Smiling Paula Findlay Celebrates Silver Medal at Triathlon World Cup in Colombia
CARTAGENA, COL.—Canada’s Paula Findlay put a silver lining around her comeback to elite triathlon racing after winning the silver medal as the World Cup made its first stop in Cartagena, Colombia on Sunday.
Building on a 15th-place finish at the Grand Final and narrowly missing the podium at last week’s World Cup where she was fourth, the 25-year-old Edmontonian capped off her season with her first podium finish while lining up against many of the world’s best in nearly six years. The determined red-head clocked a time of one hour, 55 minutes, 30 seconds (1:55:30) on the Olympic distance course.
“It was really good today. It is a relief almost to be back where I want to be and not feel like I’m chasing from behind,” said Findlay. “I led the run today. I felt super relaxed and smooth the whole way. It was a lot of fun and feels great.”
Findlay came out of the water in the middle of the pack after the 1.5-kilometre swim, but quickly bridged into familiar territory in the first lap of the 40-kilometre bike where she locked onto the back of Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig’s wheel until second transition where her and Findlay bolted onto the 10-kilometre run course.
“I didn’t have a great swim, but I worked with Spirig the whole way on the bike,” said Findlay. “I just felt amazing on the run, and it was like the old days where I was right up at the front and that is where I feel like I race the best. I felt the way I used to.
“My run fitness is coming back, but I knew Nicola was going to surge away from me at some point. I just tried to string it out as long as I could. I respect Nicola so much. She has always been my idol. I tried to go with her, but finishing second to her is pretty good. It was so much fun today.”
Pulling away with one kilometre to go, Spirig won for the second-straight week. The 2012 Olympic champ separated herself from the field on the 10-kilometre run, topping Findlay by nine seconds. Belgium’s Katrien Verstuyft rounded out the women’s podium in third place with a time of 1:55:46.
After battling injuries for much of the last five years, Findlay who was once the number-one ranked women’s triathlete in the world, reintroduced herself to elite racing last month where she showcased glimpses of her old self with an impressive finish at the ITU Grand Final in her hometown of Edmonton. It was her first Olympic distance race at an elite level since making her Olympic debut in 2012.
“The whole experience has made me appreciate racing more. Everything comes back to confidence. I now believe that winning is possible, not easy, but definitely within my reach,” said Findlay. “My approach now is so different. I go into these races now not afraid or intimidated. The feelings I had today are what I missed. I was aggressive, in good position, and relaxed.”
Findlay believes the emotional rollercoaster has helped make her a better athlete today.
“Sitting in my bedroom back in May in tears with a broken pelvis, I never would have thought I’d be in this position, but this just shows how great Siri’s (Lindley) training program is for me. She deserves this medal too. I have belief in myself now. I know I’m not at the level to win a World Triathlon Series race yet, but I also know it is in my reach. This result gives me confidence to know I can do that. But the most important thing is I’m healthy and having fun.”
Men’s results were available at this time. Results should be available later in the day at www.triathlon.org
A trio of Canadians will suit up in the final World Cup of the year set for Tongyeong, October 18.