April 6 ISN – AUCKLAND, NZL—Canada’s Sarah-Anne Brault came agonizingly close to her first career
podium on the World Triathlon Series by finishing fourth at the season-opener in
Auckland, New Zealand on Sunday.
“I’m super happy. It is so much higher than I expected. It is ridiculous,” said Brault.
Charging out of the second transition in 16th spot after the punishing 40-kilometre
bike course, the 24-year-old Winnipegger wasted no time picking off the field,
blasting her way to the lead of the chase pack in fourth after the first of four
laps on the pavement. Leading the chase group filled with five of the greatest
women’s names in the sport, Brault held that position until the final 500 metres.
“I really worked on learning to swim over the last two months so coming out in the
lead group was awesome today,” said Brault. “I came back in the bike and the biggest
thing in the run was not to get intimidated by the names around me. I knew I can
run. That is what I do.”
With Great Britain’s world number one, Jodie Stimpson, running comfortably to gold,
Germany’s Anne Haug pulled away from the pack for the silver medal, leaving Brault
was in a fight for the bronze with Helen Jenkins, of Great Britain. The redheaded
Canuck matched the Brit shoulder-to-shoulder, but ran out of gas once hitting the
blue carpeted finishing stretch where she was forced to settle for fourth spot.
Brault completed the epic course with a time of 2:09:15 while posting the
fourth-fastest 10-kilomotre run time of the day at 35:29.
“On the run I was scared not to lead the pack. I didn’t want to drop back because I
didn’t know if I could get back up. I just need to continue to learn to race at this
level. I have been working with our new coach this year (Jamie Turner) and it really
seems to be paying off for me.”
“My best World Triathlon Series finish was 11th in Hamburg last year. That was a
surprise and this is even bigger, added Brault. “I don’t think this changes anything
for me. My goal is to race WTS. I think this locks up a Commonwealth Games spot,
which was a big goal for me this year.
On a world-class course that tests the complete triathlete with major hills in
downtown Auckland, Stimpson held on to the back of a bike breakaway before smashing
the run to take the season-opening race with a time of 2:08:34. Haug turned on the
jets in the second half of the run to clock-in at 2:08:59 for the silver while
posting the fastest run split time. Jenkins held off Brault with a bronze-medal time
Brault is one of a handful of rising women stars on Canada’s triathlon squad. After
knocking off five-time World Triathlon Series winner, Paula Findlay, at the 2011
Canadian Championships, Brault had a stellar 2012 season where she won a silver and
bronze medal on the World Cup circuit in addition to a handful of Continental Cup
podiums. A track-and-field standout athlete at the West Virginia Mountaineers,
Brault missed the majority of the 2013 season with a stress fracture.
Recovering from injury, the smooth-going Brault hit the start line for the first
time in nearly one year just three weeks ago where she won an Oceania Cup Olympic
distance race in Australia.
Three other Canadian women suited up on Sunday with Brault. Joanna Brown, of Carp,
Ont., was 17th (2:12:06) thanks to stellar second lap on the bike where she bridged
from the second to lead pack; Calgary’s Ellen Pennock finished 23rd (2:13:28); while
Victoria’s Kirsten Sweetland placed 29th (2:15:13).
Following the women’s race, a trio of Canadian men toed the line. Andrew Yorke, of
Caledon, Ont., was the lone Canadian to finish the race, placing 27th with a time of
1:58:56. Kyle Jones, of Oakville, Ont., and Victoria’s Andrew McCartney pulled out
mid-way through the race and did not finish.
Spain’s Javier Gomez won for the third straight time in Auckland. The Olympic silver
medallist, and reigning World Champion posted a golden time of 1:54:13.
Gomez outlasted Jonathan Brownlee, who was forced to settle for the silver medal
with a time of 1:54:33. Australia’s Aaron Royle rounded out the men’s podium in
third at 1:55:49.
Live Coverage of the World Triathlon Series can be seen at TriathlonLIVE.tv:
http://goo.gl/bQ9jjo A 90-minute feature around the women’s season-opening World
Triathlon Series race from Auckland, NZL will be aired on Sportsnet One, April 6 at
9:30 p.m. EST. The men’s race will also be shown on April 6 at 11 p.m. EST.
The next stop of the eight race World Triathlon Series, which culminates with the
Grand Final in Edmonton, is set for Cape Town, South Africa, April 26-27.
Triathlon Canada is the governing body for triathlon in the country. Recognized as
an Olympic medal sport since 2000 and Paralympic medal sport as of 2016, 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 www.triathloncanada.com on the
Complete Results (1.5-kilometre swim, 40 kilometre bike, 10 kilometre run):
Top-Five Women’s Results:
1. Jodie Stimpson, GBR, 2:08:34; 2. Anne Haug, GER, 2:08:59; 3. Helen Jenkins, GBR,
2:09:10; 4. Sarah-Anne Brault, Winnipeg, CAN, 2:09:15; 5. Sarah Groff, USA, 2:09:20.
Other Canadian Results:
17. Joanna Brown, Carp, Ont., 2:12:06; 23. Ellen Pennock, Calgary, 2:13:28; 29.
Kirsten Sweetland, Victoria, 2:15:13.
Top-Five Men’s Results:
1. Javier Gomez, ESP, 1:54:13; 2. Jonathan Brownlee, GBR, 1:54:33; 3. Aaron Royle,
AUS, 1:55:49; 4. Dan Wilson, AUS, 1:55:52; 5. Ryan Baillie, AUS, 1:55:59
27. Andrew Yorke, Caledon, Ont., 1:58:56; DNF. Kyle Jones, Oakville, Ont.; DNF.
Andrew McCartney, DNF.