Columbia Threadneedle Rankings Report: Cozumel Grand Final
The final race of the season delivered perhaps the most incredible scenes we have seen in the history of the triathlon, with the closing moments of the Men’s Elite race being watched by tens of millions of people, making mainstream headlines news around the world.
Let’s conclude our in-depth look at the 2016 Columbia Threadneedle Rankings and congratulate two new, first-time World Champions.
It had already been quite a year for Flora Duffy (BER) before the Grand Final, but what a way to finish it as the new ITU Triathlon World Champion. In her seven World Triathlon Series race starts she never finished lower than fourth position, earning four podiums and her first two career WTS victories in the process. Victory in the Grand Final on Sunday was achieved in convincing style, by a margin of one minute and 17 seconds. That was only one second short of the biggest winning margin of the 2016 season, when Gwen Jorgensen (USA) finished ahead of Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) in Yokohama.
Flora’s win also continues an interesting trend; for the last four years the winner of the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final has also finished on top of the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings to become ITU World Champion. That Cozumel triumph means that Flora now joins a list of 16 multiple World Triathlon Series race winners since the series was introduced for the 2009 season. Interestingly, of those athletes who have won at least one race (19), only three – as yet – have not gone on to repeat that at least one more time. Clearly, while winning a WTS race is tough, once achieved it typically provides a springboard to further success.
Two of those ‘first time’ wins happened this season, and both were by U.S. athletes. Katie Zaferes (Hamburg) and Summer Cook (Edmonton) certainly have the capabilities to add further Gold to their C.V.’s in the near future. Katie’s win in Germany followed seven previous podium finishes, while Summer Cook reached the top step of a WTS podium in only her fourth Series start in Canada. Expect more from both in 2017.
Such has been the dominance of Gwen Jorgensen (USA) in recent years it is significant that she ‘only’ won two of her five World Triathlon Series races in 2016, having started the year with 12 consecutive wins dating back to early 2014. That said, five podium finishes from five starts would be a career best season for almost anyone else, such are the incredible standards that she has set. Combine that with an Olympic Gold medal which was her primary objective for the year, and Gwen can be more than content with her season, even if it ended one position shy of a third consecutive ITU World Championship title.
While Gwen may have been disappointed with second place in the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings, Ai Ueda (JPN) was moved to tears to earn the Bronze medal in the World Championships after finishing fifth in Cozumel. Ueda is tied with Andrea Hewitt (NZL) as the most experienced athlete in the women’s field; Cozumel was her 52nd World Triathlon Series event. She showed great determination to recover from two poor early season races in Abu Dhabi and Gold Coast to produce a series of six consecutive top eight results. The key to that success in Cozumel was her fastest run split of the day. Starting the run in 25th position and from the second chase pack, Ueda gained 20 places despite the sweltering conditions and that resulted in her first ITU World Championship podium medal. It was also the first time that an ITU World Championship medal has been achieved by a Japanese athlete, male or female.
There were tears of joy too from Charlotte McShane (AUS) in Cozumel. In her 30th World Triathlon Series start, third place in the Grand Final represented her first podium finish after seven previous top ten results. It also moved her to eighth place in the season ending Columbia Threadneedle Rankings, the best of her career to date.
Some other notables from 2016:
• Yuko Takahashi (JPN) was the only female athlete to start all nine World Triathlon Series races this year.
• Three athletes earned their first career World Triathlon Series podium finishes during 2016: Charlotte McShane (AUS), Rachel Klamer (NED) and Summer Cook (USA)
• In 2016 there were seven different World Triathlon Series races winners from the nine events. In 2015 the ten race wins were shared amongst just three athletes.
• In total, 14 athletes achieved at least one World Triathlon Series podium finish during the 2016 season. Gwen Jorgensen (USA) gained the most (five); in the process extending her record of total career WTS podium finishes to 23.
• The biggest mover in the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings in 2016 versus last season is Mari Rabie (RSA). 107th in 2015, she improved by 91 places to end the year ranked 16th (2135 points).
After Bronze, Silver and Silver over the past three seasons, it is finally ITU World Championship Gold for Mario Mola (ESP). Topping the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings ahead of the Grand Final in Cozumel, Mario knew that he could still be denied the championship title, depending on the final results in Mexico. After the staggering, quite literally, drama in the final few hundred metres of the race, fifth place proved to be sufficient. The World Championship winning margin of just four points was the closest in World Triathlon Series history. Spain also retains the men’s World Championship title for a fourth consecutive year following three years in the hands of Javier Gomez.
The events of Jonathan Brownlee’s (GBR) final moments in Cozumel have been headline news around the world. Looking set to take the Grand Final win and ITU World Championship double with the finish line almost in sight, his eventual second place also meant it was another World Championship Silver medal – his third – for the Rio 2016 Olympic Silver medallist. The previous closest finish in the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings was in 2013 (25 points), which also saw Jonathan edged out of top spot by Javier Gomez (ESP) following an incredible sprint finish in London. There is rarely a dull race when a Brownlee is involved.
With drama unfolding all around him, it was Henri Schoeman (RSA) who became only the fourth man to win an ITU World Triathlon Grand Final. A stunning end to the season for the surprise Olympic Bronze medal winner in Rio, that was his first ever WTS podium finish. It also means he gained seven places in the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings to finish the year in fourth position, for the first time ending the year in front of fellow South African, Richard Murray, who was one place further back in fifth.
As well as the Gold medal for Mario Mola, it was another fine year for the Spanish Federation in the Elite Men’s rankings. Ninth place in Cozumel was enough for Fernando Alarza (ESP) to earn the World Championship Bronze medal. That is the fourth consecutive season that the Spanish men have filled two of the three year-ending Columbia Threedneedle Rankings podium positions. Fernando also earned his first victory in the Series this year in Cape Town. He has now ended the year 12th, 5th and 3rd in consecutive seasons. Is Fernando Alarza a future World Champion for Spain too?
The final word goes to the man gaining many of the headlines around the world, Alistair Brownlee (GBR). The two-time Olympic Triathlon Champion started the week in Cozumel by winning the ITU Aquathlon World Championship and finished it by featuring on almost every news channel around the world, thanks to his show of sportsmanship towards his brother. While his third place finish in the Grand Final will be quickly forgotten, his actions will remain part of the history of the sport. It has been quite a year – and what a way to finish it.
Some other notables from 2016:
• Vicente Hernandez (ESP) was the only male athlete to start all nine World Triathlon Series races this year.
• Five athletes earned their first career World Triathlon Series podium finishes during 2016: Crisanto Grajales (MEX), Dorian Coninx (FRA), Henri Schoeman (RSA), Jacob Birtwhistle (AUS) and Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR).
• Mario Mola (ESP) became only the third male athlete to win four races in one World Triathlon Series season during 2016. Alistair Brownlee (GBR) and Javier Gomez (ESP) are the two athletes to have achieved this previously.
• With two 2016 wins, Alistair Brownlee (GBR) has maintained his record as the only athlete, male or female, to have won at least one World Triathlon Series event in every year since its introduction in 2009. His career total now stands at 21.
• In total, 13 athletes achieved at least one World Triathlon Series podium finish during the 2016 season. Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) never finished lower than third in his six races, in the process extending his total to 28. That puts him two ahead of older brother Alistair on that measure, but still eight short of the 36 career podium finishes of Javier Gomez (ESP)
• The biggest mover in the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings in 2016 versus last season is Matthew Sharpe (CAN). 165th in 2015, he improved by 119 places to end the year ranked 46th (848 points).
The 2017 World Triathlon Series kicks off in Abu Dhabi, March 3rd-4th next year and we look forward to following the action with you.
The full Columbia Threadneedle Rankings can be accessed at: http://wts.triathlon.org/ColumbiaThreadneedleRankings
This report is brought to you in partnership with Columbia Threadneedle Investments, Global Financial Services partner of the ITU World Triathlon Series and Title Sponsor of the official rankings.
Join the conversation on twitter with @CTinvest_tri or by using #CTrankings.
Related Event: 2016 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Cozumel
|Results: Elite Men|
|Results: U23 Men|
|1.||Jorik Van Egdom||NED||01:52:39|
|Results: Junior Men|
|Results: Mixed U23-Junior Relay|
|1.||Team I Spain||ESP||01:06:29|
|2.||Team I Great Britain||GBR||01:06:33|
|3.||Team I Australia||AUS||01:06:37|
|4.||Team I United States||USA||01:06:43|
|5.||Team I Russia||RUS||01:06:46|
|Results: 16-19 Male AG Sprint|
|3.||Victor Hugo Berrones||MEX||00:58:47|
|4.||Eduardo Antonio Castellanos||MEX||00:58:49|
From the start to a dramatic finish, the 2016 ITU World Triahtlon World Championships Cozumel was one for the history books! So let's recap it with short social media snippets!05:09 - 20 Sep, 2016
Mario Mola’s fifth place finish in the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Cozumel saw him win the 2016 ITU World Championship overall title in a dramatic finish.01:13 - 19 Sep, 2016
Bermuda’s Flora Duffy floored it on the bike in hot and humid conditions in Cozumel, winning the race and securing her place in history as the 2016 ITU World Triathlon Series Champion12:38 - 18 Sep, 2016