YOKOHAMA, Jpn.—Tyler Mislawchuk is proving to Canadians he is the one to watch in the future of men’s triathlon. The rookie on the elite circuit finished 21st in just his second World Triathlon Series race on Saturday in Yokohama, Japan.
The 20-year-old Mislawchuk rocked the 1.5-kilometre swim. Coming out of the water in 12th spot, the Oak Bluff, Man. native held his own with the greatest names in the sport to clock a time of 1:48:59.
Mislawchuk stayed out of trouble while settling into a large chase group on the 40-kilometre bike course where he exited second transition in 17th spot. The young Canuck backed up an 18th-place finish at his first WTS race in Australia’s Gold Coast last month with a solid run to place in 21st.
It was a heavyweight battle with the legends of the sport battling it out for the men’s podium. An epic head-to-head battle between Spain’s Javier Gomez and Great Britain’s Alistair Brownlee came down to a 100-metre sprint. Racing shoulder-to-shoulder, and matching each others surges in the final lap of the 10-kilometre run, it was Gomez breaking the finish tape when the dust finally settled. The Spaniard clocked a golden time of 1:47:00.
Brownlee was forced to settle for the silver with a time of 1:47:02. Spain’s Mario Mola clocked-in at 1:47:20 to win the bronze medal.
Andrew Yorke, of Caledon, Ont., was the only other Canadian male to suit up but pulled out of the race during the run.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day Canada’s once top-ranked women’s triathlete in the world with five World Triathlon Series wins, Paula Findlay, continued her comeback after sitting on the sidelines with a series of nagging injuries for three years.
The victories are somewhat different these days for the 25 year old. In some respects just completing a race at this point is a win in her mind. On Saturday, the Edmontonian battled through the sketchy race conditions in the women’s race to finish 25th with a time of 2:00:47.
“I don’t know what to expect right now,” said Findlay, who returned to elite racing last September at the Grand Final in Edmonton. “My motivation in training is to get back to the Olympics. I have a lot of belief in myself, and I know that I can compete with these girls, but this <comeback> is taking a lot more time than I anticipated.”
Finding the positives in any race is the key at this point of the rollercoaster journey of emotions. A solid day in the water, Findlay posted the 17th-fastest wet-suit swim time at 19:55 on Saturday in the 1.5-kilometres of choppy water. With rain pelting down as 60 of the best women’s triathletes in the world headed out on the flat and highly-technical 40-kilometre bike course, Findlay positioned herself at the front of the chase pack.
“The bike was really slippery and scary today. I’m not the most technical rider so it was definitely tough,” added Findlay.
Findlay led a chase pack back that merged on the bike with the lead group that included teammate Sarah-Anne Brault of Quebec City. Findlay did not have the legs to respond to the blistering pace set on the 10-kilometre run course.
“The races these days are just at a whole other level than what it was in 2012,” added Findlay. “It is tough to race from behind and see 23 girls blow past you. It is very difficult to stay motivated. I don’t train and race to be 25th, but I feel these race results right now don’t reflect the work and time I have committed to this.
“I have a lot of belief in myself and I know that I can compete with these women.
It is so cliché, but I know I have to be patient, stay in each race, and keep working hard.”
Findlay’s teammate, Brault, who was at the front of the bike portion of the race, dropped back to 32nd when all was said and done with a time of 2:02:17.
American Gwen Jorgensen won her ninth straight World Triathlon Series race that has spanned 12 months back to this same venue in Japan. Jorgensen smashed the field by more than one minute, winning her third straight race in Yokohama with a time of 1:57:20.
With the rest of the field left to race for silver and bronze medals, it was two Australians celebrating at the finish line. Ashleigh Gentle ran to the silver medal with a time of 1:58:33. The legendary Emma Moffatt snagged the bronze after posting a time of 1:59:03.
The World Triathlon Series now heads to Europe when the top triathletes on the planet will hit the start line at the 2012 Olympic course in London, May 30-31.
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 Internet.
Complete Results (1.5-kilometre swim, 40 kilometre bike, 10 kilometre run): www.triathlon.org
Top-Five Men’s Results:
1. Javier Gomez, ESP, 1:47:00; 2. Alistair Brownlee, GBR, 1:47:02; 3. Mario Mola, ESP, 1:47:20; 4. Mark Buckingham, GBR, 1:47:48; 5. Crisanto Grajales, MEX, 1:47:52.
21. Tyler Mislawchuk, Oak Bluff, Man., 1:48:59; DNF. Andrew Yorke, Caledon, Ont.
Top-Five Women’s Results:
1. Gwen Jorgensen, USA, 1:57:20; 2. Ashleigh Gentle, AUS, 1:58:33; 3. Emma Moffatt, AUS, 1:59:03; 4. Renee Tomlin, USA, 1:59:13; 5. Gillian Sanders, RSA, 1:59:19
25. Paula Findlay, Edmonton, 2:00:47; 32. Sarah-Anne Brault, Quebec City, 2:02:17