Two-time WTS defending World Champion Mario Mola of Spain increased his formidable season points lead with a come-from-behind run to top Kristian Blummenfelt of Norway by 2 seconds for the win at WTS Edmonton.
Mola needed every bit of his race-best 14:25 5 kilometer run to wrest the lead from Blummenfelt, who surged ahead of Mola twice on the bell lap before surrendering to the swift-footed Spaniard in the stretch.
Mola finished in 51:15 with a 2 seconds margin on the Norwegian who finished 2nd at the 2017 WTS Grand Final in Rotterdam and 7 seconds ahead of 3red place finisher Jacob Birtwhistle of Australia .
Mola’s victory comes after WTS wins at Yokohama and Hamburg, 2nd places at Abu Dhabi and Leeds and a 4th at Bermuda which gives him a season total of 4850 points and a formidable lead of 1040 points over runner[up Vincent Luis of France and 1605 over 3rd place Jacob Birtwhistle of Australia.
Mola adopted a modest stance regarding his big points lead and paid tribute to Blummenfelt for a fierce battle at Edmonton. “Kristian gave me one of the toughest runs,” Mola told ITU media. “Every time I go out I try to race my best, and he made me work. Maybe it was harder than it looked. This race is another step forward. But until I cross the finish line in the Grand Final in the Gold Coast in next couple weeks, the race towards the World Championships is not over.”
“I thought I had a chance on the run,” Blummenfelt told ITU media. “I couldn’t stay behind him (Mola) so I had to try and kick up the pace.”
Behind Blummenfelt were a pack of top runners including last week’s WTS winner Vincent Luis of France, Jonathan Brownlee of Great Britain, Fernando Alarza of Spain, and Australian Jacob Birtwhistle, who broke away in the final 500 meters of the run to finish with a 14:29 run split. taking third place and his third WTS podium this season.
“I knew it wasn’t over until I crossed that line,” Birtwhistle told ITU media. “I wasn’t given a big gap at the end, but I had to try to use my kick. I would rather use it to challenge for the win, but today I had to try to use it for the podium. There is so much that can happen, even in a sprint, it isn’t over until we cross that line.”
World Triathlon Series Edmonton
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
July 27, 2018
S 750m / B 20k / R 5k
1. Mario Mola (ESP) 51:15
2. Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) 51:18
3. Jacob Birtwhistle (AUS) 51:22
4. Fernando Alarza (ESP) 51:24
5. Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) 51:25
6. Vincent Luis (FRA) 51:30
7. Marten Van Riel (BEL) 51:59
8. Richard Murray (RSA) 52:06
9. Andreas Schilling (DEN) 52:10
10. Sam Ward (NZL) 52:13
20. Kevin McDowell (USA) 52:55
35. Tony Smoragiewicz (USA) 54:27
DNF Eli Hemming (USA)