Abu Dhabi Triathlon: World Series


Abu Dhabi

Extensive highlights from the opening stage of the 2016 World Series. Many of the world's top triathletes fight for points towards qualification for the Olympic Games in Rio.


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Transcript


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Helen is not renowned for her sprinting.

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But she's going to have to really work hard.

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And just as we speak, Jodie goes into the lead.

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Helen ties to get on to the back,

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but is this the final move from Jodie Stimpson?

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Ashleigh Gentle is still in there in third place.

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But Jodie is now trying to pull away. Helen is hanging on.

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Jodie a little glance over the shoulder. Helen reacted initially.

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Remember, she was the first one of the lead trio to make a move.

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Stimpson covered it and then produced one on her own.

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And Ashleigh Gentle hasn't become completely isolated in third place.

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And Helen has allowed a few metres to grow

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between her and Jodie Stimpson.

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That's giving Ashleigh Gentle room to believe that she can upgrade

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-third to second.

-Yes, Helen's going to have to keep working hard.

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This is hard for her now, it's a really tough place.

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We know she's not at 100%.

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She's probably not even at 95%.

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So she's got to keep working now because otherwise she's got

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Ashleigh Gentle from Australia

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on her shoulder breathing down her neck.

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A top three position for Helen, I think she'll take that

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even though Jodie looks like she'll take the win here today.

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But the battle is really on for the third place to go to Rio.

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Helen now in third place, tucked in behind Ashleigh Gentle.

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And it's Jodie Stimpson who is at the moment

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coming away from a world-class field to lay down a huge marker,

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not just in terms of confidence,

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but in terms of her credentials

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as a potential Olympic medallist in her own right.

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It's seven seconds that she's taken

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out of the Australian and her compatriot Helen Jenkins

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over the last 300 or 400 or 500 metres.

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This is a brilliant performance from Jodie Stimpson.

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She's an athlete who over the years hasn't necessarily got the respect

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that her accomplishments deserve.

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It took a few years to make her realise that she did belong

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at the higher echelons of global triathlon.

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She's a Commonwealth champion.

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She's a world championship medallist, and here she is

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trying to lay down a platform and a marker,

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trying to give herself the belief

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that she's good enough and deserves a place on the British Olympic team.

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That battle will come in the Gold Coast,

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but this is a great indication that she's got the class

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to believe she can get on that plane.

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She's left Helen Jenkins in third place here.

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Jodie Stimpson is starting 2016

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with an absolutely brilliant performance here.

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Ashleigh Gentle is in second,

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Helen Jenkins a great, great run here, for third place.

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She definitely would have taken that

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before the drama began here in Abu Dhabi,

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but Jodie Stimpson will turn to her right-hand side

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and she will see no-one

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between her and the winning tape at the finish line

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here in Abu Dhabi.

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This doesn't guarantee her a place on the Olympic team,

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but it's a fantastic injection of confidence

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ahead of that huge race to come.

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Jodie Stimpson, with possibly

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one of the biggest performances of her career,

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takes the win here in Abu Dhabi.

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A great, gutsy second from Ashleigh Gentle,

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dropped by the leading three or four so many times

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and she has hung on well,

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and Helen Jenkins finishes on the podium.

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So many years dogged by injury,

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but she is back to world-class form

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and what a showdown we have in prospect

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between the two Britons come the Gold Coast.

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What a victory for Jodie Stimpson,

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back on top in the World Triathlon Series,

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and what a platform, looking ahead to that all-important showdown

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against Helen on the Gold Coast.

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Ashleigh Gentle, a brilliant second place for her.

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Helen is back on the podium.

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Good run from Flora Duffy for fourth.

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Renee Tomlin has put herself in the mix for the American team

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and, amongst others, there was no finish for Sarah True,

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for the Olympic champion Nicola Spirig

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or for Katie Zaferes.

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This winter, I can't say it could have gone any better really.

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I've been in Stellenbosch, training with Lisa, Mari and Darren,

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it's been a lot smaller group this time in Stellenbosch,

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but I think we are just very highly motivated, we all are.

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We haven't made our Olympic spots yet, any of us.

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It's really good to get on the podium after a tough year last year.

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Yeah, it shows that I'm moving in the right direction

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for our selection race in the Gold Coast.

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Me and Helen, we are great rivals.

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She's an absolutely fantastic athlete

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and I have so much respect for her.

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I mean, as soon as we crossed the line, it's like,

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we can't make it any harder for them, really.

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Great Britain one and three here in Abu Dhabi.

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What a great, great way for them to tee up this duel in the sun

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in the Gold Coast next month.

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Like Non, Vicky and Gwen Jorgensen,

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New Zealand's Andrea Hewitt has decided to skip Abu Dhabi.

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2015 was a great year for Andrea, one of her best to date,

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culminating in a silver medal at the World Championships.

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But in November her world was shattered

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when her coach and fiance Laurent Vidal

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died of a heart attack.

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Now, Laurent was a great triathlete in his own right.

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He finished fifth in London 2012, but in 2014, while he was swimming,

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he suffered a cardiac arrest.

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He was forced to retire and focus full-time on coaching Andrea.

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He was just 31 years old when he died.

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# In the quiet hours

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# When the lights are out

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# And my mind is free to wander... #

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He was the guy that was always at every race

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and he was such a character.

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He wanted to get the best out of himself he possibly could.

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Always doing his press-ups on the start line,

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would never do a swim warm-up

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and everyone else is stood there for the presentation.

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# ..And I still think of you

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# Every day

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# In a better place... #

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He was a lad athlete.

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He loved having a bit of a beer after the race and enjoying it.

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Always full of advice, always full of quirky anecdotes.

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Because he was Andrea's coach, he was always around the start area

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and at the finish lines and always very supportive of everyone.

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He is very French, he loved a strike and a protest.

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He was always very vocal, very passionate.

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The number of testimonies that went out from all the athletes

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just showed how well thought of and how fond everyone was of Laurent.

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It's very, very sad for the triathlon world.

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And as a tribute to Laurent,

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the number-one position on the start list this weekend

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has been left open.

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Now, if you come out of Non and Vicky's house,

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take a right, a left and a right, eventually you come to Bramhope,

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which is home to another two British triathletes, the Brownlee brothers.

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Now, it's fair to say 2015 was a mixed bag for Alistair and Jonny.

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Some stunning victories, some bad luck

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and, almost inevitably, injuries.

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Alistair came off worst, needing reconstructive surgery

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on his troublesome ankle, but the current news is good.

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They are both fit, they are training hard

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and secure in Olympic pre-selection.

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Now, neither of them is in Abu Dhabi,

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they're in Tenerife instead for some altitude work,

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but we caught up with them

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for some thoughts on what early-season nerves are like.

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I always get more nervous the first race, definitely.

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I think it's the fact you haven't done a triathlon

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for six months sometimes.

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You haven't felt what it is like to stand on that start line

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and also there's the side of it of the uncertainty.

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Have I trained right? Have I trained too much?

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Have I trained too little?

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Has someone made a big improvement over the winter?

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How fit am I?

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Sessions can only tell you so much but racing can tell you a lot more.

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So I don't like that uncertainty side of it.

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Like anything else, try to have had a good block of training into it

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and now you are fit, a few key sessions

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in the few weeks beforehand.

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Triathlon has got a lot of equipment you need for it,

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so it's important to have all that ready, new stuff is tested out,

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you're not using it for the first time for the race

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and then you've just got to stand on that start line and go for it.

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Sometimes I get a feeling on my start line of...

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You have spent six months doing it and I'm on the start line, thinking,

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"I could be cycling to some cafe in Yorkshire somewhere here.

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"Instead, I'm on a start line getting nervous.

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"Why? Why am I doing it?"

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Then I quickly switch back to,

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"This is what I do it for, this is what I love doing."

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But as soon as I dive in the water, I'm normally fine

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and it's all started.

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So, who is in Abu Dhabi

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experiencing what the boys have just been describing?

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Here is Annie Emmerson with the ones to watch.

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With no Brownlees or Gomez,

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Mario Mola will be the one to watch today.

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He will be full of confidence

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after a breakthrough swim in Chicago,

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which saw him exit the water ahead of Gomez.

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Rio is still a long way off, though, and it surprises me

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that his coach, Joel Filliol, has opted to send

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his most successful World Series athlete out to Abu Dhabi

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and start his season so early when he doesn't need to.

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Mola's training partner,

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Richard Murray,

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will have to have his best swim

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if he's to make the front pack,

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but if he doesn't, the weaker swimmers will be relieved,

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as he plays an instrumental part

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in bridging gaps between the bike packs,

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but he will come into the race with a lot of self-belief

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after victory in Edmonton last year

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and a third-place finish at the Grand Final in Chicago.

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2015 was Spaniard Fernando Alarza's best season to date,

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finishing fifth overall,

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but he still has to prove to the Spanish selectors

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that he deserves the third spot for Rio.

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He's been doing a fair amount of domestic racing,

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cross-country and duathlon over the off-season.

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A lot will depend on his swim,

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but Adam Bowden looks to be in great running form.

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He ran 14:09 at the Armagh 5k international earlier in the year,

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and fellow Brit Tom Bishop knows that he is being watched

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as a potential Pilot athlete for the Brownlees,

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but like Bowden, he will have to pull out the swim of his life

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to make the front bike pack.

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There's been a lot of talk from the guys on the circuit, though,

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about how strong he is, so he could be really interesting to watch.

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Time for the men's race highlights.

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Here is Rob and Annie once again.

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A fitting tribute here this morning in Abu Dhabi

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to the late Laurent Vidal,

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fifth in the Olympic Games back in London 2012,

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the athletes paying their own respects

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to their former Athlete Representative on the ITU,

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who tragically died last year,

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a life of passion cut far too soon, far too short.

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Marisol Casado, President of the ITU,

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also placing a flower by the poignant tribute to Laurent Vidal.

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There is no number one today, that belongs to the Frenchman.

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A lot of hard yards and a lot of hard racing

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still to come this year

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and it all starts

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right here right now,

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so what sort of marker

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will Mario Mola lay down

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for the coming season?

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Dorian Coninx, great Junior,

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brilliant Under-23 performer,

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yet to shine on the global Senior stage.

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Aurelien Raphael will certainly be one of those

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hoping to feature at the front of the swim.

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It's the first instalment in a nine-part drama,

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which begins here in Abu Dhabi

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in glorious sunshine

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and warm, tempting seas.

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-On your marks...

-Here we go, then.

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And, at last, after what seemed an eternity,

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they are in the water and on their way for this first-round race.

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No Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, no Javier Gomez,

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but all eyes on Mario Mola.

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What kind of swim will the Spaniard produce here?

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Alongside me, poised and very much looking forward to the action

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and to this race, is Annie Emmerson.

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Well, Annie, there has been so much talk about Mario Mola,

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kind of a breakthrough performance, really, in Chicago

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because he really took it to Javier Gomez

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and it wasn't just the manner in which he won that Grand Final,

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it was the fact that he gave himself such a great chance

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with such a great swim at the start.

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Yeah, you're right, Rob.

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The difference there, in Chicago, in the Grand Final,

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was that it was a wetsuit swim

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and that is definitely going to favour Mola,

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a slightly leaner and much smaller athlete.

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It's a non-wetsuit swim here today, obviously, in Abu Dhabi,

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so it's going to be perhaps a little bit harder,

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but, yeah, you are absolutely right,

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he led out the swim in front of Javier Gomez

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and that was the first time he's ever done that on the circuit.

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Schoeman and Raphael...just watching for the rest of the field.

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Polyanskiy, we always expect a good swim from him.

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Alessandro Fabian.

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Still waiting and watching for Mario Mola.

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Straight out and then back in.

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Tom Bishop going well, just 14 seconds off the pace.

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Alarza, 16 seconds off.

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He's hoping to close in on that last spot for the Spaniards

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as far as the Olympics are concerned.

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Richard Murray, the South African, has nearly 20 seconds to make up.

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No significant break, really, Rob, I don't think.

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11:55 for that first 1,000 metres, so the pace is pretty on.

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It's not exceptional, but it's decent, that's for sure,

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but interestingly, I thought they were

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pushing the pace a little bit harder,

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but the fact that we've got all that group there together,

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no break really as yet and they've only got 500 metres to go.

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And the likes of Schoeman and Raphael

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will be hoping to push home any advantage they can here,

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but interesting first lap.

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There is always such a sense of anticipation

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at the start of the Olympic year.

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Of course, the World Championship is vitally important,

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it's the sport's prestige annual prize,

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but the big one hangs only once every four years.

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Well, yeah, and there's a few athletes

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who are in a very privileged position,

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know already that they are going to the Games,

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but there are a lot of athletes out there

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still fighting for that spot,

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so that's why these early races

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in the World Triathlon Series

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are just so crucial.

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Right, so, coming up towards the end of the swim

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and this has been good, just over 17.5 minutes.

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A little shake of the head from Schoeman.

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Aurelien Raphael, great work by the South African and the Frenchman.

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Knabl has had a good swim,

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so too Polyanskiy...

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..Dorian Coninx and Fabian.

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11 seconds.

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Remember, they've got 13k on this first lap on the bike.

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Alarza desperately trying to impress the Spaniards

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as far as selection for the Olympics are concerned.

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Tom Bishop is still within 20 seconds of the leaders.

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Schoeman there, just taking his time!

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Yeah, pretty casual, there!

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I thought, "Hang on a minute! Is this a race or a training ride?"

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Do you know what, sometimes that is better.

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If you rush too much, you make mistakes.

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There's Alarza.

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Seven top-eight finishes last year.

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Really consistent performer.

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Just watching out to see whether we get a glimpse of Mola.

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There is Richard Murray.

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We would have expected him to have a little bit of a deficit

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to claw back after the swim.

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Joao Silva just heading out onto the roads.

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So, we've got a group here now of around about ten athletes.

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There is a little bit of a gap,

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so they are going to have to work exceptionally hard

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if they are going to stop that big, big group

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that has come out of the swim all together.

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Very early stages, then,

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in this first round of the World Triathlon Series.

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There is Mola.

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So...not the swim that the Spanish winner of the Grand Final

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was expecting or hoping.

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He's not in a bad place, actually, here.

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He's got Blumenfeld there, from Norway,

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who is an absolutely awesome cyclist.

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We've seen him, many times, pulling groups up.

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He got a third in the European Championships.

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Not known as a runner, but a very, very decent cyclist.

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Interesting now, Mola on the front -

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we don't see that very often - working really hard.

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We normally see him tucked in, saving his legs for the run,

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but sensing the danger slightly

0:16:120:16:14

as that front pack just starts to slightly roll away from them.

0:16:140:16:18

Yes, he will want to make sure

0:16:200:16:22

he gets closer and closer as the laps tick off.

0:16:220:16:25

As I said, 13k on the first lap and then six circuits of 4.5k.

0:16:250:16:30

Helicopter just giving us an indication

0:16:320:16:34

as to the gap between the lead group and the chasers.

0:16:340:16:38

And Mola certainly won't be panicking at this stage,

0:16:410:16:44

especially when you bear in mind how fast he is on the run.

0:16:440:16:47

28:59 when he beat Javier Gomez in the Grand Final.

0:16:470:16:52

So, Mola has been issued with a penalty, a rudimentary error,

0:16:570:17:01

not one he'll be caring to repeat later on this season.

0:17:010:17:05

Equipment out of the box

0:17:050:17:08

for the hugely experienced Spaniard.

0:17:080:17:11

Well, it's early season and everybody makes mistakes

0:17:110:17:13

and it's better to make it here

0:17:130:17:15

than halfway through the Olympic triathlon in Rio.

0:17:150:17:18

Absolutely.

0:17:180:17:20

As I said, you know, I think, when you come out a little bit far back

0:17:200:17:23

and you start to panic... We saw Henri Schoeman there, very chilled,

0:17:230:17:26

came out with plenty of time, knew he was at the front.

0:17:260:17:28

And Mola perhaps, you know, just sensing that urgency and like,

0:17:280:17:31

"Oh, my goodness me, I'm sort of like at the back of the field here,"

0:17:310:17:34

and then you make those mistakes.

0:17:340:17:36

These 17

0:17:370:17:41

will do well to stay ahead of the chase pack now.

0:17:410:17:43

They need somebody to really go for it

0:17:430:17:45

and you can see in that head-on shot

0:17:450:17:48

that the chase group are edging closer and closer.

0:17:480:17:53

And then it really would be a brave man to go off the front of...

0:17:530:17:56

what, 30, 35 athletes.

0:17:560:17:58

Then you've got that really cagey sequence of circuits.

0:17:580:18:02

Yes, and those gaps have shrunk considerably

0:18:040:18:08

and we will now have a very, very large lead pack.

0:18:080:18:13

So I guess, if you know you're a really good runner,

0:18:130:18:16

you just sit in, let everyone else do the work

0:18:160:18:19

and prepare for your first 10k off the bike.

0:18:190:18:24

We have a lone cyclist off the front.

0:18:240:18:26

Now, my goodness me, that is certainly brave.

0:18:260:18:29

We are waiting to see who that is.

0:18:290:18:32

Well, it's good to see someone going for it.

0:18:320:18:35

At the moment... And I can only imagine

0:18:350:18:38

that it's someone that they're not really worried about...

0:18:380:18:41

Ah, it's Fabian.

0:18:410:18:43

Again, Alessandro Fabian from Italy.

0:18:430:18:45

You know what? He's kind of...

0:18:450:18:47

He's a bit of an angry man out there.

0:18:470:18:49

He's saying, "You know what? We did all this work

0:18:490:18:51

"and we're going to sit up and let this second pack

0:18:510:18:53

"that contains Murray and Mola get the better of us,"

0:18:530:18:55

and I'm really surprised they've let him go down the road there.

0:18:550:18:58

But good on him for doing it.

0:18:580:19:00

He's no mug.

0:19:000:19:01

He was tenth in the Olympics in London.

0:19:010:19:04

He was doing all the work, or a large percentage of it,

0:19:040:19:07

at the front of that lead group

0:19:070:19:09

and he's decided, "Listen, I know that I probably can't run

0:19:090:19:12

"as quickly as Richard Murray,

0:19:120:19:13

"I know that I can't run as quickly as Mola,"

0:19:130:19:15

although he may not know exactly where Mola is in the race

0:19:150:19:18

at the moment, and he's decided, "I want to give myself

0:19:180:19:21

"the best possible chance of finishing on the podium

0:19:210:19:24

"in the first race of the year leading into Rio."

0:19:240:19:27

This is great to see.

0:19:270:19:28

Alessandro Fabian.

0:19:320:19:34

Hopefully those in the grandstand will applaud

0:19:340:19:37

this brave ride by the Italian.

0:19:370:19:40

Nobody else interested in sharing the workload,

0:19:400:19:43

nobody else interested in going with him

0:19:430:19:45

and he's been ploughing on alone for some...

0:19:450:19:48

what, 10, 12km now.

0:19:480:19:51

And did so much of the work in...

0:19:510:19:52

-you know, in the early bike stages, didn't he?

-Yes.

0:19:520:19:56

So he'll come in and have transition...

0:19:560:19:59

well, for a few seconds all to himself.

0:19:590:20:03

So he managed to maintain that gap.

0:20:030:20:05

Good end to the bike stage for Aurelien Raphael

0:20:050:20:09

after going so well in the water, we would have expected that.

0:20:090:20:13

Watching them all come in now.

0:20:130:20:15

How quickly will the likes of Richard Murray and Mario Mola

0:20:150:20:21

show their running class here?

0:20:210:20:24

Joao Silva, only 16 seconds adrift.

0:20:240:20:26

Grajales, after that amazing performance at the Grand Final...

0:20:260:20:29

And Tom Bishop in the top 20.

0:20:290:20:32

Here's Mola.

0:20:320:20:34

Making sure his equipment is in the box that time.

0:20:340:20:36

Fernando Alarza, remember,

0:20:360:20:38

he still has to impress the Spanish selectors

0:20:380:20:41

and he wants to join Mola and Gomez on the team for Rio.

0:20:410:20:47

Alessandro Fabian there taking on some water.

0:20:470:20:50

Very hot for the athletes.

0:20:500:20:51

It's very humid here and sticky.

0:20:510:20:53

Interesting to see how they've all spread out now.

0:20:530:20:56

Just a little bit, having come in as a big group.

0:20:560:20:58

Transition, they say, is the fourth discipline in triathlon

0:20:580:21:02

and that's so true because, you know, races certainly

0:21:020:21:05

have been won and lost in transition.

0:21:050:21:07

Well, he's already in the process of being joined at the front,

0:21:090:21:12

Alessandro Fabian.

0:21:120:21:15

Great effort on the bike.

0:21:150:21:17

But now it's four circuits of 2.5k.

0:21:170:21:20

Right now, you're not going to bet against Mola,

0:21:200:21:23

that's for sure, are you?

0:21:230:21:25

Yes, he's right there.

0:21:250:21:27

And here he goes.

0:21:290:21:31

Not the ideal swim,

0:21:310:21:33

fairly solid on the bike,

0:21:330:21:35

he incurred the penalty.

0:21:350:21:37

And now he's showing us the class

0:21:370:21:40

that took him to victory in the Grand Final in Chicago.

0:21:400:21:44

Remember, he ran inside 29 minutes when he beat Javier Gomez.

0:21:440:21:48

And his training partner, Richard Murray, in second place.

0:21:500:21:54

Ryan Bailie has had a quiet race so far, but he's a classy competitor.

0:21:540:21:59

The Australian coming into the mix, but look at this from Mola!

0:21:590:22:03

What a declaration of intent this is in the very early stages of this run

0:22:030:22:09

and what a great run this is turning out to be from Adam Bowden.

0:22:090:22:12

He is in that second chase group.

0:22:120:22:15

Ryan Bailie leading those guys through,

0:22:150:22:18

fourth in London a few years ago, and maybe they can work together

0:22:180:22:22

to close down the chase group who have Mario Mola in their sights.

0:22:220:22:27

Still no massive move, though, from Richard Murray yet.

0:22:270:22:31

-TANNOY:

-Mario Mola! And he goes into the penalty tent!

0:22:310:22:35

And now Mola serving the penalty.

0:22:360:22:38

He was accelerating to give himself an opportunity.

0:22:380:22:41

And I guess the biggest thing that can happen here

0:22:410:22:43

is an attack of cramp, but he seems OK at the moment.

0:22:430:22:47

Three, two, one...

0:22:470:22:49

He's off again.

0:22:490:22:50

CHEERING

0:22:500:22:52

I always think that is incredibly hard for the athletes

0:22:520:22:55

because, you know, your heart rate is right up there,

0:22:550:22:57

the adrenaline is pumping

0:22:570:22:58

and you've got to stop dead in your tracks for 15 seconds,

0:22:580:23:01

which is nothing, but I tell you what,

0:23:010:23:04

it's an eternity when they are out there.

0:23:040:23:06

And how quickly will he go past Murray?

0:23:060:23:08

Wow, that's tough, isn't it?

0:23:100:23:11

That's really, really tough for him to be back in that position.

0:23:110:23:15

Murray looking very relaxed.

0:23:150:23:17

The other athletes in front looking very relaxed.

0:23:170:23:19

Mola, of course, the man with the fastest times in triathlon,

0:23:190:23:23

so at the moment, I don't know

0:23:230:23:24

whether that is going to be a major setback in his race,

0:23:240:23:27

but perhaps just showing a little bit of discomfort on his face

0:23:270:23:31

after having to sit out that 15-second penalty.

0:23:310:23:34

Oh, look at that!

0:23:410:23:43

Sat behind them and you thought,

0:23:430:23:44

"Well, OK, maybe he's going to do this for the next 2.5k

0:23:440:23:48

"and save it for the final circuit."

0:23:480:23:50

A really definitive piece of acceleration there from Mario Mola

0:23:510:23:56

and now they are single file

0:23:560:23:58

and possibly we read something into

0:23:580:24:00

the fact that Silva has gone ahead of Murray.

0:24:000:24:03

Murray right there, of course,

0:24:030:24:05

but Silva deciding that he will be the man to try and close the gap

0:24:050:24:09

and run in the shadow of Mario Mola.

0:24:090:24:11

And a couple of metres just opening up between Murray and Alarza.

0:24:140:24:18

Alarza veering off to his right-hand side to get himself a drink.

0:24:180:24:22

Good running here from Adam Bowden

0:24:230:24:26

in the chase group.

0:24:260:24:28

Grajales once again producing a decent performance here

0:24:280:24:32

after that sensational fourth-place finish in the Grand Final last year.

0:24:320:24:38

And Alarza has definitely been dropped, so the Spaniard,

0:24:380:24:42

courtesy of the injection of pace from his countryman Mario Mola,

0:24:420:24:46

is now isolated in fourth and he is going to have

0:24:460:24:48

a tough job to hang on, but look at Mola here!

0:24:480:24:51

Accelerating and driving!

0:24:510:24:53

Trying to re-establish the advantage

0:24:530:24:56

he had built up so well before serving that penalty.

0:24:560:25:00

He is absolutely determined that he is going to finish this race

0:25:000:25:04

in emphatic style, not just with a victory,

0:25:040:25:06

but with a real message

0:25:060:25:07

to the likes of the Brownlees and to Javier Gomez,

0:25:070:25:11

that he is in the mix come the business end of this season.

0:25:110:25:14

Now, is there just a little bit of discomfort

0:25:140:25:18

creeping into the gait and the body language of Mario Mola?

0:25:180:25:23

Just rocking and rolling a little bit from left to right,

0:25:230:25:26

and Richard Murray has come alongside...

0:25:260:25:28

Offering to share water,

0:25:280:25:30

that is really good to see that from the two men.

0:25:300:25:32

There is obviously a huge amount of respect between them.

0:25:320:25:35

Well, this would be very, very significant,

0:25:350:25:37

if Murray can get in the mix here.

0:25:370:25:39

It's almost that dead turn where they lose all their momentum,

0:25:390:25:43

and slowly and surely, Murray has reeled in Mario Mola.

0:25:430:25:48

This is the same Mario Mola who ran 13:55

0:25:480:25:52

when he finished third in Hamburg over the sprint distance,

0:25:520:25:55

but what a fascinating climax this is going to be

0:25:550:25:58

and no sooner has Murray closed than Mola senses the danger

0:25:580:26:01

and adds another couple of metres to his advantage.

0:26:010:26:04

Has he got the acceleration in these closing stages

0:26:040:26:08

to make sure it's a second successive victory

0:26:080:26:11

here in Abu Dhabi?

0:26:110:26:13

What an effort from the South African!

0:26:130:26:15

A phenomenal effort, but I'll say again,

0:26:150:26:17

it's all about a battle of the minds at this stage,

0:26:170:26:20

and, for me, Mola is looking tired,

0:26:200:26:22

he's kind of rocking all over the place.

0:26:220:26:24

You know, the arms are going, the hips are going,

0:26:240:26:26

but he is saying, "You know what, this is my spot,

0:26:260:26:29

"this is my number-one spot."

0:26:290:26:30

They were very gentleman-like there,

0:26:300:26:32

he offered him some water even going round the bend.

0:26:320:26:34

Murray let him go round first.

0:26:340:26:36

But Mola used that opportunity to pull away again.

0:26:360:26:39

Wow!

0:26:390:26:40

Well, it looked really intriguing there for 100 metres or so.

0:26:410:26:46

But now, Mola has re-established the advantage.

0:26:460:26:50

Is it possible, Annie, that maybe subconsciously,

0:26:500:26:54

Murray, in those couple of exchanges,

0:26:540:26:57

showed a bit too much respect to Mario Mola?

0:26:570:26:59

Yes, I'd say definitely.

0:26:590:27:01

He could have gone around the bend at the top there in first.

0:27:010:27:04

He could quite easily have given him a good nudge

0:27:040:27:07

and pushed through, and he didn't, it was almost like, "You go first".

0:27:070:27:10

And you never do that on a bend like that,

0:27:100:27:11

because the person who comes round first will pull away.

0:27:110:27:14

But Mola now accelerating just as he did in Chicago

0:27:140:27:19

at the end of last season, sprinting now,

0:27:190:27:22

he sensed the danger from Richard Murray

0:27:220:27:24

and for 100 metres or so, it looked as though

0:27:240:27:27

he was going to get dragged into a two-way sprint to the line.

0:27:270:27:32

But victory is going to go to this hugely talented Spaniard once again.

0:27:320:27:37

This is a course and this is a country that he is starting to like.

0:27:380:27:43

A win in Abu Dhabi over the sprint distance 12 months ago, and now

0:27:450:27:49

he can afford to relax a little and enjoy this run-in to the finish.

0:27:490:27:53

There's the fist pump and the smile.

0:27:530:27:56

Mario Mola has started 2016 as he finished 2015,

0:27:560:28:02

he has announced himself here as a genuine contender,

0:28:020:28:06

not just for the world title, but perhaps an Olympic medal as well.

0:28:060:28:11

Great second place from Richard Murray. A really brave run.

0:28:110:28:17

Coming up alongside Mario Mola on that last lap,

0:28:180:28:21

but not quite enough to beat his training partner.

0:28:210:28:26

One of the best performances we've seen from Joao Silva

0:28:260:28:29

in recent years.

0:28:290:28:30

He completes the one, two, three on the podium,

0:28:300:28:34

a warm embrace from the Spaniard.

0:28:340:28:36

And what a performance from Alarza.

0:28:360:28:39

Maybe almost guaranteeing himself a place alongside Mario Mola

0:28:390:28:43

and Javier Gomez in the Spanish team.

0:28:430:28:46

Grajales, what a great run from him

0:28:460:28:49

to go alongside his great performance

0:28:490:28:51

in the Grand Final last year.

0:28:510:28:53

Polyanskiy coming home, and just watching out there for Ryan Sissons,

0:28:530:28:58

and the reason he's celebrating, the New Zealander,

0:28:580:29:01

is that with this finish, inside the top eight,

0:29:010:29:04

he's guaranteed himself a place on the plane for Rio,

0:29:040:29:07

and you can see just what it means for him.

0:29:070:29:09

Bailie in eighth.

0:29:090:29:11

And all credit to Adam Bowden.

0:29:110:29:13

A great, great performance from him.

0:29:130:29:16

Just missing out on the top ten,

0:29:160:29:18

but that's a really good way for his season to start.

0:29:180:29:21

What an opening round this has been for the world's leading men.

0:29:210:29:25

Mario Mola wins again in Abu Dhabi.

0:29:250:29:28

A really useful runners-up spot

0:29:280:29:30

for Richard Murray in second.

0:29:300:29:32

Joao Silva completing the podium.

0:29:320:29:34

Adam Bowden just outside the top ten

0:29:340:29:36

but that's a good performance,

0:29:360:29:38

and fellow Briton Tom Bishop

0:29:380:29:40

finished 32nd in the end.

0:29:400:29:42

So you didn't know your swim cap was outside the box

0:29:430:29:45

until you saw the number up on the board

0:29:450:29:47

that you had a penalty to serve?

0:29:470:29:49

I just exited the water,

0:29:490:29:50

I took both my caps off, I saw that I only had one in my hand.

0:29:500:29:55

So I could imagine bad. Those things you don't want to know

0:29:550:29:59

until the guys around the course told me, "You have a penalty,"

0:29:590:30:03

then it's only mental,

0:30:030:30:05

and I get ready to have a break in-between the 10K.

0:30:050:30:08

Normally, that kind of performance would have got you the gold,

0:30:080:30:11

but you were up against a superhuman today, by the sound of it.

0:30:110:30:14

-Are we in Abu Dhabi?

-Yes.

-OK, good, just wanted to make sure.

0:30:140:30:18

Well, first race of the season, very happy with the performance.

0:30:180:30:22

I must admit, about 5K, I was probably almost done already.

0:30:220:30:25

So I really dug deep today,

0:30:250:30:27

and, yeah, I'm very pleased with my performance.

0:30:270:30:31

Two races in Abu Dhabi, two wins. You obviously like it here.

0:30:310:30:34

I do like it here, yeah, definitely I will come back next year.

0:30:340:30:38

It's Mario Mola on top again here in Abu Dhabi.

0:30:380:30:42

He won the Grand Final with a grand finish in Chicago last September

0:30:420:30:47

and it looks as though that form has stayed with him

0:30:470:30:50

through the winter and is flourishing into the spring.

0:30:500:30:54

Mola is a major contender for big honours in 2016.

0:30:540:30:59

What a start to his campaign for glory on World and Olympic level.

0:30:590:31:04

So, we're off and running in the 2016 World Triathlon Series.

0:31:040:31:08

One down, eight more to go,

0:31:080:31:10

and the next one is critical for the British team.

0:31:100:31:13

Yes, it's the selection race

0:31:130:31:14

for the final remaining spot in the women's team.

0:31:140:31:17

Jodie Stimpson and Helen Jenkins go head-to-head

0:31:170:31:20

on Australia's Gold Coast to see if they can do enough

0:31:200:31:23

to claim their place on the plane to Rio.

0:31:230:31:26

And in the men's event, Britain's Tom Bishop

0:31:260:31:28

and Gordon Benson will be battling it out to prove

0:31:280:31:30

they've got what it takes to carry out the support role

0:31:300:31:33

for the Brownlees in Brazil.

0:31:330:31:35

We'll have live coverage of both races in the early hours

0:31:350:31:37

of Saturday, 9 April on the red button and on the BBC Sport website.

0:31:370:31:42

Rest assured, if you can't get yourself out of bed in time,

0:31:420:31:45

we'll have highlights on BBC Two on the afternoon of Sunday, 10 April.

0:31:450:31:49

And Jonny Brownlee also expected to start his season on the Gold Coast.

0:31:490:31:54

So join us for all the drama. Until then, goodbye.

0:31:540:31:58

Extensive highlights and reaction from Abu Dhabi, which hosts the opening stage of the 2016 nine-leg World Series.

Many of the world's top triathletes are fighting for points towards qualification for the Olympic Games in Rio, including 2015's Abu Dhabi men's winner Mario Mola. Fellow Spaniard Javier Gomez was beginning his pursuit of a sixth world title, while Great Britain's Olympic gold and bronze medallists Alistair and Jonny Brownlee both opted not to compete after battling injuries for much of the year.

In the women's race, Britain's double world champion Helen Jenkins is up against the current Olympic champion Nicola Spirig and world number three Sarah True from the USA.


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