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

30

Mar

2019

HITS Ocala

Ocala, FL, United States

Website Google Map YouTube

13

Apr

2019

HITS Napa Valley

Napa Valley, CA, United States

Website Google Map YouTube

14

Apr

2019

Strongman

Miyakojima, Okinawa, Japan

Website Google Map

27

Apr

2019

Challenge Taiwan

Taitung City, Taiwan, China

Website Google Map YouTube

04

May

2019

ITU LD World Champs

pontevedra, Spain

Website Google Map YouTube

12

May

2019

Crystal Coast Full Booty

Beaufort, NC, United States

Website Google Map

17

May

2019

Enduroman

Christchurch, United Kingdom

Website Google Map

18

May

2019

Ironcat

I`Ampolla, Spain

Website Google Map

25

May

2019

Balatonman Kenese

Balatonkenese, Hungary

Website Google Map

01

Jun

2019

Pirene Xtreme

Cellers, Lleida, Spain

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

07

Apr

2019

Ironman African Championship

Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Website Google Map YouTube

27

Apr

2019

Ironman Texas

The Woodlands, Texas, United States

Website Google Map

05

May

2019

Ironman Australia

Port Macquarie, Australia

Website Google Map YouTube

11

May

2019

Ironman Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa, California, United States

Website Google Map

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 Boulder

Boulder, CO, United States

Website Google Map

09

Jun

2019

Ironman Cairns

Cairns, Australia

Website Google Map YouTube

23

Jun

2019

Ironman Ireland

Cork, Ireland

Website Google Map YouTube

30

Jun

2019

Ironman Norway

Haugesund, Norway

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

31

Mar

2019

Sufferfest Murray Bridge

Murray Bridge, Australia

Website Google Map

06

Apr

2019

Half Triatlon De Sevilla

Seville, Spain

Website Google Map

07

Apr

2019

Challenge Salou Costa Daurada

Salou, Spain

Website Google Map YouTube

14

Apr

2019

Challenge Melbourne

Melbourne, Australia

Website Google Map

14

Apr

2019

Portocolom International

Mallorca, Spain

Website Google Map YouTube

14

Apr

2019

Setubal Triathlon

Setubal, Portugal

Website Google Map

21

Apr

2019

Cannes International

Cannes, France

Website Google Map

21

Apr

2019

Challenge Cerrado

Brasilia, Brazil

Website Google Map

27

Apr

2019

Challenge Taiwan

Taitung City, Taiwan, Province of China

Website Google Map YouTube

27

Apr

2019

Chia Sardinia Tri

Sardinia, Italy

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

24

Mar

2019

70.3 Taiwan

Kenting, Taiwan, China

Website Google Map YouTube

24

Mar

2019

70.3 Davao

Davao, Philippines

Website Google Map YouTube

06

Apr

2019

70.3 Oceanside

Oceanside, California, United States

Website Google Map

07

Apr

2019

70.3 Texas

Galveston Island, Texas, United States

Website Google Map

07

Apr

2019

70.3 Punta del Este

Maldonado, Uruguay

Website Google Map

13

Apr

2019

70.3 Liuzhou

Liuzhou, China

Website Google Map

14

Apr

2019

70.3 Florida

Haines City, Florida, United States

Website Google Map

14

Apr

2019

70.3 Greece

Costa Navarino, Greece

Website Google Map

21

Apr

2019

70.3 Peru

Lima, Peru

Website Google Map YouTube

28

Apr

2019

70.3 Florianopolis

Florianopolis, Brazil

Website Google Map

Triathlon News & Media Blogs View all

Wurtele and Weiss Capture Wins in Campeche

Wurtele and Weiss Capture Wins in Campeche

Monday 18 Mar 2019 [Triathlon News]

The men’s race was a real scrap between former IRONMAN world champion Frederik Van Lierde (BEL), Michael Weiss (AUT), Pieter Heemeryck (DEU), Ben Hoffman (USA), and Michel Gonsalez (MEX) throughout in the swim and the early portions of the bike. Van Lierde took control in the first of two loops of the bike and shattered the chase group behind him. more

Canada’s Tyler Mislawchuk earns first World Cup win in Mooloolaba

Canada’s Tyler Mislawchuk earns first World Cup win in Mooloolaba

Sunday 17 Mar 2019 [Triathlon News]

The coastline of Queensland, set in Australia, was the stage for the 2019 elite men’s Mooloolaba ITU Triathlon World Cup. A stacked field of 67-men lined up to take on the sprint distance race format, featuring a 750m ocean swim, 20km technical bike course and 5km hilly run. Conditions cooled down considerably as the elite men took to the stage and hit the water for the first portion of their race. more

A maiden win in Mooloolaba for Australia’s Ashleigh Gentle

A maiden win in Mooloolaba for Australia’s Ashleigh Gentle

Saturday 16 Mar 2019 [Triathlon News]

Queensland’s Mooloolaba Main beach set the scene for the start of the 2019 elite women’s Mooloolaba ITU Triathlon World Cup. Conditions were typical for Queensland being hot and humid however the surf was not favourable for those hoping to catch a few waves back into shore. more

Hoffman/van Lierde, Wurtele/Corbin headline 70.3 Campeche Mexico

Hoffman/van Lierde, Wurtele/Corbin headline 70.3 Campeche Mexico

Friday 15 Mar 2019 [Triathlon News]

For the third edition of this fantastic event, athlete’s will be starting by the afternoon and finishing the race by sunset or even night, running in a fresh weather with the moon and the stars above. The 1.2 mile (1.9km) single-loop swim takes place in the protected water of the Gulf of Mexico. The rolling start swim start will take place at the Campeche Country Club Marina. more

Australia sets the scene for the next stop of the ITU World Cup tour

Australia sets the scene for the next stop of the ITU World Cup tour

Friday 15 Mar 2019 [Triathlon News]

For the 17th consecutive year, Queensland, Australia, will play host to the second stop of the ITU World Cup tour in Mooloolaba. With athletes vying for valuable Olympic points, the start list for the 2019 ITU Mooloolaba World Cup is stacked, with the best triathletes on the circuit motivated to produce podium performances. The sprint distance race format, staged in Mooloolaba, is renowned for being tough, scenic and a spectacle for the crowds, which line the coastal course. more

Twitter


Facebook


YouTube


Sign up for FREE NEWSLETTER:

We will never share your email address or spam you.