Australia’s Ryan Bailie has fallen agonisingly close to his first World Triathlon Series podium finish in London overnight.
The 24-year-old from Wollongong finished fourth – his best ever WTS finish – after a dramatic final lap sprint with Spain’s Fernando Alarza and Frenchman Vincent Luis.
Bailie finished in 50 minutes 58 seconds – one second behind Luis (50:57) with Alarza (50.51) second in a race won by British Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee (50.39).
In his WTS rookie season, Tasmania’s Jacob Birtwhistle, 9th in Yokohama a fortnight ago, again revelled in top company, finishing 11th – clocking the third fastest 5km run split of the day – 14:23.
Fellow Australians were Aaron Royle (23rd), Ryan Fisher (24th) Declan Wilson (52nd) and Brendan Sexton (53rd).
In a Sprint Distance format (750m swim; 20km bike; 10km run) there was no time for error or mishap.
After the wetsuit swim Brownlee led the lead pack around Hyde Park alongside Royle, working hard for the Australians and Luis in an 18-man pack.
Expert sprinters Mario Mola (ESP) and Richard Murray (RSA) also missed the first group and were forced to start from a deficit on the two-lap run, but stormed home with Murray 5th, clocking the fastest 5km run split 14:12 and Mola (14th) running 14:22.
Luis and Brownlee continued their quest for a podium as they took the top spot early on the 2-lap run, with Bailie running his heart out, only to fall short, leaving him disappointed.
“I actually felt sluggish all day and I was lucky to make the front pack with Aaron (Royle) doing a lot of work on the bike for us,” said Bailie.
“In the run I just didn’t feel that flash and thought about things to take my mind away and in the end I just didn’t have the kick to get on the podium.
“It was disappointing, as an athlete you always want more, I guess and I really wanted a podium and I just felt short.”
It was Brownlee who left nothing to chance and blasted away on the first lap to create an insurmountable gap. A gap that would lead him right into the finish line and right into the position of hearing Great Britain’s national anthem alongside his national people.