Mario Mola begins title defence in style with assured win at WTS Abu Dhabi

Friday 08 March 2019
Defending ITU World Champion Mario Mola made the most of near-perfect conditions at Yas Marina to take the tape at WTS Abu Dhabi and begin the 2019 season with the kind of majestic display to which we have become accustomed. Great Britain’s Alex Yee impressed hugely on his WTS debut, sticking with Mola for much of the run to grab a brilliant silver, Spain’s Fernando Alarza summoning a powerful finish for the bronze.

“I had to dig deep there,” said Mola afterwards, “but I knew that if I was strong it would be a good fight. It was great to have a first battle against Alex and to have the new generation coming up, I know how good Alex is. There were some tricky corners and a few crashes right in front of me and it definitely wasn’t easy, but I’m really happy with that win.”

All of the ten top-ranked male athletes of 2018 took to the start line, but it was once again Richard Varga (SVK) who took up position at the front of the swim early on along with Alois Knabl (AUT). Behind them the pack’s arrow formation made the first buoy a major test for the bulk of the field and while it began to stretch out, Vincent Luis (FRA) and Henri Schoeman (RSA) were able to keep themselves in the front eight along with Ben Kanute (USA) Sam Ward (NZL), with Mola (ESP) well set in the middle.

 
Luis had worked his way to the front by the end of the 750m swim, emerging with his thoughts firmly on a clean transition and it was the Frenchman first onto the bike along with Kanute and Schoeman. Some six seconds behind that trio, a pack of twelve was giving chase and, after initially struggling to get themselves organised, Matthew Sharpe (CAN) and Marten van Riel (BEL) led the effort to close down the leaders so that after 3km, a train of 15 athletes had formed.

Jumpei Furuya (JPN) and Ryan Baillie (AUS) were among the athletes to come off at the first sharp turn of lap two, but the chase pack 11 seconds off the front was now a formidable group including Mola, Shachar Sagiv (ISR) and Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) along with debutant Alex Yee hoping to stay in touch and keep enough in the tank to deliver his trademark explosive run.

With two laps to go on the bike, Hayden Wilde (NZL) assumed the front with a solid train of more than 40 riders settling behind him, the big runners including Jacob Birtwhistle (AUS), Fernando Alarza, Vincent Luis and, of course, Mario Mola evenly spread among them.

 
Richard Murray (RSA) knew he would have to go easy on the tendon issue that had kept him from full running in pre-season, and he jockeyed to the front into T2 but it was Wilde still out front as the run got underway, Yee now 9 seconds off and well set alongside Luis, as Mola also looked to work through the field.

After a kilometre it was Wilde already stretching away to test a quartet of Schoeman, Sam Ward (NZL), Jonas Schomburg (GER) and Leo Bergere (FRA) now behind him, with the New Zealander looking very comfortable in his stride. Alex Yee and Vincent Luis then joined the chasers 5 second behind Wilde, before Yee made his move with 2km gone, just as Mola eased into position on the Brit’s shoulder.

 
At the halfway point, Yee closed in on and then passed Wilde, before Mola eased to the front with 1700m to go. The Brit looked unfazed and hung on the defending champions shoulder, while behind them Henri Schoeman was eyeing third.

 As the Kiwi almost inevitably blew up from that almighty early solo effort, it was to be Alarza who then closed down Wilde with 750m to go and also passed Schoeman, before a sprint finale saw Leo Bergere outsprint the South African, Luis and Ward to take fourth, Hayden Wilde eventually finishing 10th after a brilliant opening effort of the new season.
 

“Second is above and beyond what I expected,” said Alex Yee. “I came in just wanting this experience but training camp had gone well and I wanted to see how I went at this level, so I’m over the moon. These guys are my idols, ive watched them since I was practically a kid, and it is great just to race with them let alone to compete. There were hard times (after the 2017 crash) but you have to have a positive mind-set and get on with it, and I feel fortunate to be in this position.”

“I cannot describe how that feels,” said Spain’s Fernando Alarza. “I’ve had some personal issues the past year and had to work really hard. I had a beautiful daughter and this is for her and my family. The last kilometre was really hard but I was thinking of my baby and I got stronger. This could be the best season of my life and I will work hard for Tokyo.”

 
Results: Elite Men
1. Mario Mola ESP 00:52:00
2. Alex Yee GBR 00:52:03
3. Fernando Alarza ESP 00:52:12
4. Léo Bergere FRA 00:52:14
5. Vincent Luis FRA 00:52:15
by Doug Gray ITU Triathlon (Photo: James M. Schmidt/ITU Media)


Coming Triathlon Events View all

    Visit website Google Map Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Watch us on YouTube

25

May

2019

Balatonman Kenese

Balatonkenese, Hungary

Website Google Map

01

Jun

2019

Pirene Xtreme

Cellers, Lleida, Spain

Website Google Map YouTube

01

Jun

2019

FrenchMan

Hourtin, France

Website Google Map YouTube

01

Jun

2019

Wasserstadt Triathlon

Hannover-Limmer, Germany

Website Google Map

02

Jun

2019

UK Ultimate

Whitchurch, United Kingdom

Website Google Map YouTube

08

Jun

2019

AlpsMan

Annecy, France

Website Google Map YouTube

09

Jun

2019

Coastman

Tjeldstø, Norway

Website Google Map

15

Jun

2019

Diablak Beskid Extreme

Silesian and Zywiec Beskids, Poland

Website Google Map

15

Jun

2019

Celtman

Torridon, Scotland, United Kingdom

Website Google Map

15

Jun

2019

Schloss Triathlon Moritzburg

Moritzburg, Germany

Website Google Map YouTube
    Visit website Google Map Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Watch us on YouTube

25

May

2019

Ironman Lanzarote

Canary Islands, Spain

Website Google Map YouTube

26

May

2019

Ironman Florianopolis

Florianopolis, Brazil

Website Google Map

09

Jun

2019

Ironman Cairns

Cairns, Australia

Website Google Map YouTube

09

Jun

2019

Ironman Boulder

Boulder, CO, United States

Website Google Map

23

Jun

2019

Ironman Ireland

Cork, Ireland

Website Google Map YouTube

30

Jun

2019

Ironman Norway

Haugesund, Norway

Website Google Map YouTube

30

Jun

2019

Ironman France

Nice, France

Website Google Map YouTube

30

Jun

2019

Ironman Frankfurt

Frankfurt, Germany

Website Google Map YouTube

07

Jul

2019

Ironman Austria

Klagenfurt, Austria

Website Google Map YouTube

14

Jul

2019

Ironman UK

Bolton,, United Kingdom

Website Google Map YouTube
    Visit website Google Map Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Watch us on YouTube

26

May

2019

Garmin Iron Tri

Plock, Poland

Website Google Map YouTube

26

May

2019

Goose Pond Half

Scottsboro, Alabama, United States

Website Google Map

01

Jun

2019

Troika Half

Medical Lake, WA, United States

Website Google Map

01

Jun

2019

Slavic Wave

Pereyaslav city, Kiev region, Ukraine

Website Google Map

01

Jun

2019

IronStar 113

Sochi, Russian Federation

Website Google Map YouTube

02

Jun

2019

Big East

Bradwell Waterside, Essex, United Kingdom

Website Google Map

02

Jun

2019

Challenge Championship

x-bionic® sphere, Samorin, Slovakia

Website Google Map

02

Jun

2019

Oliver Half Tri

Oliver, BC, Canada

Website Google Map

08

Jun

2019

DeuceMan

Show Low, Arizona, United States

Website Google Map

08

Jun

2019

Wales Middle Tri

Fishguard, Wales, United Kingdom

Website Google Map
    Visit website Google Map Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Watch us on YouTube

26

May

2019

70.3 St. Polten

St. Pölten/Vienna, Austria

Website Google Map YouTube

26

May

2019

70.3 Jeju

Jeju, Korea, Republic of

Website Google Map

01

Jun

2019

70.3 Hawaii

Kohala Coast, Hawaii, United States

Website Google Map

02

Jun

2019

70.3 Switzerland

Lake of Zurich, Switzerland

Website Google Map YouTube

02

Jun

2019

70.3 Victoria

Victoria, BC, Canada

Website Google Map

02

Jun

2019

70.3 Kraichgau

Kraichgau, Germany

Website Google Map YouTube

02

Jun

2019

70.3 Subic Bay

Subic Bay, Philippines

Website Google Map YouTube

02

Jun

2019

70.3 Durban

Durban, South Africa

Website Google Map

02

Jun

2019

70.3 Connecticut

Middlebury, Connecticut, United States

Website Google Map

09

Jun

2019

70.3 Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin, United States

Website Google Map

Triathlon News & Media Blogs View all

Ruedi Wild, Elisabetta Curridori win CHALLENGE LISBOA

Ruedi Wild, Elisabetta Curridori win CHALLENGE LISBOA

Sunday 19 May 2019 [Triathlon News]

Under perfect conditions, Ruedi Wild and Elisabetta Curridori took the win at CHALLENGE LISBOA today. Wild showed his strength especially in the final kilometers when he surpassed Pablo Gonzalez Dapena. Curridori made the difference on the bike and didn't give away her comfortable lead anymore during the run. more

Osborne, Snyder win XTERRA Oak Mountain

Osborne, Snyder win XTERRA Oak Mountain

Sunday 19 May 2019 [Triathlon News]

Sam Osborne from Rotorua, New Zealand and Suzie Snyder from Reno, Nevada won the 14th annual XTERRA Oak Mountain off-road triathlon elite titles at Oak Mountain State Park in Shelby County, Alabama on Saturday, May 18, 2019 with winning times of 2:28:21 and 2:50:47, respectively. more

Dolores, Doring win XTERRA Malta

Dolores, Doring win XTERRA Malta

Sunday 19 May 2019 [Triathlon News]

Rui Dolores from Portugal and Maria Doring from Germany captured the fifth annual XTERRA Malta off-road triathlon elite titles with winning time of 2:24:39 and 3:16:33, respectively, on Saturday May 18, 2019 in Majjistral Nature Reserve. For Rui Dolores it was his first ever XTERRA World Tour win, and his best result since his 3rd place at XTERRA Portugal in 2018. The same for Maria Doring who was 11th in Cyprus this year and 9th at the 2018 XTERRA European Championship in Germany. more

Brownlee & Coldwell make it a day to remember for GB in Cagliari

Brownlee & Coldwell make it a day to remember for GB in Cagliari

Saturday 18 May 2019 [Triathlon News]

Two-time Olympic and World Champion Alistair Brownlee and compatriot Sophie Coldwell delivered two incredible performances in Cagliari to take the gold medals back to Great Britain. It was a first race over the sprint distance since 2015 for Brownlee, who was able to summon a final drop of power to out-sprint Justus Nieschlag (GER) to the tape. more

Zaferes leads a USA podium sweep in WTS Yokohama

Zaferes leads a USA podium sweep in WTS Yokohama

Saturday 18 May 2019 [Triathlon News]

With a dominant performance, American Katie Zaferes claims a hat trick in the 2019 World Triathlon Yokohama, with teammates Summer Rappaport and Taylor Spivey accompaniyng her in the podium in the fourth podium sweep for USA in the history of WTS. On a beautiful morning in Yokohama, the race started to unfold right when the elite women where taking their positions in the pontoon, with Katie Zaferes, wearing the golden number 1 swim cap, going to the left and the Brits and the other Americans hea more

Twitter


Facebook


YouTube


Sign up for FREE NEWSLETTER:

We will never share your email address or spam you.