Queensland’s Dan Wilson has out-run fellow Commonwealth Games team mates Ryan Bailie and Aaron Royle to start his 2015 World Triathlon Series campaign with an encouraging 12th place in a star-studded field in Abu Dhabi overnight.
The 29-year-old was well placed over the entire Sprint course – a 750m swim, 20km bike and five kilometre run.
The UAE capital’s WTS debut attracted nine of the world’s top 10 ITU triathletes, with injured London Olympic gold medallist Alistair Brownlee, the only one missing.
Wilson was ninth out of the water in the swim in the 60-strong field and he and Royle were always well-placed towards the front of the bike with Bailie hanging on in a 40-strong lead bike group.
The result will give Wilson a huge confidence boost leading into the next WTS race over the grueling Auckland course later this month and round three on the Gold Coast (April 10,11)
The Glasgow trio came together running shoulder to shoulder through the middle section of the run before Wilson sped away from his green and gold team mates over the back half of the run to record a good start to a season that will include the Rio Qualifying race on the way to the WTS Grand Final in Chicago.
It was Bailie who recorded the fastest 5km run split of the Australians – clocking 15:02 to Wilson’s 15:07 and Royle’s 15:15.
Royle had appeared to come into contact with another competitor entering transition on the bike which slowed him down in the helter skelter race to the bike racks.
The season opener was won by popular Spaniard Mario Mola who produced a super run leg of 14:03 to out surge Frenchman Vincent Luis and South African training partner Richard Murray.
Portugal’s Joao Silver outsprinted former ITU world champion and Olympic bronze medallist Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) for fourth with four-time ITU world champion, defending champion and Olympic silver medallist Javier Gomez (ESP) sixth.
World Triathlon Series, Abu Dhabi
1 Mario Mola (ESP) 5:32 2 Vincent Luis (FRA) 52:45 Richard Murray (RSA) 52.50 4 Joao Silva (POR) 53.02 5 Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) 53:03 6 Javier Gomez (ESP) 53:12 7 Fernando Alarza (ESP) 53:17 8 Igor Polyanskiy (RUS) 53:18 9 Vicente Hernandez (ESP) 53:20 10 Sven Riederer (SUI) 53:28 12 Dan Wilson (AUS) 53:33 14 Ryan Bailie (AUS) 53:36 18 Aaron Royle (AUS) 53:45 58 Brendan Sexton (AUS) 57:42.