In the end, it wasn’t to be. The gap was too great. It would have been an epic comeback. A sixth world championship title for Mario Mola having become a very difficult proposition, no longer dependent on his own result. Frenchman Vicent Luis arrived with an almost insurmountable advantage, and although many factors could potentially tip the scales the Frenchman ultimately took the world title.
Mario was close. But it wasn’t to be. And at the end of the day, the image of Mario Mola at the finish line congratulating Vincent Luis on his World Series Championship win fills us with hope. Hope that professional sport, despite its demands, can still maintain its essence: the enjoyment of each step, each swimming stroke, each pedal stroke and each breath. Rarely has a second-place finish left such a good impression.
Mario Mola made it clear in Lausanne that he embodied sports’ underlying values by fighting until the very end. Unable to surmount the gap in the World Ranking. He was the first to congratulate the person who took his crown. Mola kept up the pace, but his rival just needed a fifth-place finish to take the world title. The Mallorcan didn't have a great swim, but got his act together for the cycling, wearing the new PROFIT Aero for the first time and setting the pace of the race. Which was when his options opened up, but Vincent Luis stuck at it.
First race with the PROFIT Aero
The three-times world champion was looking forward to wearing the new Profit Aero at the World Triathlon Series Grand Final. Mario had a chance to overtake Vincent Luis in the general rankings, but he needed to remain in the leader group: “The Fidlock® magnetic fastener is a godsend. I got to try it for the first time in Lausanne. And it was a success. I was able to gain a few seconds during the transition by quickly adjusting the helmet. It’s essential not to fall behind the lead group to be in with a shot at victory”. What's more, the helmet’s aerodynamics are perfect for the distances at which Mario Mola competes: “You need to race the entire distance at 100%. It’s not explosive like an end of stage sprint, but you cannot relax. It’s just the helmet I needed”.
A hobbled season
This year Mario faced a whole host of impressive rivals: the Brownlee brothers, the mythical Gómez Noya, Vincent Luis…. but perhaps, his greatest rival has been the physical issues that have hobbled him throughout the season. It has been an irregular season, despite having kicked off his world series with a win in Abu Dhabi, his physical problems led to poor showings in Bermuda (26th place), Yokohama (29th) and Leeds (29th). Having recovered from his muscle strains, he finished second in Montreal and started a comeback after finishing fourth in Hamburg and second in Edmonton (Canada), arriving at the grand final with hopes of victory.
It hasn’t therefore been a comfortable year for Mario: “The truth is that for the past 5 or 6 years I've been able to compete at 99% for the entire 9-month completion. Free of setbacks. Perhaps it wasn't normal. That’s sport, and to a greater or lesser degree, we all suffer from periods with injuries, physical discomfort or other issues that undermine our competitiveness. My muscle strain was such that it was stopping me competing at 100%. And it was particularly noticeable during the swimming segment”.
The Spaniard, who has suffered from different muscular issues this season, made a great comeback to reach the final with a shot at the title, but his efforts were not sufficient to seize the top spot from the French triathlete, his training partner. However, Mario Mola declared that "I’m happy because when you give your all, you can do no more". The Spiuk sponsored triathlete has spent seven consecutive years on the World Series podium.