javier Gomez and Great Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee. And for the second year in a row, it was Gomez who pulled out a killer kick to edge ahead and this time it was enough to claim his third Elite Men’s ITU World Championship title in London on Sunday.
In a pulsating last 200m Brownlee initally broke away and looked like he would be victorious in front of the home crowd, but with the line in sight Gomez fought back brilliantly to claim victory by just one second, finishing in one hour, 48 minutes and 16 seconds.
“It feels amazing to be world champion, I can’t really believe it,” said Gomez after his victory. “It probably wasn’t my day for running, I felt quite tired, so I was just working hard on the sprint, on the last kick. It’s amazing to be champion, I’m so happy.”
Jonathan Brownlee’s second-place finish means he claimed silver medal in the overall world championship rankings, while Mario Mola (ESP) finished third in 01:49:10, which also meant he snatched bronze in the overall rankings.
It was one race too many for Alistair Brownlee, however, whose on-going Achilles injury finally caught up with the Olympic champion and rankings leader before the Grand Final. Alistair had won the past 10 consecutive Olympic distance races he’d competed in on the ITU circuit, including three this year, and he was in his usual position in the lead group during the swim and the bike.
But he began wincing visibly at the start of the 10km run and soon started to drop away from the leaders. He courageously continued to fight his way to the finish, outrunning other athletes despite limping significantly, and even stopping during the dramatic sprint finish to cheer on his brother. Alistair eventually finished in 52nd place, which saw him finish fourth in the overall rankings to just miss out on a world championship medal.
Instead it was left to Gomez and Jonathan Brownlee to fight it out in a thrilling 10km race, knowing a win in London would also secure the world championship. Both athletes had multiple turns to break away without any real success before the last-ditch, dramatic finale unfolded. Behind them, it was Mola who turned out one of the performances of the day.
Leaving transition 30 seconds down on the leader pack of 13, he moved into third just at the start of the bell lap of the run. While the pace of Brownlee and Gomez proved too much to catch them, Mola finished clearly in third, enough to earn his first overall ITU World Championship medal. Gomez joins Australia’s Peter Robertson and Emma Snowsill as three-time ITU World Champions, Great Britain’s Simon Lessing (4 titles) is the only athlete to have claimed more.
2013 PruHealth World Triathlon Grand Final London – 15 September
Final Results – Elite Men – 1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run
The Thrilling Sprint Finish