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Raoul Shaw (FRA) and Eric Lagerstrom (USA) led the men out of the quick 750m one-lap swim and into T1. With no time to create a gap, a group of just over 20 men formed together to make up the lead pack on the four-lap 20km bike.
Tucked safely inside the lead group were pre-race heavyweights Murray, Gomez, and Vincent Luis (FRA), while Aaron Royle (AUS) and Tom Bishop (GBR) consistently hammered away at the front.
However, their efforts weren’t enough to keep away the chasers, which included Mola, from bridging up as more than 40 men came together at the end of the third bike lap.
Britain’s Tom Bishop on the bike at WTS Edmonton
Off the bike, Murray and his South African teammate Wian Sullwald gunned to the front of the pack early on the first of three run laps. But by the end of that lap, Murray had pulled away and Gomez – who won WTS Stockholm two weeks ago followed by a bronze at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships last weekend – showed his tenacity and went with him.
Behind them, Royle ran past Sullwald in an effort to repeat his WTS Stockholm podium. But it wasn’t to be as Mola mustered up the guts to overtake the Australian on the second lap.
While Gomez stayed on Murray’s hip throughout the run, the South African was just too strong on Sunday as he lengthened his stride and pulled far enough away on the last lap to keep the reigning World Champ at a great enough distance to win the race.
A moment that stands in time …. Emotions running wild through me . @WTS_Edmonton worth ever sweat and shiver pic.twitter.com/xopbxyQsqf
— Richard Murray (@RD_murray) September 7, 2015
Gomez held the pace to keep himself in second, and Mola crossed over with the third fastest race of the day in bronze medal position. Britain’s Tom Bishop finished eleventh. Full results here.
“Javi was hanging on the whole time and I really had to give it everything,” said Murray afterwards. “I had some issues at the start of the day. I broke my swim cap, I had to give it everything in the end. My swim was much better than last year, and I managed to push hard on the bike.”
Mola meanwhile reflected on a difficult day’s work: “It’s been the toughest hour of my life. I kept thinking it wasn’t going to end. It was good for me with third. It was important for me to get a good result here to be able to fight for the World Championship in Chicago. Javi isn’t going to make it easy for me.”
WTS Edmonton elite men (750m/20km/5km)
Javier Gomez Noya
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Series wide open
These results mean that Gomez remains top of the leaderboard with 3820pts, but Mola sits just 225pts behind with two weeks to go until the World Champs in Chicago.
Vincent Luis (FRA) moved into third over Spaniard Fernando Alarza. Luis’ fourth place finish makes him just 277 points behind leader Gomez.
Likewise, Murray’s win makes him fourth in the rankings with just 530 points separating the top four men, meaning any of them could be named World Champion on September 19. Full rankings.