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Victoria’s Whitfield and McMahon 18th and 20th respectively

SYDNEY, Aus.—Canada’s Kathy Tremblay made a major statement in her continued quest to secure a spot on the start line at the 2012 Olympic Summer Games after putting down the race of her life with an eighth-place finish at the ITU World Triathlon Series season-opener in Sydney, Australia on Saturday.

Needing two, top-eight results in the final three World Triathlon Series races to meet Triathlon Canada’s selection criteria before the qualification period closes, the 29-year-old Montreal native dugdeep to clock a time of two hours, two minutes, 34 seconds on the course where the sport made its Olympic debut in 2000.

“This is so amazing. It is the first race I did really well all the way. I am so proud of my performance today,” said an emotional Tremblay at the finish line, who reached the World Cup podium in 2006 and 2009. “I didn’t think at all about the people in the race or about winning today. I just thought of all the little details I do every single day in training that I was able to reproduce in the race today.”

Battling to crack the top-30 over the last fouryears, Tremblay executed a perfect race, which started by diving into the waters of Farm Cove in front of the spectacular Sydney Harbour with 68 of the world’s biggest names in women’s triathlon. Tremblay took advantage of one of her best 1.5-kilometre wetsuit swims where she emerged into the first transition in 15th spot.

Tremblay remained solid during each of the eight, five-kilometre laps on the bike before putting down the 10-kiometre run of her life. Sitting in 11th spot heading into the fourth and final lap, the colourful Canuck surged into a career-best eighth place in the sprint to the finish.

“I didn’t think at all about the numbers today, but just to do my race,” said Tremblay, who celebrated with her sister who attended the race. “A top-eight was the goal. I still need to get another one, but this was a really big day for me and I’m halfway there. I’m so happy.”

Australia’s Erin Densham, who won the World Cup opener in Mooloolaba last month, hopped onto the golden step of the podium once again after setting the pace at 2:01:29. Helen Jenkins, of Great Britain, finished second at 2:01:38, while Andrew Hewitt, of New Zealand, clocked a third-place time of 2:01:45.

Vancouver’s Lauren Campbell moved up the standings after a solid run to finish 24th at 2:03:28. Winnipeg’s 22-year-old Sarah-Anne Brault withdrew in the first transition following the swim.

Meanwhile, Kyle Jones threatened his career best in the men’s race with a 13th-place finish. The 27-year-old Oakville, Ont. native punched the clock with a time of 1:52:03.

“I felt really good today. I had a good start in the swim and was comfortable in the water,” said Jones, whose best World Triathlon Series finish is a 12th-place result. “It is always quite hairy coming into the transition. I had trouble putting my shoes on. Those details matter because I had to chase hard on that first lap.

I didn’t panic and I’m happy I stayed focused. I’ve got a lot of confidence right now and I know I’ve been capable of this level of racing for a while now. I’m in a good headspace. I truly believe in what we are doing and have full confidence I have done all the work when I stand on thestart line.”

Jones, along with Victoria-based Canadians – Simon Whitfield and Brent McMahon – headed into the second transition with a pack of 60 athletes. When foot hit pavement, the youngest of the three in Jones led the Canadian charge to the finish while grabbing a spot in the top-15.

Coming off one of his largest blocks of training in New Zealand, two-time Olympic medallist, Whitfield, battled his way to an 18th-place finish with a time of 1:52:20. The 31-year-old Brent McMahon placed 20th at 1:52:22. Victoria’s Andrew Russell continued on despite crashing on the bike, but was pulled of the bike course by race officials as he was close to getting lapped.

Germany’s Steffen Justus captured the first major victory of his career after clocking a golden time of 1:51:04. Richard Murray, of South Africa, celebrated the silver medal with a time of 1:51:13, while Laurent Vidal, of France, was third at 1:51:15.

Created in 2009, the ITU World Triathlon Series is an innovative series that has the world’s best triathletes compete in eight races around the world. Starting in Sydney, athletes will also compete in the United States, Spain, Austria, Germany, Sweden and Japan before the Grand Final in Aukland, New Zealand. The next stop of the series is slated for May 10-12 in San Diego, USA.

Triathlon Canada is the governing body for triathlon in the country. Recognized as an Olympic medalsport since 2000, Triathlon Canada’s mandate is to promote, foster, organize and develop the sport of triathlon, and its related disciplines, in Canada. For more information on Triathlon Canada, please visit us at on the Internet.

Complete World Triathlon Series Results (1.5 km swim, 40 km bike, 10 km run):

Top-Five Women’s and Canadian Results:

1. Erin Densham, AUS, 2:01:29; 2. Helen Jenkins, GBR, 2:01:38; 3. Andrea Hewitt, NZL, 2:01:45; 4.Gwen Jorgensen, USA, 2:02:12; 5. Nicola Spirig, SUI, 2:02:19.

Canadian Results:

8. Kathy Tremblay, Montreal, 2:02:34; 24.. Lauren Campbell, Vancouver, 2:03:28; DNF. Sarah-Anne Brault, Winnipeg

Top-Five Men and Canadian Results:

1. Steffen Justus, GER, 1:51:04; 2. Richard Murray, RSA, 1:51:11; 3. Laurent Vidal, FRA, 1:51:14; 4. David Hauss, FRA, 1:51:28; 5. Alexander Bryukhankov, RUS, 1:51:30

Canadian Results:

13. Kyle Jones, Oakville,Ont., 1:52:03; 18. Simon Whitfield, Victoria, 1:52:20; 20. Brent McMahon, Victoria, 1:52:22