They said it: Q and A from ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Cozumel with Brownlee, Schoeman, Mola and Murray interviews Mario Mola, Richard Murray, Henri Schoeman and Alistair Brownlee after their exciting race at the ITU WTS Grand Final in Cozumel, Mexico.

| September 19, 2016 | NEWS

ITU Men\'s WTS Grand Final in Cozumel, Mexico

Photo >Kevin Mackinnon

Henri Schoeman - winner

Were you surprised with how the race played out?

I knew with the breakaway there would be a lot of guys fatiguing. I just had to hold tough and I was running comfortable with the Brownlees and am really gutted that Jonny collapsed at the end. Alistair helping him out, I think they deserved the one and two, but it’s the strongest athlete at the end of the race and I held it tough and I managed to win so I am really happy.

When Jonathan Brownlee pulled away, did you think he was possibly pushing too hard, too early?

He (Jonathan) was looking strong. I was trying to hold tough, but I knew I just had to keep it calm for just a little bit longer. The last 5 km gets really hard, especially in this heat. When I saw he was getting wobbly I was pushing a little bit harder and then, with 200 m to go, he just collapsed. At that point I knew I won it and it’s an amazing feeling.

A year ago did you imagine that you’d have the month you’ve just had - bronze at the Olympics and the championship win in Cozumel?

Not really. I’ve worked really hard on my run and its been improving and its showing. I’m in the best form of my life. I probably didn’t get the best training after Olympics – it was really busy – but maybe a little bit of rest did me good.

ITU Men\'s WTS Grand Final in Cozumel, Mexico

Photo >Kevin Mackinnon

Alistair Brownlee - third

How is Jonathan doing?

I think he’s going to be OK – he’s been taken off to hospital.

I assume you didn’t think twice about helping him when you saw him collapse.

Not really, I’ve been in that position and it’s a dangerous position to be in. To be honest, if it was anyone I would have helped them to get to the finish line after the experiences I had.

You’ve had a busy month since winning gold in Rio, has it been hard to maintain your fitness to be able to race as well as you did today?

It’s been tough – I was no where near racing at the top of my abilities today, but I enjoyed it – I wanted to be here and race and enjoying racing.

ITU Men\'s WTS Grand Final in Cozumel, Mexico

Photo >Kevin Mackinnon

ITU Men\'s WTS Grand Final in Cozumel, Mexico

Photo >Kevin Mackinnon

Mario Mola - fifth, but takes ITU WTS World Championship

How exciting is it to take the world championship?

I’m very excited that in the end I’m able to achieve the goal that brought me here today. I have to be honest, it’s not the way I wanted to win this world championship. This is a situation that can happen in triathlon – the race doesn’t finish until you cross the finish line at the end of the run, so I tried to keep pushing and doing the work, thinking that the run was going to be very tough and obviously it was.

The Brownlees got out in front and organized a pack on the bike – were you thinking “this is my worst nightmare?”

Of course there were different interests in both of the groups. The guys in front worked really well – unfortunately our group didn’t work as smoothly and even though it looked like were a big group and should be closing the gap, there’s a lot of mis-organization and the course was very narrow, so it was hard to keep things moving in a big pack. It’s racing, it’s triathlon. I think I’ve improved – I had a good swim. It wasn’t enough, so I have to keep working.

On the run Richard Murray pulled away from you, then waited for you at the finish line. What was that all about?

I train with Rich and we are friends. He knew that in case Jonny won I had to be on the podium or if he was in second I had to be in fifth, so I think he was aware of where I was and I guess he wanted to help me take this world championship so I’m happy with that. In the end he did well and it was a good race, so everyone is happy.

It was a day where we saw brothers helping each other and team-mates helping each other.

You have to find some allies … Jonathan had Alistair, which made a big impact. Of course they put themselves in the right position and no one can say anything about that. I will try to keep working and keep swimming and next time be closer to the front.

And the next time you’ll be doing all that as the defending world champion.

That sounds very good.

ITU Men\'s WTS Grand Final in Cozumel, Mexico

Photo >Kevin Mackinnon

Richard Murray - fourth

That was a crazy world championship.

It was a pretty difficult day out there. The swim felt really long and it got really warm just as we came in to the marina. On the bike I was a sack of potatoes – I tried to help and contribute a bit for Mario so we could make some time up for the world championship and obviously for myself at the end of the day. On the run I gave it everything. I paced it well. I turned the gas on on that last lap and got away from the guys towards the finish.

At the finish line you waited for Mario. Why?

I wasn’t sure whether, if I crossed here, does he lose the title to Jonny. Honestly I’d much rather see Mario get it than Jonny because we train together and know each other pretty well and I’ve been racing for years with him, so it was a difficult one. Then I saw that Henri had won, so he would have won anyway.

Is there something about this sport that is why we see brothers helping each other, team mates helping each other?

It’s a small sport. You’ve got to keep friendly and you’ve got to show good faith sometimes. Mario and I aren’t like brothers, but when we race a lot of the time we’re very similar, swimming, biking and running. It was a great day today.