Mola will go after a straight hat-trick of ITU World Championship titles.

Spain’s Mario Mola stands on the cusp of a remarkable double-triple for Spanish triathlon as he chases a feat only previously achieved by compatriot Javier Gomez in 2015: a straight hat-trick of ITU World Championship titles.

Read the preview from Triathlon.org below:

Wins in 2016 and 2017 already sealed Mola’s place in the pantheon of the sport’s greats, but victory in the 2018 ITU Grand Final would cap an incredible few years on the front line of triathlon.

Finishing anywhere in the top 14 on Sunday afternoon in Australia’s beautiful Gold Coast will guarantee the 28-year-old his third world title in as many years, and it is a familiar circuit on which he has secured the gold in both of his last two attempts.

The Olympic-distance course takes in two laps of the calm inlet waters off Mitchell Park before the athletes head out on to a tight, flat eight-lap bike circuit and round off the race with four laps on foot.

Hot on Mola’s heels will be home favourite Jacob Birtwhistle, a man who has mastered the art of the sprint over the final kilometers in recent outings and one of the few that can match the Spaniard’s sheer pace on foot. A finish outside of the top six would leave the world title out of his grasp, so the Australian is sure to deliver an explosive display in a bid to pile the pressure on his rivals and give himself the best possible chance.

Vincent Luis, who topped the podium at the 2017 Grand Final in Rotterdam, still has a mathematical chance of taking the title. Six top 10 finishes, including three podiums, underlines his consistency so far this campaign.

Two South Africans will undoubtedly be challenging for the medals, Richard Murray’s victory in Leeds and third place in Hamburg proving his highlights so far in an unpredictable year, while Henri Schoeman flew out of the blocks with gold in WTS Abu Dhabi and the Commonwealth Games before losing some of that rhythm after finishing eighth in Bermuda.

Norway’s powerful Kristian Blummenfelt has continued his excellent form from the end of 2017 with three WTS silvers this year and would love to finally land a first WTS gold medal on Sunday. Canada’s Tyler Mislawchuk would also love to find himself on the world series podium for the first time.

Great Britain’s Brownlee brothers will race together at the top level for the first time this year. Alistair Brownlee has been restricted to appearances at the Commonwealth Games and European Championships so far this campaign, while Jonathan has had a difficult season getting back to his best, coming off his bike while well-placed in Abu Dhabi and not being able to show his usual run strength.

How to Follow the Race
The men will compete at 3 p.m. Sunday local time (10 p.m. PT Saturday/1 a.m. ET Sunday). Watch at Triathlonlive.tv, or follow along on Twitter at @Triathlonlive and with the hashtag #WTSGoldCoast.

ITU WTS Gold Coast Men’s Elite Start List
1 Mario Mola ESP
2 Jacob Birtwhistle AUS
3 Vincent Luis FRA
4 Richard Murray RSA
5 Kristian Blummenfelt NOR
6 Fernando Alarza ESP
7 Henri Schoeman RSA
8 Tyler Mislawchuk CAN
9 Andreas Schilling DEN
10 Marten Van Riel BEL
11 Pierre Le Corre FRA
12 Joao Silva POR
14 Jonathan Brownlee GBR
15 Sam Ward NZL
16 Dorian Coninx FRA
17 Casper Stornes NOR
18 Aaron Royle AUS
19 Thomas Bishop GBR
20 Ryan Bailie AUS
21 Alois Knabl AUT
22 Gustav Iden NOR
23 Jelle Geens BEL
24 Luke Willian AUS
25 Rostislav Pevtsov AZE
26 Rodrigo Gonzalez MEX
27 Matthew McElroy USA
28 Richard Varga SVK
29 Matthew Sharpe CAN
30 Eli Hemming USA
31 Joao Pereira POR
32 Crisanto Grajales MEX
33 Justus Nieschlag GER
34 Gábor Faldum HUN
35 Marco Van Der Stel NED
36 Irving Perez MEX
37 Lukas Hollaus AUT
38 Adrien Briffod SUI
39 Sylvain Fridelance SUI
40 Tamás Tóth HUN
41 Uxio Abuin Ares ESP
42 Shachar Sagiv ISR
43 Russell White IRL
44 Morgan Pearson USA
45 Makoto Odakura JPN
46 Vicente Hernandez ESP
47 Igor Polyanskiy RUS
48 Dmitry Polyanskiy RUS
49 Ryan Fisher AUS
50 Jonas Schomburg GER
51 Bob Haller LUX
52 Jumpei Furuya JPN
53 Domen Dornik SLO
54 Christophe De Keyser BEL
55 Yuichi Hosoda JPN
56 Manoel Messias BRA
57 Jorik Van Egdom NED
58 Miguel Arraiolos POR
59 Frantisek Linduska CZE
60 Felipe Barraza CHI
61 Alexandre Nobre POR
62 Badr Siwane MAR
63 Alistair Brownlee  GBR
64 Jan Celustka CZE
65 Benjamin Shaw IRL
66 Francesc Godoy Contreras ESP