Spain’s Javier Gomez has won his third straight World Triathlon Championship, finishing second behind countryman Mario Mola in the ITU World Triathlon Series finale on Saturday.
Gomez and Mola traded the lead several times on the final lap of the run until Mola made a final move and outkicked Gomez over the final few hundred meters at Grant Park in downtown Chicago.
Mola finished the 1,500-metre swim in Lake Michigan, 40-kilometre bike ride and 10-kilometre run in 1 hour, 44 minutes, 53 seconds, coming in just 4 seconds ahead of Gomez.
“I surged pretty fast and said, ‘I’m going to give everything now and see what happens,'” Gomez said.
“But he was a bit stronger in the last 300 meters,” Gomez said about Mola. “I just couldn’t beat him. He was faster today.”
But by that point in the race, with the two of them well out in front of the rest of the field, Gomez knew he had the title.
“I was happy with my title in my pocket when I was running shoulder by shoulder with him,” Gomez said. “I still tried to win the race, but he was just stronger today and I’m happy with the second and happy with my fifth world title.”
Gomez is the first man to win three straight Triathlon World Championships and five overall. He also won in 2010 and 2008, making him the sport’s dominant man in recent years.
“I think I will need some time and probably some years to understand what I’ve done,” Gomez said. “It’s something that is amazing and I’m really proud of my career. I hope it’s not the last one.”
Gomez says he will focus now on the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He has never won an Olympic gold medal.
South Africa’s Richard Murray finished third, 42 seconds after the pace-setters.
Mola finished second in the series standings. France’s Vincent Luis was third.
The top Australian finisher on Saturday was Aaron Royle in seventh, while Ryan Ballie finished the championship in sixth.