June 28,2014(ISN) – CHICAGO—Kirsten Sweetland edged closer towards taking that elusive first step onto a
World Triathlon Series podium after putting together a season-best seventh-place
finish on Saturday in Chicago.
The pint-sized 25 year old was an absolute machine on the bike course, bouncing back
from a difficult 1.5-kilometre swim in the choppy waters of Lake Michigan, to get
into the podium hunt. Fighting through a hot, four-lap run down Columbus Drive in
the Windy City, the Victoria resident clocked a time of 1:57:08.
Sweetland put on a clinic while cycling eight times around Chicago’s famous downtown
core for the 40-kilometre bike course that featured long straightaways and hairpin
turns. Coming out of the first transition well back of the leaders in the chase
group, the gutsy Sweetland hammered the pedals to bridge the gap into a lead group
of 12 riders where she was often at the front, controlling the pace with Australia’s
Emma Moffat as the top women’s triathletes on the planet biked through sunny then
cloudy and rainy conditions.
“I had an especially rough swim and found myself a lot further back than I would
have like,” said Sweetland, who was also seventh this year in Cape Town. “I had to
bike pretty hard and corner fairly aggressively to catch on. Our pack was working
pretty well and we kept pace right through to the end. A minute lead is never a bad
With the lead group entering the second transition holding a gap of just over one
minute on the chase pack, Sweetland showed huge progress on her run while mixing it
up with the world’s best until the final three kilometres where she was running in
fourth place. Sweetland, who has a handful of World Cup medals but has never mounted
a World Triathlon Series podium, settled for seventh as the pace eventually became
too much despite the gutsy effort.
“I felt so good starting the run, but I started to overheat fairly quickly”, said
Sweetland, who also has a fifth- and sixth-place finish in her career on the World
“I have fainted before the line a few times (in my career) so I respected this and
tried to time it so I collapsed after the line which is what I did. I have to be
really happy with today.”
American Gwen Jorgensen became the most accomplished women’s triathlete after
winning her sixth World Triathlon Series race in front of the hometown crowd. In the
chase pack for the entire bike leg, the new queen of women’s triathlon made up over
one minute on the field during the run to post a winning time of 1:55:33. Canada’s
Paula Findlay and Australia’s Emma Moffat are the only two women to have won five
World Triathlon Series races.
Helen Jenkins, of Great Britain, finished 20 seconds off the pace set by Jorgensen
to claim the silver medal at 1:55:53. Japan’s Juri Ide ran to the bronze-medal step
of the podium with a time of 1:56:00.
Canada’s Joanna Brown had a difficult outing, placing 29th. The 21 year old, of
Carp, Ont., crossed the finish line with a time of 2:02:44.
The men’s elite World Triathlon Series race takes place on Sunday in Chicago. Andrew
Yorke, of Caledon, Ont., and Kyle Jones, of Oakville, Ont., will suit up for the
Canada’s paratriathletes shine in Chicago
Earlier in the day, Canada’s paratriathletes continued their stellar start to the
2014 season, combining to win three medals at the ITU Paratriathlon race in Chicago.
Earning precious qualifying points for the World Championships, Calgary’s Stefan
Daniel ran to his second straight gold medal in the men’s PT4 arm impairment
division. The 17-year-old Daniel, who also won a bronze medal at the 2013 World
Championships, clocked a golden time of 1:03:07 in the 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre
bike and five-kilometre run course.
Chris Hammer, of the United States, placed second at 1:05:25, while Australia’s Jack
Swift grabbed the bronze with a time of 1:08:06. Nelson Flamand, of St-Hubert, Que.,
narrowly missed his first podium finish after placing fourth at 1:18:52.
Canadian paratriathletes also grabbed two silver medals in Chicago. Ottawa’s David
Blair won the silver in the men’s PT5 visually impaired category. A paratriathlon
rookie, Blair and his Quebec-based guide Pierre-Yves Gigou, won their first career
medal with a time of 1:09:56. Blair was a member of Canada’s 2012 Paralympic rowing
American Aaron Scheidies won the classification with a time of 1:07:03. Italy’s
Maurizo Romeo rounded out the PT5 podium after posting a bronze-medal time of
1:10:52. Ryan Van Praet, of Chatham, Ont., and his guide, Syd Trefiak of Port Perry,
Ont., finished just off the podium in fourth at 1:12:52.
Ottawa’s Christine Robbins and her guide Lindsay Los, crossed the line second in the
women’s visually impaired category (PT5) which consisted of three athletes. The
Canadian duo won their second silver in as many races this year after stopping the
clock at 1:28:41. American Patricia Walsh won the classification with a golden time
Winnipegers, Chantal Denholm (PT4) and Kim Fawcett (PT2), both suited up in the
women’s races, but did not finish.