Australia’s Gold Coast has been a happy hunting ground for Mario Mola, and the Spaniard continued that run on Saturday when he took out the 2017 Jewel World Triathlon Series Gold Coast event.

Mola has now won three times on the Gold Coast, including the 2009 ITU Junior World Champion title and last year’s World Triathlon Series event. His worst result has been second in a world triathlon series event, in 2015.

On Saturday the race came down to the final 5km run, with Mola locked in a battle with fellow Spanish athletes Fernando Alarza and Javier Gomez, and training partner Richard Murray. But in the final few hundred metres Mola pulled away from Murray to take his second consecutive Gold Coast win, in a time of 52 minutes and 35 seconds.

“It was a very tough race as usual, but with the sprint, Richard, Fernando and Javi they were all on fire. I had to give 100 percent today to get this win,” Mola said.

“Every race is a new opportunity and a different opportunity to give our best and to try our best. In Abu Dhabi I do not think I was less fit or more than I was today but in this racing these guys are very good and if you don’t have your best day you go from first to eighth to twentieth, that is racing. So to get a good result I am happy to have a good performance.”

Mario MolaMario Mola
(Photo: Delly Carr / ITU; click to enlarge)

Earlier in the day, Henri Schoeman was first out of the water, and a small group managed to get away on the first lap of the bike, including Schoeman, Javier Gomez, Ben Kanute, Trent Thorpe and Tayler Reid. But the hard-working chase group caught up with them and the majority of the field came together fairly quickly.

Throughout the four-lap 20km bike a few athletes tried to make a break. While Tony Dodds' effort wasn’t successful, Australia’s Ryan Fisher did make his stick until the second transition. But his 16-second lead wasn’t quite enough to hold off the men behind him.

After overtaking Fisher, it was a group of five that made a break, including Jacob Birtwhistle, Gomez, Alarza and Murray. Birtwhistle dropped off the back with just under 2km to go, and then shortly afterwards Mola and Murray made their move. Murray finished strongly for second, but said he left it all out on the course.

“I think it is almost compared to Rio, I gave everything I could and Mario was like a surging machine out there, like a car going in sport mode every twenty seconds! But I responded as much as I could and then I was on the rivet for maybe the last u-turn all the way back near transition and I stayed with him a few times but I did all I could,” Murray said.

“I like to bring it and go flat out from the gun. I was very happy with my swim, I looked back towards that and I might be unhappy coming second tomorrow and I raced last weekend, but I gave it everything that I could and I can’t ask for more.”

The medal for Alarza continued his strong start to the season, after fourth in Abu Dhabi.

“I am very happy with the bronze medal, the race was very hard, very hard,” Alarza said. “Mario held on for the whole 5k in the first position and for me in the third kilometre I was dead. I was with Javi but finally I won and I am happy with that.”

Gomez's fourth finish was enough for him to retain the World Triathlon Series leader title, while Birtwhistle’s fifth place meant he locked in an automatic qualification spot for the Australian team at next year’s Commonwealth Games. Behind him was another Australian in Luke Willian, who won last month’s Mooloolaba Cup, who recorded a sixth in his first WTS start.

Results: ITU WTS Gold Coast

Elite Men

1. Mario Mola (ESP) 0:52:35
2. Richard Murray (RSA) 0:52:39
3. Fernando Alarza (ESP) 0:52:44
4. Javier Gomez Noya (ESP) 0:52:51
5. Jacob Birtwhistle (AUS) 0:53:03
6. Luke Willian (AUS) 0:53:08
7. Ryan Sissons (NZL) 0:53:08
8. Henri Schoeman (RSA) 0:53:11
9. Wian Sullwald (RSA) 0:53:11
10. Shachar Sagiv (ISR) 0:53:14
Plus NZers
12. Daniel Hoy (NZL) 0:53:20
15. Tony Dodds (NZL) 0:53:33
26. Tayler Reid (NZL) 0:54:07
29. Trent Thorpe (NZL) 0:54:18
38. Sam Ward (NZL) 0:57:26