LEEDS’ Jonny Brownlee was edged down to fourth place as Spain’s Mario Mola produced a superb run to win the Hamburg World Triathlon Series event on Saturday.
Mola was 22 seconds behind Brownlee, France’s Vincent Luis and Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt after the bike section. But the 28-year-old won in 53 minutes 24 seconds, with Luis second and South Africa’s Richard Murray third.
In the women’s event, France’s Cassandre Beaugrand won the women’s race ahead of Germany’s Laura Lindemann and American Katie Zaferes while Leeds’ Non Stanford came home in sixth place.
Brownlee, who was 34th in the men’s rankings having only competed once this year due to persistent injuries, pulled out of last month’s Leeds event during the race with illness.
But in Hamburg he raced strongly throughout and pushed the pace on the bike with Luis and Blummenfelt to open an early gap. By the end of lap three on the six-lap bike course the three held a 24-second advantage over the chasing pack.
Mola and Murray caught the leaders by the midway point in the 5km run, as Blummenfelt slipped backwards.
And in the end Mola’s relentless running proved too much and Murray bettered Brownlee to ultimately force the Briton into fourth, four seconds off the podium and 12 seconds behind Mola.
The Spaniard now boasts two wins in this year’s Series following his success in Yokohama in May and looks well placed to win his third straight world title at the Series’ Grand Final on Australia’s Gold Coast in September.
Mola said: “I tried not to let them make a gap but they worked very well on the bike and there was a lot of work to do on the run.
“I’m very happy with how things have gone but I know from experience that, until the end, it is not decided, so I have to keep doing my work and be at my best by September.”
Results – Elite Men’s: 1, Mario Mola (Spa) 53mins 24secs, 2, Vincent Luis (Fra) 53:29, 3, Richard Murray (Rsa) 53:32, 4 Jonathan Brownlee (Gbr) 53:36, 5, Jacob Birtwhistle (Aus) 53:42, 6, Dorian Coninx (Fra) 53:46
Elite Women’s: 1, Cassandre Beaugrand (Fra) 58min 06secs, 2, Laura Lindemann (Ger) 58:36, 3 Katie Zaferes (USA) 58:37, 4, Nicola Spirig (Swi) 58:42, 5, Kirsten Kasper (USA) 58:44, 6, Non Stanford (Gbr) 58:45.