—Kyle Jones leads men in 18th, Kirsten Sweetland top Canadian woman in 22nd—
Rio de Janeiro—The results were not what was planned for, but Canada’s triathletes will leave Rio with a course filled with valuable lessons as they ready themselves for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games.
Kyle Jones, of Oakville, Ont., led the Canadians with an 18th-place finish, while Victoria’s Kirsten Sweetland battled through the tough heat and challenging layout to finish as the top female Canuck in 22nd.
Competing in his first full race since the spring after being sidelined with concussion symptoms sustained after a crash on the bike, Jones was solid in the 1.5-kilometre ocean swim at Copacabana Beach before working in the chase pack on the 40-kilometre bike course. Jones persevered through the intense heat to clock a time of one hour, 50 minutes 38 seconds (1:50:38).
Andrew Yorke, of Caledon, Ont., was 20th at 1:50:50, while Tyler Mislawchuk, of Oak Bluff, Man., placed 34th at 1:51:53.
Javier Gomez earned Spain a spot on the Olympic start list after winning the men’s race with a time of 1:48:36. Vincent Luis, of France, was second at 1:48:40, while South Africa’s Richard Murray held on for the bronze medal with a time of 1:49:01.
Canada’s Kirsten Sweetland continued her comeback to elite racing form after missing the entire year with a series of health issues. The 26-year-old Victoria resident was a force on the swim and bike before dropping back into the field in the 10-kilometre run. Sweetland clocked-in at 2:02:56.
“It was really important for me to have a good swim and assess the bike course to see how hard it is,” said Sweetland. “I felt really good and strong which will boost my confidence and help me in the future. I am running better, but I think when my running legs are back things will be good.”
While a top-eight Olympic qualifier result is the ultimate goal, the day was about reviewing the course and experiencing racing through the heat.
“I was thinking about it (the heat) today. On the bike course it is hard because your core temp is already up,” said Sweetland, who crumbled after crossing the finish line. “I have fainted before the finish line in an Olympic qualifier before so it was good to get to the other side of the line today. If I could make a course myself it would be something like this one in Rio so I’m looking forward to the year ahead.”
Gwen Jorgensen continued to confirm she is the one to beat in the Olympic women’s race in one year’s time. The American hammered the field again to post a winning time of 1:58:46. Non Stanford, of Great Britain, was second at 1:59:06, while Vicky Holland, also of Great Britain, placed third at 1:59:27.
Sarah-Anne Brault, of Quebec City, placed 41st (2:06:29), while Edmonton’s Paula Findlay was 43rd (2:06:54).
Top-Five Women’s Results:
1. Gwen Jorgensen, USA, 1:58:46; 2. Non Stanford, GBR, 1:59:06; 3. Vicky Holland, GBR, 1:59:27; 4. Sarah True, USA, 1:59:46; 5. Barbara Riveros, CHI, 2:00:08
22. Kirsten Sweetland, Victoria, 2:02:56; 41. Sarah-Anne Brault, Quebec City, 2:06:29; 43. Paula Findlay, Edmonton, 2:06:54.
Top-Five Men’s Results:
1. Javier Gomez, ESP, 1:48:36; 2. Vincent Luis, FRA, 1:48:40; 3. Richard Murray, RSA, 1:49:01; 4. David Hauss, FRA, 1:49:32; 5. Dmitry Polyanskiy, RUS, 1:49:32
18. Kyle Jones, Oakville, Ont., 1:50:38; 20. Andrew Yorke, Caledon, Ont., 1:50:50; 34. Tyler Mislawchuk, Oak Bluff, Man., 1:51:53