Mario Mola stamped his authority on the Chicago Grand Final and was world runner-up for the second time.
Murray finished third, as Luis did in the World Series ranking.
By Alberto Trillo | Photos: Delly Carr - ITU Media
[Click here to read Spanish and Galician]
“‘When I saw that it was just the two of us, I knew I had the title in the bag and I relaxed.”‘ Even so, as always, nothing was ever enough for Gómez Noya and he pressed Mario Mola again and again in his attempt to put the finishing touch to a historic day in his career as an athlete and in this three-in-one sport.
“‘Pressure? I’ve spent nine years facing this situation, I have experience and was confident I’d win.”‘ For the ninth year running, Gómez Noya crossed the finishing line to climb the world triathlon podium. It was his fifth title. A world record. His third world series crown on the trot. Something nobody had done before. With clockwork precision, as reliable as they come in a sport that has more variables than most. Gómez Noya is simply one of a kind, impossible to describe except by his own name, as the only true epithet of himself.
“It will take some time for what I’ve achieved today to sink in.” In the trophy ceremony, Gómez Noya was smiling but restrained, emotional but serene, relieved and fulfilled, calm and satisfied. Happy. Yet his eyes were bright with ambition – healthy but overflowing ambition. The very thing that has fanned the flames of motivation at the difficult times in his career. The thing that has enabled him to maintain that level of concentration, competitive spirit and adaptability in a career as long as it has been prolific. The Galician athlete ends another successful chapter in his legend: the record is his. When he gets up tomorrow, he’ll begin another chapter: the quest to become Olympic champion.
Mola, world runner-up
“[Javi] is the greatest triathlete ever, it’s such an honour to race against him.” Mola surrendered with his usual humility to the king of triathlon after ending the season as he’d begun it: by winning. He bowed to Gómez Noya after breaking the finishing tape. He had piled on the pressure with a swim that put him in the lead in the early stages of the race. If Mola could maintain that consistency in the water, things would be very different. Time will tell. There was a coolness that he lacked on other occasions to keep at bay the final onslaught in the run from the very man who was about to be crowned five-times world champion. Runner-up once more, the Majorcan awaits his turn, which everything suggests will someday arrive. For now, this year makes it three in a row on the world podium.
“My hero is Gómez Noya.” That was Richard Murray’s candid statement, ending the season with an outstanding performance after finding himself a minute behind the race leader on the bike. Hesitation and constant pauses between anarchic attacks lacking strategy gave the South African a chance to get himself into the race, and not without difficulty, end the season with a smile, despite falling just short of the World Series podium.
That place fell to Vincent Luis, third in the world ranking, fifth in the Grand Final. The Frenchman was the best strategist of the year and he cemented his place on the podium with his performances over the sprint distance – leaving open the debate about his suitability to crown the best triathlete in the world over Olympic distance – and with his competitive efficiency.
A very long World Series has come to an end after 10 races full of permutations, with the notable absence of the Brownlees and with a name that has gone down in triathlon history: Javier Gómez Noya, five-time world champion.
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