Great Britain’s Alistair Brownlee showed his tactical strength to break away on the bike then hang on for the 10K run to win the ITU WTS Grand Final Edmonton, his fourth Grand Final victory. Spain’s Javier Gomez, ranked No.1 in the world going into the race, was crowned ITU world champion for the fourth time with his third-place finish. Fellow Spaniard Mario Mola finished second in the Grand Final as well as silver in the world, while former world champion Jonathan Brownlee finished the season with the bronze after his fourth-place Grand Final finish.
Richard Varga (SVK) led out of the two-lap swim with Alistair in third, Gomez swimming in the top 10 and Jonathan swimming just a few seconds back. Alistair lost his goggles and swim cap during the swim, but still held onto his position. Once on the bike, Alistair quickly shot to the front of the lead pack of 21 men, which had all the top contenders—Mola, Jonny Brownlee and Gomez. Alistair tried to break away multiple times, but he didn’t have success until the fifth lap. “I went in with a plan really to try and distance Jonny from Javier if possible, to give him a shot at winning the world title,” Alistair said after the race. “That didn’t work out the first couple of laps, so then I just had to go it myself, and get that little breakaway and I got very lucky to get that gap.”
The chase pack had pulled within about 10 seconds from the back of the lead group by the end of the fourth lap, right as Alistair, Reinaldo Colucci (BRA) and Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) were pulling away. During that fifth 5.3K lap, the breakaway group built an incredible 58-second lead over the rest of the field, and 1:26 by the time they started the run.
Many expected the race to come down to the a showdown on the run between the Brownlee brothers, Gomez and Mola for the Grand Final victory, but it turned into the 2012 Olympic champion pretty much having the race in the bag by the start of the 10K run, and the question was who would take the world champion crown. Out of T2, Gomez, Mola and Jonny Brownlee stuck to each others’ shoulders and remained that way through the first three of four laps. Jonny Brownlee was dropped on the bell lap, and while Mola and Gomez gained on Alistair, he still won by a 20-second margin in a time of 1:48:44. Mola finished second, Gomez third and Jonny fourth—all within 38 seconds of each other.
Gomez, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist, has won four WTS races this season (Auckland, Cape Town, Yokohama and Chicago), but last weekend DNF’ed in Stockholm because of a stomach bug. That made the battle for the overall series much closer between him and Jonny, so his primary goal today was staying ahead of Jonny. “The bike was very tactical—different than other races,” Gomez said. “There were two races, you know, for the title and for the race. And when Alistair broke away, I knew this was not my war this time—I had to control Jonathan, and that’s what I did.” Gomez has raced every WTS race this season, and will be racing at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship next weekend in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada.
Alistair, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist, was battling injury the early part of the season, so going into the race, he was ranked sixth in the overall series. “It would have been great to be in the running for the world series, but I wasn’t, and I made the most of it I think,” Alistair said. He’s starting to show signs of his previous unstoppable form since June, when he won the WTS race in Hamburg, then followed it up with a Commonwealth Games gold medal in July and a runner-up finish in Stockholm last weekend. “Hopefully if I can have a good winter, I’ll be at my best for next year,” he said.
U.S. fans were also excited to see both Americans finish in the top 20—Jarrod Shoemaker ran his way to a seventh-place finish, his best WTS finish since 2010, and Joe Maloy finish in 17th place. “It’s been a good year,” Shoemaker said. “It hasn’t looked good, but it’s been a nice slow build. Neal [Henderson, his coach] and I knew that if we kept working, I was going to get where I needed to get, and I’m super happy.” Shoemaker’s wife and fellow pro triathlete, Alicia Kaye, placed second at the Hy-Vee Elite Cup today, which has the largest prize purse in Olympic-distance racing. “It’s a good day for my family,” Shoemaker said.
2014 ITU World Triathlon Series Edmonton
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada – Aug. 31, 2014
1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run
1. Alistair Brownlee (ESP) 1:48:44
2. Mario Mola (ESP) 1:49:04
3. Javier Gomez (ESP) 1:49:07
4. Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) 1:49:22
5. Joao Pereira (POR) 1:49:44
6. Crisanto Grajales (MEX) 1:49:48
7. Jarrod Shoemaker (USA) 1:49:50
8. Joao Silva (POR) 1:49:55
9. Dmitry Polyanskiy (RUS) 1:50:19
10. Reinaldo Colucci (BRA) 1:50:29
Final 2014 Threadneedle ITU World Triathlon Series Rankings
1. Javier Gomez Noya (ESP) 4860
2. Mario Mola (ESP) 4601
3. Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) 4501
4. Alistair Brownlee (GBR) 4006
5. Joao Pereira (POR) 3817
6. Vincent Luis (FRA) 3148
7. Dmitry Polyanskiy (RUS) 3041
8. Richard Murray (RSA) 2911
9. Ryan Bailie (AUS) 2165
10. Aaron Royle (AUS) 2064