Vincent Luis of France won the Grand Final and took silver in the WTS World Championship standings while his training partner, Mario Mola of Spain, took silver on the day and gold for in the 2018 World Triathlon Series season standings – his third straight ITU World Championship.
Luis led the swim in 18:32, survived a crash on the bike and finished in the front chase pack with Mola. The Frenchman earned the victory with a race-best 29:44 10-kilometer run that brought him to the line in 1:44:34 with a 14 seconds margin of victory over Mola, who closed with a 29:55 run.
Luis thus won $30,000 for his second consecutive WTS Grand Final and $57,300 for placing second in the 2018 WTS season standings.
Luis was delighted with his repeat WTS Grand Final gold and runner-up in the 2018 overall Series: “I didn’t expect that," he told ITU media. "I felt good in the run and I thought ‘Why not attack? I’m third in the world, I have nothing to lose’. Plus, if I have to finish second to anyone, I’m happy it is Mario.”
Of greater historical significance, Mola won his third straight WTS World Championship, leading the season standings with 6081 points – 1,021 ahead of Luis. Of the WTS races he counted toward his season total, Mola won Yokohama, Hamburg, Edmonton, Montreal and took 2nd at Abu Dhabi, Leeds and the Gold Coast. The season-long series victory earned the Spaniard $83,500, on top of $22,000 for his Grand Final runner-up.
Mola, the 28-year-old triathlon superstar, said he was gratified to prevail for the year. “I have a lot of feelings,” he told ITU media. “It has been a great season and finishing with a second place behind my training partner – it was a great race. I’ll try to make it four in a row next year and it’s in my hands to come back next year and be better.”
With his 3 straight ITU World Championship, Mola ties Javier Gomez who won ITU World Championships in 2013, 2014 and 2015. As far as his standing in men’s career overall ITU Olympic category World Championships, Mola now stands behind Gomez who has five (2008, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015) Simon Lessing with four (1992, 1995, 1996, 1998) and tied with Peter Robertson with three (2001, 2003, 2005).
When asked what he felt about matching fellow Spaniard Javier Gomez’s hat-trick of world titles, Mola told ITU media: “Javier is an inspiration to me my whole career, someone I always look up to and who has set the path for all Spanish athletes. But I never imagined having three titles. I have to thank my coach [Joel Filliol] for the last five or six years and my girlfriend [Carolina Routier] - they have been there and created a perfect environment to keep me happy and going.”
Fighting choppy water, Luis and Richard Varga led the swim in equal 18:32 splits with Henri Schoeman of South Africa at 18:33 and Jonathan Brownlee of Great Britain in 18:39 in close pursuit.
A few weeks after his 2nd place finish at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship, two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time Olympic distance ITU World champion Alistair Brownlee had a bad day. He was disqualified for swimming on the wrong side of a swim buoy.
On the 8-lap, 40-kilometer ride, Luis, Schoeman, Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, Brownlee, Dorian Coninx of France and Marten Van Riel of Belgium rode to the front. Early on the ride, Van Riel and Luis fell and quickly got back up. On the final lap, Van Riel and Blummenfelt opened a 35 seconds gap. But in the final kilometer, Van Riel suffered a dropped a chain and entered T2 28 seconds behind Blummenfelt. Murray, Luis, Mola, Brownlee and Jacob Birtwhistle of Australia arrived seconds later.
After the first 2.5 kilometer lap, Schoeman and Mola sliced Blummenfelt’s lead to 17 seconds. Halfway through the run, Mola and Luis joined Blummenfelt at the front while Schoeman, Murray and Pierre Le Corre were next in line with Brownlee and Birtwhistle 7th and 8th.
When the bell rang for the final lap, Luis dropped Mola and Murray. Luis closed with a 29:44 run that brought him to the line in 1:44:34 with a 14 seconds margin of victory over Mola and 22 seconds over 3rd place Murray (30:08 run).
WTS Grand Final
Gold Coast, Australia
September 16, 2018
S 1.5k / B 40k / R 10k
1. Vincent Luis (FRA) 1:44:34 S 18:32 T1 00:42 B 55:13 T2 00:25 R 29:44 - $30,000
2. Mario Mola (ESP) 1:44:48 S 19:12 T1 00:39 B 54:39 T2 00:24 R 29:55 - $22,000
3. Richard Murray (RSA) 1:44:56 S 19:28 T1 00:36 B 54:23 T2 00:23 R 30:08 - $16,000
4. Pierre Le Corre (FRA) 1:45:01 S 18:41 T1 00:44 B 55:04 T2 00:21 R 30:14 - $12,000
5. Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) 1:45:04 S 19:09 T1 00:41 B 54:03 T2 00:23 R 30:51 - $9,800
6. Henri Schoeman (RSA) 1:45:06 S 18:33 T1 00:40 B 55:16 T2 00:21 R 30:18 - $8,000
7. Jacob Birtwhistle (AUS) 1:45:46 S 19:04 T1 00:35 B 54:48 T2 00:21 R 31:00 - $6,400
8. Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) 1:45:51 S 18:39 T1 00:40 B 55:09 T2 00:21 R 31:03 - $5,200
9. Marten Van Riel (BEL) 1:45:56 S 18:43 T1 00:38 B 54:58 T2 00:22 R 31:17 R 31:17 - $4,100
10. Tyler Mislawchuk (CAN) 1:45:57 S 18:54 T1 00:39 T1 54:57 T2 00:24 R 31:05 - $3,500
16. Eli Hemming (USA) 1:46:38
41. Morgan Pearson (USA) 1:50:44
DNF Matthew McElroy (USA),
DQ Alistair Brownlee (GBR)
2018 World Triathlon Series final points standings
1. Mario Mola (ESP) 6081 - $83,500
2. Vincent Luis (FRA) 5060 - $57,300
3. Jacob Birtwhistle (AUS) 4884 - $39,200
4. Richard Murray (RSA) 4792 - $26,150
5. Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) 3936 - $21,250
6. Fernando Alarza (ESP) 3520 - $18,750
7. Henri Schoeman (RSA) 3438 - $16,300
8. Pierre Le Corre (FRA) 3215 - $13,750
9. Tyler Mislawchuk (CAN) 3194 - $12,500
10. Marten Van Riel (BEL) 2960 - $11,900
11. Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) 2873 - $11,300.