South Africa’s Richard Murray has upped his game once again with a superb second in the ITU World Triathlon Series in London to follow up his third in Yokohama, Japan.
Murray’s race came down to a close sprint with Mario Mola from Spain, who won the race over the 750m swim, 20km and 5km run format in 49 minutes, 47 seconds. Murray was given the same time. Joao Pereira from Portugal was third in 49.49.
It was Mola’s first WTS win and Murray’s best performance since his second place at San Diego in 2013. It’s been more than 18 months since a man other than Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee or Javier Gomez has topped a World Triathlon Series podium. Mola’s victory also brought to an end the best winning streak in WTS history for Gomez, who had been unbeaten since last year’s Grand Final – four events.
With the shorter distances it was always going to be a race with big groups. There was a gap of a few seconds between the front group and Murray’s group with the start of the 20km-bike. By the third lap the gap was closed and coming into transition the group was 54 riders big. Soon eight selected runners took the lead in the 5km. Gomez dropped pretty soon and could not get back. Alistair Brownlee was very aggressive and with a kilometer to go he was in the lead, but Murray then upped his pace. But like the Mooloolaba World Cup race in Australia earlier in the year, Mola once again got the better of Murray in the sprint.
“What happened today is good for the sport and good for the spectators. I have big respect for the Brownlees and they are great athletes, but change is also good. In that final kilometer or two of the run I told myself to hold back when Alistair attacked and then in the final stretch I gave it my all. I even thought I had it for a moment and then Mario came flying past! I am super stoked with second place though,” said Murray.
The South African is now fourth on the world rankings with 2011 points. Gomez (2942) is still in the lead followed by Jonathan Brownlee (2652) and Mola (2637). The next WTS race is in Chicago on 29 June. Murray’s next race is the French Grand Prix in Valence on 8 June.