Richard Murray finished third at the ITU World Triathlon Series in Yokohama on Saturday. It was only Murray’s second race in the WTS this season and his best performance after his fifth place in Cape Town a few weeks ago.
Gomez’s won a very close sprint against his fellow Spanish countryman Mario Mola in 1 hour, 45 minutes and 31 seconds. Murray’s time was 1:46.00. All three ran a sub 30-minute 10km. It was a somewhat historic day for WTS racing. It was the first time ever that both the Brownlees – Alistair and Jonathan – started a race but neither finishing on the podium.
South African Henri Schoeman was first out of the water, while Murray left T1 some 50 seconds behind the front group. While all the big names were in the leading group, it was Kiwi Tom Davison who took charge in the second group and did most of the work to bring the two groups together for a front group of some 35 riders. This is just what strong runners Mola and Murray needed. Murray has said many times before that the chase group just needs a few more riders willing to pull in front to bridge the gap to the leaders and that is exactlay what happened in Yokohama.
Soon after the last leg – 10km run – started the selection was made. Alistair Brownlee was the first to drop of the pace and soon was followed by his younger brother Jonathan. For three of the four laps Murray, Mola and Gomez ran together. It was just after the bell rang for the final lap that Murray dropped and Mola attacked, but Gomez wasn’t fooled. He stayed with Mola and won the sprint for his third victory in the WTS.
This was Murray’s first WTS podium since San Diego last year. “It has been a long time coming. I had a lot of fifth places and was getting somewhat sick of it! But I have to give so much credit to Tom Davison he was so strong on the bike. We were going at 50km/h on the flats and that is why we closed the gap. I am so stoked with the race today.” It was Murray’s attack on the run the dropped Alistair. “I was feeling good and decided that I don’t want to be the follower. The three of us challenged each other well but when Javi went with 2km to go my hamstrings just did not want to follow. I was in the biggest hurt locker ever coming into the finish. I am super stoked with the podium. It is difficult to work on the swim during the season, because if you do too much of that you can struggle on the bike and it is really important that I keep on going with a good bike leg. At the end of the season swimming will once again be a big focus.”
Murray (1271 points) jumped from 13th place to 5th in the overall world rankings. Gomez (2400) leads followed by Jonathan Brownlee (2066) and Mola (1837).
The next WTS race is London on 1 June.