Javier Gomez’s overall win at this year’s World Triathlon Series put him in a class all his own as the Spaniard clinched a record fifth ITU world championship title at the WTS final in Chicago. Having previously been tied with Simon Lessing at four ITU world championship titles apiece, Gomez is now the most successful athlete male or female in ITU World Championship history.
Coming into the race as points leader, Gomez needed to finish no lower than third place to win the series and world championship. Only one man was faster: Mario Mola needed a personal best swim and run to finish only four seconds ahead, and even that was not enough to knock Gomez off the overall top spot.
“I just couldn’t break him and he had something left, he deserved to win this race,” said Gomez of the hard-charging Mola, who now owns the fastest 5-kilometer and 10-kilometer run times off the bike. “I felt more relaxed and knew the title was in my pocket.”
While saying he needed time to understand the enormity of what he had accomplished over the last few years, the five-time world champion admitted, “This is a day I won’t forget… No words to describe how I feel!”
The championship win was just one of the many high points for the Bahrain Endurance Team over the weekend.
Jodie Swallow found her wings at Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote, flying ahead of the competition with the fastest swim, bike, and run splits to win in 4 hours, 29 minutes, and 48 seconds — 12 minutes ahead of the rest of the field. This is a huge confidence booster for her leading into the Ironman World Championship, where she aims to improve two steps up from her third-place podium finish from last year.
Fredrik Croneborg wrapped up his tune-up race at Ironman 70.3 Incheon with a second-place finish. Second out of the water, the Swede laid down a blistering bike split and was first off the bike before backing off the run but still clocking sub-4 minute kilometers to finish in 4 hours flat.
Caroline Steffen celebrated her birthday by climbing the Great Wall of China, but fell ill shortly before the Beijing International Triathlon. She still racked up and rocked up to race, finishing 8th overall female. Josh Amberger continued his comeback to racing with a 6th place finish.
Finally, team manager Chris McCormack snuck in a win at the TriDash Triathlon in Bangkok. The unique Elimination Dash format saw the two-time ITU world champion progress over two elimination heats into the final heat where he took the overall win, fittingly wearing his old ITU suit.