Tom Bishop clinched the first World Triathlon Series podium finish of his career with a silver medal in Abu Dhabi.
The 25-year-old finished second behind reigning champion Javier Gomez of Spain, becoming only the sixth British male ever to podium at a WTS event behind the Brownlee brothers, Stuart Hayes, Tim Don and Will Clarke.
Bishop had been shoulder-to-shoulder with Gomez with just three laps to go of the run, after the duo had opened up a minute gap over the rest of the field on the bike.
But the five-time World champion sprinted clear to seal the gold medal, with Bishop crossing the line 14 seconds behind.
“I can't quite believe it to be honest but I had a plan. I had a feeling that it might all come together,” said Bishop, whose previous best had been fifth in Edmonton last year.
“I wasn't sure how it was going to go as it's the first race of the season, but when I found myself in the front group and there was a bit of a gap I was trying to work as hard as I could.
“It was tough. Some of the guys out there were riding really strong and I just did what I could to keep the group going.
“I got to the run and my back was pretty sore so I had to warm myself into it but luckily I had Gomez to pace me through. I thought he's a good act to follow and I tried to hang on to him as long as I could, and that dragged me into second.”
Frenchman Vincent Luis completed the podium line-up, picking up the bronze medal 23 seconds behind Bishop, with fellow Brits Marc Austin and Adam Bowden finishing 14th and 20th respectively while Grant Sheldon did not finish.
Double Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee and brother Jonny – who won silver in Rio – did not compete in Abu Dhabi.
But Bishop more than stepped up in their absence, and admits he couldn’t be happier to be making his mark on the international scene.
“Jonny and Alistair have set the bar for the British team alongside the women,” he added.
“I look up to those guys and that is the pinnacle of the sport in the world, so if I can get anywhere near them, I know that I’m doing a good job.”
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