Jonathan Brownlee back on top in Edmonton
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Two-time Olympic medallist Jonathan Brownlee returned to the ITU World Triathlon Series podium for the first time in more than a year when he won World Triathlon Edmonton over a sprint distance course on Sunday.
In the final race before the Grand Final, the win pulled him within 235 points of Edmonton silver medallist Mario Mola in the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings, meaning the battle for the world title will be furious in Cozumel in two weeks’ time.
Despite battling illness before Edmonton, Richard Murray managed to hang tough the entire race for bronze.
“It hasn’t really changed much, it’s all about Mario in Cozumel now,” Brownlee said of how his finish affect the hunt for a World Championship title. “It’s a good result, but it’s all up to Cozumel. Hopefully he’ll (Alistair) help on the swim and bike, we’ll see what kind of shape he’s in. But ya it’ll make a big difference.”
Richard Varga kicked off the day with a splash, leaving the competition in his wake when he secured a sizeable lead out of the one-lap 750m swim. Training partner Jonathan Brownlee followed Varga out of the water next, along with Aaron Royle (AUS0, Matthew Sharpe (CAN) and Matthew Roberts (AUS).
But it was only Varga, Brownlee and Royle that blasted through the first transition in top form, dropping Sharpe and Roberts for an early break on the four-lap 20km bike.
Behind them, Murray made it out of T1 in fourth position 20 seconds back, while Columbia Threadneedle rankings leader Mario Mola suffered a 40-second deficit out of the swim.
However, a determined Murray motivated his group to cut the gap to the leaders down to 12 seconds midway through the bike, while Mola managed to bridge his group up to the chase with two bike laps to go.
Although the chase inched within six seconds of the leading trio into T2, a slow transition from Mola meant Brownlee had the opportunity to jut out ahead on the first of three run legs. He quickly put 10 seconds between himself & the chase.
It was a pivotal point in the race, as Brownlee blasted away, and never slowed down. Although Mola pulled himself back into second position by the second lap, it wasn’t enough to shut Brownlee down, as the Olympic silver medallist increased his lead to 18 seconds onto the bell lap.
From there, it was Brownlee’s race to win, which he did by 16 seconds. Behind him, training teammates Murray and Mola went shoulder to shoulder until Mola unleashed his speed on the last half of the last lap. Murray, who was sick with flu entering Edmonton, took bronze.
“Unfortunately my swim wasn’t good today. I had a bit of a fight there, but I tried to survive, I saw where I was and thought ‘we’re going to have to work,’ which we did,” Mola said. “Then I found the energy to come second today, Richard was very strong. Now it’s time to look at the math and see what we have to do and try to achieve our best result in Cozumel.”
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