ITU Abu Dhabi: Gwensanity Continues; Mola Runs Away

Men’s Race

Abu Dhabi kicked off the 2015 World Series with the elite men leaving it all down to the 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, 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.”

Dropped in the Water

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 lost time on the swim.

Running for Dough

TRS Radio guest, Richard Murray, 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 km run.

Despite sustaining a glute (ass) 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. Tri-excuse has been notified.

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 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.

Womens’s Race

No surprise here. Gwen Jorgensen won pretty easily. Jorgensen left the water 35 seconds down on the leaders, and then stepped onto the run course around one minute down. Soon, she took the lead from Bermuda’s Flora Duffy with about 1.5km to go and pushed further ahead to win comfortably, in a time of 58 minutes and 59 seconds. Her run split was 15 minutes and 57 seconds.

The title is her third World Triathlon Series sprint title. Of eight WTS sprint distance races, Jorgensen is the only woman to have won more than one. Overall, it is Jorgensen’s ninth World Triathlon Series win, and continuing on a streak that started last year, her sixth World Triathlon Series win in a row.

“I was shocked by how fast I ran,” Jorgensen said straight after the race. “…I’ve had some good run sessions but I didn’t know I was running that well…you can’t give up until the finish line, that’s something I’ve learned.”

Behind her Katie Zaferes (Hursey), finally broke her bad streak of World Triathlon Series luck. She did not credit her success to her recent marriage to pun-master and Dark Mark man crush, Tommy Zaferes. While a multiple World Cup winner, Zaferes had struggled to transfer that to series races, with mechanical issues and injuries the main culprits, but did so in fine form in Abu Dhabi.

“This has been my goal since I’ started triathlon so to finally achieve it I’m pretty stoked,” she said.

TRS Radio patron, Sarah True tucked herself into strong position with the lead swim pack. Together, a small group of 11 women took off for the four-lap bike with a small but important distance from a dangerous chase that contained reigning World Champion Jorgensen and third-ranked Andrea Hewitt.

Bike Tactics

Despite the likes of Haug and Hewitt pulling the chase, with strong cyclists Duffy and Lisa Norden at the helm of lead bike pack, there was little opportunity for the chase to decrease their deficit. Though it initially appeared like they had, the gap to the chase pack was just 14 seconds after the first 5km lap, but it didn’t remain that way.

Just after the halfway point Norden, Duffy and Lucy Hall decided to make a break off the front. That pushed the pace of those immediately behind them, as Jerdonek and Zaferes bridged up to join them. By the 15km mark the pressure piled on by this group meant the large chase group was pushed back to 40 seconds again, and just over a minute at the second transition.

Other Notable Performances

Lindsey Jerdonek continued her good form from last season, following up a fifth in Stockholm with sixth in Abu Dhabi. Fortunately, she is better at triathlon than her significant other, Kevin Collington, is at podcast interviews.

Australia’s Charlotte McShane recorded her best ever WTS result with seventh.

NOTE: Much of this info comes from a press release issued by World Triathlon.  

About the Author

BH is Publisher of TRS Triathlon and host of TRS Radio.