In his first race back from injury, Brownlee was unsure how the Grand Final would pan out. With the leaders until T2, he slipped down into 12th at the line.
“It would have been disappointing if I’d done any better than that. It would have been a bit unfair with the amount of running I’ve done. I haven’t run more than an hour in the last three months. I’ve only run 10k two times.
“I knew it wasn’t going to happen on the run. It was the first time I’ve run off the bike since Gold Coast, and I was like ‘wow, I shouldn’t really be here’. But when I surged I had nothing, I just had to be really cautious about it. But I don’t know why people were chasing me down on the bike because I wasn’t a threat to anyone. I’ve done three weeks running! The name on my bum can work against me sometimes.
“To get a result that’s respectable off the training I’ve done… you’ve got to be realistic but it is frustrating… on those dead turns and you see those people [ahead] and think ‘I should be there’. But I was in the race, not hanging off the back.
“It all just came too easy at the start of the year. I still believe that performance in the Gold Coast was the best overall performance this series. I had the best swim I’ve ever had, me and Varga did a two-up time-trial 40k and then I put 20seconds into him on the first 3k of the run. That shouldn’t happen.
“I had an aim to be here three months ago and the doctor said you’ve got no chance. But here I am! I said to my coach this morning, ‘it can’t get any worse than London.’ But then that’s not something to be very proud of really. I was probably in the form of my life in London, but whereas today I wasn’t.
“I’ll have less rest now than I normally have cause I had a big rest in the middle of the season. And then get back in Gold Coast form and hopefully it all come too easily again.”
Richard Murray, RSA, 3rd in race, 4th in Series
Murray bridged a 40sec gap on the bike to the leaders in the course of one lap, to run himself onto the podium.
“Everyone started to smell the fumes of the front group, I think. There were a couple of points where it was a bit confusing and it almost didn’t come together and I didn’t want to leave it to chance. Because whenever we got really close everyone sits up and the gap can open, so I literally just went for it to make sure I was there.
“I was shouting for five or six laps. I probably spent a couple of hundred calories just shouting! I think a lot of the guys aren’t used to the whole rolling, road bike side of it, so they pull off and go really wide on the bike and it starts to confuse the whole group. But luckily it started to work nicely together and we had a lot of strong guys and then we managed to close the gap. But it definitely burnt the legs a lot. By the time we caught them the amount of energy spent was massive. So on the run I was cramping from about the second lap. It looked like it was not going to end up pretty.
“I was actually in agony, cause at all the right-hand turns, my left hamstring… so I had to hold it back and Mario and Javi went off and I couldn’t run any quicker cause I was actually cramping up. And luckily towards the end I was actually feeling better over the last lap to go.”
Javier Gomez, ESP, 2nd in race, 1st in Series
Gomez needed to finish fourth or higher to take his fifth ITU world title. Finishing second behind teammate Mario Mola, he crossed the line to make history.
“I was surprised at the way Mola came out of the water, to be honest! He was in front of me, and had a great swim. I know Mario’s probably the fastest runner, he had a good day today, but I was happy with my title in my pocket, running shoulder to shoulder with him. I still tried to win the race, he was just stronger.
“But I’m happy with a second and of course with my fifth world title. I’ll need some time to understand what I’ve achieved over these past nine years. I’m really proud of my career so far. And I hope it’s not the last one. I hope I’m still competitive in the next few years. I’m really enjoying my career at this point.
“I tried [to surge] a couple of times on the last lap, and the last time I tried I surged pretty fast, and said I’m going to give everything now and see what happens, but [Mola] was a bit stronger in the last 300m and was able to hang on. I just couldn’t beat him, he was faster today. I think we ran pretty fast, I gave it my best, I ran well, he was just stronger.
“I’m running faster and anything could happen [heading into 2016 for the Rio Games]. You can get injured… but obviously I’m still on top and this gives me a lot of confidence for my training next year and I’ll hopefully be running a bit faster.
“I won’t do 70.3 races before Rio, I need to focus. I really enjoy 70.3 racing but it could be my last Olympic Games and I want to give it my best shot. I’m still enjoying this kind of racing, I’m still competitive. It’s hard to decide [if I will go long after Rio], I will decide next year.”
Mario Mola, ESP, 1st in race, 2nd in Series
Mola ran side-by-side with compatriot Javier Gomez until a surge with 300m to go saw him take the race win.
“I always learn from Javier, so when I have the opportunity to run side by side it’s always an amazing feeling. I was lucky to get this one and win today but he’s five times world champion, what can you say.