MONTREAL — Javier Gomez Noya eased up to wave to the crowd as he cruised through the final 100 metres to win the ITU Montreal World Triathlon Series race on Sunday.
There was no beating the five-time world champion and 2012 Olympic silver medallist on this windy day, as he took off from the start of the final 10-kilometre run and never looked back for a 15-second win over Norwegian Kristian Blummenfelt.
"It's nice when you have a lead on the last kilometre and you know you can relax a bit after two hours of pain," the 34-year-old Gomez said.
It gave a proven champion to the first top-level World Triathlon Series in Montreal. A World Cup race was held last year, which Blummenfelt won, on a similar course starting on a dock and running up and down through narrow streets in Old Montreal. This time, the large crowds that lined the circuit saw many more of the world's top triathletes.
"It was a really good course," said Gomez. "A lot of spectators, and it's always nice to see people cheering.
"A few Spaniards on holiday here as well, supporting us. I hope they keep doing this race because it's one of the best ones."
Organizers announced this week the contract for the race was extended three years to 2020.
Gomez completed the 1.5-kilometre swim, 40-kilometre bike ride and 10-kilometre run in one hour 47 minutes 50 seconds.
Richard Murray of South Africa was third in 1:48:42 after passing two-time Olympic medallist Jonathan Brownlee of Britain, who came fourth in 1:49:04.
The win by Gomez ended the four-race winning streak of his Spanish compatriot Mario Mola, who was out of fuel after winning last week in Edmonton and came in 14th. Gomez moved past another Spaniard, Fernando Alarza, into second place in overall standings with two races left — Stockholm on Aug. 26 and the grand final Sept.16 in Rotterdam.
"That's racing," said Mola. "Of course I wanted to keep the momentum I had, but the guys in front did well.
"I emptied the tank on the bike. I tried to start hard on the run. Halfway through the run my legs said 'that's enough, that's all you have today.' So I made it to the end with what I had left."
A lead group of seven riders, including Gomez, Blummenfelt and Brownlee, formed at the start of the cycling section and came in 48 seconds ahead of a large peloton, which gave them a huge advantage going into the run. Murray still managed to overtake all but the top two.
"I know that about halfway through the second lap that it was possible to catch Johnny," said Murray. "I saw the pace difference.
"I'm very happy. I've done four weeks of racing in a row, two in Germany and two in Canada, with lots of travel included. So I'm very happy with third place."
The two Canadians in the 52-man field finished well back. Montreal native Alexis Lepage was 29th in 1:51:48 and Tyler Mislawchuk of Winnipeg came 33rd at 1:52:20.
Canada is the only country that has two World Series events, and naturally, Mislawchuk is all for it.
"It's important for us as athletes, but it's also important for the next generation," he said. "It's similar to the NHL.
"If you have an NHL team in your city, the kids dream of being NHL players one day. This gives an outlet for kids to dream of one day doing it. I hope in the future we can continue to have these races at home."
In the women's race on Saturday, Ashleigh Gentle of Australia ended Flora Duffy's four-event winning streak with her first World Triathlon Series victory, finishing 23 seconds ahead of the Bermudian. Joanna Brown of Ottawa was a career-best fourth.