Twice an Olympic medalist, Britain’s Jonny Brownlee has not been among the stars of the ITU World Series in 2019, but he looked like his old self Saturday in Edmonton, winning the Sprint-distance race by five seconds over a resurgent Mario Mola (ESP).
Brownlee only took the lead on the run phase, making a move on the final lap to move away from Mola and first-time World Series medal winner Marten van Riel of Belgium.
Said the winner, “On the run I was actually faster than I thought, and I felt really good. I’d be lying to say that it doesn’t hurt when people say he’s past it. But I know from my training that I am fit and I still believe I can have my best racing in the year to come. I am getting there now… It’s about time.”
It was Brownlee’s first Series win since 2017. For defending World Series champ Mola, who won the season opener and then went three races with poor finishes, he claimed a medal for the second time in the last three, and moved into second place in the seasonal standings. Luis still leads at 4,180, with Mola at 3,783.
The women’s race was skipped by most of the seasonal leaders, including American Katie Zaferes. That left the door open for Australia’s Emma Jackson, who hadn’t medaled in a Series race since 2014!
The event came down to the last 200 m of the run, with Jackson dueling with American Summer Rappaport, Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) and Claire Michel of Belgium. Jackson had the speed to get to the line first, saying afterwards, “I’ve had some good runs in Montreal and Hamburg and I have been training really well lately, but I was not expecting this. I just wanted to have a good swim and I think I had a terrible one today, but luckily Taylor Knibb (USA) and Ashleigh Gentle worked really hard to take us back up with the leaders. After so many months out with injuries and after so much time training, this feels quite unbelievable now.”
Zaferes continues to lead in the women’s seasonal standings at 4,925 points, followed by Jessica Learmonth (GBR: 4,170) and Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR: 4,121).
In the four-member Mixed Relay, Brownlee had Britain in front after the second leg, 39:30 to 39:48 over Seth Rider of the U.S., with Australia third. But Nicole van der Kaay changed the race for New Zealand and charged to the front, 13 seconds in front of Knibb of the U.S. Hayden Wilde anchored for the Kiwis and his 19:17 and although not as fast as Matt Hauser (AUS: 19:11) and Gordon Benson (GBR: 19:12), it was enough for a 1:20:14-1:20:23 victory.
ITU World Series
Edmonton (CAN) ~ 20-21 July 2019
(Full results here)
Men (Sprint): 1. Jonny Brownlee (GBR), 54:52; 2. Mario Mola (ESP), 54:57; 3. Marten van Riel (BEL), 55:02; 4. Hayde Wilde (NZL), 55:07; 5. Vincent Luis (FRA), 55:13; 6. Morgan Pearson (USA), 55:19; 7. Ben Kanute (USA), 55:28; 8. Fernando Alarza (ESP), 55:30; 9. Tyler Mislawchuk (CAN), 55:33; 10. Alessandro Fabian (ITA), 55:38.
Women (Sprint): 1. Emma Jackson (AUS), 1:01:23; 2. Summer Rappaport (USA), 1:01:25; 3. Ashleigh Gentle (AUS), 1:01:27; 4. Claire Michel (BEL), 1:01:38; 5. Taylor Spivey (USA), 1:01:47; 6. Lisa Perterer (AUT), 1:01:51; 7. Jaz Hedgeland (AUS), 1:01:55; 8. Jolanda Annen (SUI), 1:02:04; 9. Nicole van der Kaay (NZL), 1:02:55; 10. Kelly-Ann Perkins (AUS), 1:02:09.
Mixed Relay: 1. New Zealand (Thorpe, Reid, van der Kaay, Wilde), 1:20:14; 2. Great Britain, 1:20:23; 3. United States (Summer Rappaport, Seth Rider, Taylor Knibb, Morgan Pearson), 1:20:30; 4. Australia, 1:20:33; 5. Italy, 1:21:37.