Michael Milic Wins Opening Race of Triathlon Canada Junior Series

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                                                                          Payton Ryz and Neo Gleason win youth races

 

PIKE LAKE, Sask.—British Columbia’s Michael Milic and Alberta’s Lauren Thorne captured the first men’s and women’s titles of the four-race 2015 Triathlon Canada Junior Series in Pike Lake, Saskatchewan on Saturday.

Milic, of Delta, B.C., battled through cool conditions and light rain to win his first Triathlon Canada Junior Series title with a time of 56:59 in the junior men’s race which sees the young Canucks complete a sprint distance course consisting of a 750-metre beach-start swim, 20-kilometre bike and five-kilometre run course.

“I tried to push on the bike and get away solo, but just could never get away,” said Milic, who has had a couple of frustrating seasons filled with sickness, penalties and crashes. “My run was solid and comfortable.”

Milic outlasted Martin Sobey, of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and Vancouver’s Brodie Marshall who were in a shoulder-to-shoulder sprint while clocking times at 57:15. Sobey won the silver in the photo finish, while Marshall grabbed his first podium finish with the bronze.

Calgary’s teenage para-triathlete ace, Stefan Daniel, lined up with the nation’s top juniors and finished seventh overall while clocking the fastest five-kilometre run at 15:29. It was an interesting day for Daniel who exited the water one minute down from the leaders. He rode with one athlete before suffering a flat tire on the bike where he was forced to ride solo but did not lose ground on the frontrunners.

Meanwhile, Calgary’s Lauren Thorne captured the first junior women’s crown of 2015.

Racing in the Junior Series for the first time in three years, Thorne pulled away from the field to win with a time of 1:03:37.

“I started with a decent swim which boosted my confidence, and we worked well together in the lead pack on the bike with lots of attacking so the speed stayed high and no one got away,” said Thorne, who has been known to exit transition two to fast. “I took it out easy on the run. In the last 500 metres I realized I was feeling strong, and attacked with 300 metres to go. I never realized that was the winning move!”

Winnipeg’s Kyla Roy won her first podium in 2015, and second silver medal in the last two years – following up on a second-place finish in Kelowna in 2014. Roy led the pack out of the water and drove conservatively on the opening two kilometres of the bike where she drove the pace for the group. Roy posted a time of 1:03:46. Saskatoon’s Keisha Besler thrilled the hometown crowd with a bronze-medal finish, posting a time of 1:04:51 despite a rough swim.

Payton Ryz, of Austin, won the youth girls race with a time of 38:12, while Neo Gleason, of Canmore, Alta., was the youth boys winner at 37:25. Youth athletes complete a course consisting of a 500-metre swim, 10-kilometre bike, and three kilometre run.

The Triathlon Canada Junior Series is the nation’s premier development race circuit, which allows athletes and coaches the appropriate focal points for training and monitoring athlete progression. The annual four-race series, which also includes two stops in Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta, is used by Triathlon Canada for World Junior Team selections. The Triathlon Canada Junior Series has produced a crop of rising stars for Canada on the international stage including: Joanna Brown; Ellen Pennock; Amelie Kretz; Paula Findlay; and Sarah-Anne Brault.

Canada’s top junior triathletes will now head to Quebec City for the second stop of the Tour, and the National Championships, set for July 25-26

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