Gomez tops a competitive list

Javier Gomez is TriathlonWorld.com's male Triathlete of the Year thanks to a brilliant season that included a second Ironman 70.3 world title and a runner-up finish in the ITU WTS standings.

| January 9, 2018 | PERSONALITY

Javier Gomez salutes the crowd after taking the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Chattanooga.

Javier Gomez salutes the crowd after taking the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Chattanooga.

Photo >Peter Jacob / spomedis

A year after he was forced to withdraw from the Olympic Games due to an elbow injury, Spain's Javier Gomez made a triumphant return, opening the season with a big 70.3 win in the first race of the million-dollar triple crown in Abu Dhabi, then following that up with an equally as impressive win over the standard-distance, again in Abu Dhabi, at the WTS opener. While he would only take one more WTS title (in Montreal) through the rest of the season, he was still able to earn enough points in the WTS series to take the runner-up spot behind countryman Mario Mola, despite the fact that many of the races were contended over the sprint distance.

It was Gomez's impressive 70.3 world title win that solidified his status as TriathlonWorld.com's Triathlete of the Year, though. On a course that seemed to favor strong cyclists, Gomez was able to stay in the hunt on the bike and use his incredible run talent to post a blistering 1:10 run split, which was more than enough to net him a second 70.3 world title - he won his first in Mont-Tremblant in 2014.

Lionel Sanders in the running

Our nominees for this year's Triathlete of the Year tile (click the highlighted text to see our nominee slide show) included Canadian Lionel Sanders, Mola and Germany's Patrick Lange. One could make a very strong argument that Sanders was every bit as deserving of the award this year, too, thanks to his ITU Long Distance World Championships title and his runner-up finish at the Ironman World Championship. In the end, though, the nod came down to the competitiveness of each athlete's world title - the depth of the field at the Ironman 70.3 worlds was stronger than that in Penticton.

Mola's successful defense of his WTS title certainly led credence to an argument that he deserved the title, too, but lost out to a pair of athletes with a world title and a world championship silver, too. Lange's Kona win earned him our performance of the year and in most other years might have netted him our Triathlete of the Year title, too, but once again the German's incredible day in Kona wasn't enough to put him ahead of Gomez and Sanders' incredible 2017 seasons.