Mola begins world triathlon defense by winning opening race

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Mario Mola began his bid for a fourth successive world triathlon championship in style when he won the series opener in Abu Dhabi by three seconds on Friday.

Mola made his move on the 10-kilometer run with 1,700 meters to go, and Alex Yee of Britain hung off his shoulder to finish second in his series debut.

A closing sprint from Fernando Alarza of Spain lifted him from fifth to third.

Meanwhile, Katie Zaferes of the United States won her second career world series event with a near-perfect women's race.

Vincent Luis of France led out of the men's swim. Mola and Yee were among the chasing pack on the cycle leg that caught the leaders.

Hayden Wilde of New Zealand was first on the run, and Yee passed him halfway in, then Mola passed the Briton.

In the women's race, Zaferes was first out of the swim, and led a pack of six at the end of the 20-kilometer cycle leg, a minute up on the chasers.

Zaferes made a break at the start of the run, followed by fellow American Taylor Spivey. They finished 1-2, Zaferes ahead by 26 seconds. Jessica Learmonth of Britain edged Taylor Knibb to prevent an all-American podium.

The second leg is in Bermuda on April 27.

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