Javier Gomez cemented his position at the top of the World Triathlon Series standings, but had to settle for 2nd in Hamburg today as an inspired Vincent Luis of France had the race of his life to sprint his way to 1st place.
The race was over sprint distance (750m swim/20km bike/5km run) and as in the women’s race the swim was non-wetsuit due to the warm waters. Nobody was surprised to see super-swimmer Richard Varga (SVK) lead out into the first transition after a blistering 9:03 swim.
Favourite Gomez wasn’t far behind and a front group of 11 formed early on the bike, which also included Luis and Henri Schoeman (RSA). The chasing pack were only around 6 seconds behind after the first lap of the bike, with Joao Silva (POR) and another contender for the win Richard Murray (RSA) helping to push the pace.
Approaching the half way point on the bike the front group all stayed together and the lead had grown. A huge chase pack formed behind, and were around 30 seconds down going through lap 3. The only British entrants Mark Buckingham and European Games champion Gordon Benson were also both in the chasing pack.
11 became 9 going out onto the run, with Luis heading out first and Gomez a second behind. Aaron Royle (NZL) and Tommy Zafires (USA) also both made that top group.
Unsurprisingly Gomez broke away from the rest quickly, but Luis followed him and it looked like it was shaping up to be a two-horsed race after just the first kilometre of the 5km run.
Dorian Connix (FRA) took 3rd place from Aaron Royle on lap 2 of the run, but an inspired Mario Mola (ESP) was quickly catching them up.
Back at the front, Gomez and Luis were still going elbow-to-elbow with just over 1km to go – Luis looked the more comfortable of the two, but the relentless Gomez soldiered on and continued to make surges in an effort to break Luis down.
Vincent Luis celebrates winning WTS Hamburg
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In one of the most thrilling finishes of the World Triathlon Series 2015, Vincent Luis had the race of his life to break away with around 250m to go, and left Gomez to settle for 2nd. Mola impressively took 3rd place with the fastest 5km run split in the history of triathlon (13:55). This was confirmed by worldtriathlon.org.
Gordon Benson had a solid race finishing in 28th place, and Mark Buckingham was 32nd.
Gomez consolidated his lead at the top of the WTS standings after this race, but with both Brownlee brothers saving themselves for the final three stops on the tour and Vincent Luis hot on his heels, the winner of the 2015 Series could be very hard to call.
Results – WTS Hamburg elite men
Vincent Luis (FRA) 51:54
Javier Gomez Noya (ESP) 51:58
Mario Mola (ESP) 52:20
Dorian Connix (FRA) 52:30
Aaron Royle (NZL) 52:37
Henri Shoeman (RSA) 52:40
Javier Gomez Noya (ESP) 3705 points
Mario Mola (ESP) 3374 points
Fernando Alarza (ESP) 2961 points
Vincent Luis (FRA) 2910 points
Richard Murray (RSA) 2857 points
Alistair Brownlee (GBR) 2340 points
(Images: Janos Schmidt)