Canadian triathlete Tyler Mislawchuk cracks top 10 in Montreal
Spain's Mario Mola claims 4th victory of season on ITU World Series circuit
Mario Mola took a big step toward a third straight world title by winning the Montreal Triathlon on Sunday.
The Spaniard, with his fourth win of the year, finished the 1.5-kilometre swim, 40 km cycle and 10 km run in one hour 47 minutes 36 seconds. He came in 16 seconds ahead of Kristian Blummenfelt of Norway and 42 ahead of third-place Jacob Birtwhistle of Australia.
Click on the video player below to watch Mola's brilliant performance:
The top Canadian was Tyler Mislawchuk of Winnipeg in eighth place.
Mola will take an 824-point lead over Birtwhistle into the Grand Final next month in Gold Coast, Australia, where the winner picks up 1,200 points.
"It's another step forward in the good direction but until you cross the finish line in the last race you don't know what's going to happen, so I'll train the best I can the next three weeks and hopefully be in the best shape possible on the Gold Coast," said Mola, whose win last month in Edmonton gave him a sweep of the two Canadian races.
After a strong swim, Mola was in the main cycling pack that came in 1:03 behind a lead group of four that included Blummenfelt and 21-year-old Charles Paquet of Port Cartier, Que., who was in his first top-level ITU race. Paquet ended up 29th.
Blummenfelt shot to the lead on the run, but Mola went on attack, quickly closing the gap and then overtaking the South African.
"I knew that Kristian was going to be very hard to beat today," said Mola. "Kristian played his cards very well and smartly, but today I felt good on the run and managed to make the gap smaller in the first two laps so that I could rest a bit in the third and try my best in the last ones.
'I'm just not running well'
"It worked out well. For someone who's been in front the whole race it's very difficult to sustain the energy and the speed."
It was Blummenfelt's third visit to Montreal. He won in 2016 when it was a lower-level World Cup event, then finished second both times it has been a World Series race.
"I'm just not running [well]," said Blummenfelt. "I knew he was coming from behind, especially on the first lap. I was hoping I would be able to keep pace with him."
Blummenfelt grinned when asked about having Paquet with him in the lead cycling group.
"He was saying, like, he's a junior and he should get a free pass in the group, but I told him 'no, you have to take your part of the work' and not just save his energy for the run," he said. "He wanted to just be in the pack and not do anything, but I managed to get him in the front.
"But it's always good for the local spectators to see locals racing well and being up front. It's important for the event."
Birtwhistle moved into second place in series standings, but will be a long shot to overtake Mola in the Grand Final.
"It was one of my best rounded races today — pretty good in the swim, bike and run," said Birtwhistle. "I'm happy to boost my points in the series. Second overall is a pretty good situation to be in heading home to Australia for the Grand Final. It's going to be quite cool."
Mislawchuk was sixth in Edmonton and got another top-10 finish in Montreal.
"I really dug deep and finished eighth, so I'm happy with it but you always want more as an athlete," said Mislawchuk. "I had a bad swim. I got beat up a bit. But the energy was fine as soon as I got on the bike."
It rained heavily before the start, but let up in time for a wet race that was treacherous on the bikes, particularly on turns and when crossing lines painted on the streets.
On Saturday, Vicky Holland of Britain won the women's race ahead of American Katie Zaferes, who leads Holland by only 34 points in ITU World Series standings heading into Gold Coast. Joanna Brown of Carp, Ont. finished fourth.