Andrew Yorke and Kirsten Sweetland Crack Top-10

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kirsten sweetland

Canada’s Dominika Jamnicky shines in 15th on dreary day in first-ever World Triathlon Series Race

Kirsten Sweetland 

EDMONTON – In a race decided by who can tolerate cold, rain and brutal conditions the best, Canada put down two athletes in the top-10, and three in the top-15 at the final World Triathlon Series race before the World Championships on Sunday in Edmonton.

Andrew Yorke, of Caledon, Ont., had a career-best eighth-place finish in the men’s race, while Victoria’s Kirsten Sweetland had her best race of the year in 10th spot in a race that saw air conditions plummet to 7 Celcius as rain pelted down on Edmonton’s Hawrelak Park.

The 26-year-old Yorke had the race of his life clocking a time of 53 minutes 49 seconds (53:49) in the cold, rain and heavy winds that would call for anyone outside to wear winter coats, toques and gloves rather than bathing suits.

“I just told myself ‘If you think you’re going to be cold, you will be cold.’ I just wanted to embrace it and make the best of a tough situation,” said Yorke, whose previous best finish on the World Triathlon Series was 15th last year in Yokohama, Japan. He was also the top Canadian at the recent Pan American Games where he was seventh.

“I’m so happy. This race doubled as our National Championships, and I’ve never won that before so it is pretty cool.”

Yorke sat well back of the leaders coming out of the 750-metre swim. Working hard on the bike, he was in the second of two large packs that finally formed into a group of 45 riders heading into the final lap of the 20-kilometre bike course along Edmonton’s river valley. Yorke dropped considerable spots while struggling with cold hands and feet to get his running shoes on in second transition, but bolted onto the run course where he eventually climbed into the top-10 when all was said and done.

“I think the cold hands might have cost me a shot at fighting for a medal position because I felt really awesome despite the tough conditions,” said Yorke. “I’ve been working hard to perform at the end of the season so it is coming around. It was a great day for me.”

Richard Murray, of South Africa, was strong from start-to-finish winning with a time of 53:19. Spain’s Javier Gomez hung on for the silver medal at 53:23, while countryman Mario Mola bolted up the standings with another stellar run to claim the bronze when he punched the clock at 53:34.

Tyler Mislawchuk, of Oak Bluff, Man., was in the lead pack throughout the bike and for the first lap of the run before he began to suffer a world of hurt in the cold weather. The 20-year-old rising start hung on for 19th spot with a time of 54:22. Kyle Jones, of Oakville, Ont., was 49th (56:17).

Meanwhile, it was the Canadian women who set the tone for the red and white earlier in the day.

Kirsten Sweetland was one of two Canadians to charge into the top-15 in the women’s race. Sweetland cranked out a solid 10th-place finish in the punishing conditions with a time of 59:56 in the sprint distance race.

“Being Canadian we are not really strangers to this kind of weather, but I don’t often go out in my bathing suit in this weather,” joked Sweetland. “These were pretty unique conditions. I have trained in this weather and raced in these conditions when I was 10 years old. I told myself ‘If I can do it then, then I can do it now.”

Small in stature, big in heart, the 26-year-old Sweetland was well back in the pack after the 750-metre wetsuit swim. Struggling with frozen fingers and toes, the easy-going Canuck was caught between two packs with Aussie friend, Ashleigh Gentle. Sweetland and Gentle hammered the pace on the bike where they made up time on the leaders over the four-lap 20-kilometre course before heading into the second transition.

Finishing just her third World Triathlon Series race this year while battling a bacteria infection that has kept her on the sidelines, Sweetland dug deep to pick off the world’s best on the run course where she eventually grabbed the final spot in the elusive top-10 – showing signs of the form last year where she won a bronze medal on the WTS and a silver at Commonwealth Games.

“My ideal goal today was top-10, but I thought that may be shooting a little high given my preparation and the hurdles I have had to overcome this year so I’m really pleased,” added Sweetland. “I really like my trajectory since coming back. I keep getting better and better and that is a good sign heading into Chicago for World Championships.”

Great Britain’s Vicky Holland smashed the field once foot hit pavement for the five-kilometre run around Hawrelak Park, winning with a time of 58:55. Bermuda’s Flora Duffy was second at 59:04, while Australia’s Gillian Backhouse rounded out the women’s podium in third with a time of 59:10.

Sweetland may have been the top Canuck in the women’s race, but all Canadian eyes were on a 22-year-old World Triathlon Series rookie in Dominika Jamnicky.

Competing in her first World Triathlon Series race, the Port Hope, Ont. native raced with the leaders throughout the swim and on the bike where she often took her turn at the front – a position she held heading out for the first lap of the run course.

Jamnicky hung on for 15th spot after stopping the clock at 1:00:31.

“Wow I’m absolutely on cloud nine. I swam in lead pack and biked in the lead pack with the best girls in the world. When I was second out of second transition I was like is this really happening,” said Jamnicky. “If you saw me out there I had a smile on my face the whole way around. It was an awesome day for me and a great experience.”

Jamnicky will now represent Canada in the Under-23 World Championships race in Chicago.

Calgary’s Alex Coates was the only other Canadian in the women’s field and finished 35th (1:02:40).

The Grand Final of the World Triathlon Series is set to take place, September 15-20 in Chicago. A complete list of Canadians racing in all categories is available at

 

 (750-metre swim, 20-kilometre bike, 5-kilometre run)

 

Top-Five Men and Canadian Results:

1. Richard Murray, RSA, 53:19; 2. Javier Gomez, ESP, 53:23; 3. Mario Mola, ESP, 53:34; 4. Vincent Luis, FRA, 53:39;  5. Aaron Royle, AUS, 53:40.

Canadian Results:

8. Andrew Yorke, Caledon, Ont., 53:49; 19. Tyler Mislawchuk, Oak Bluff, Man., 54:22; 49. Kyle Jones, Oakville, Ont., 56:17

Top-Five Women and Canadian Results:

1. Vicky Holland, GBR, 58:55; 2. Flora Duffy, BER, 59:04; 3. Gillian Backhouse, AUS, 59:10; 4. Carolina Routier, ESP, 59:20; 5. Anja Knapp, GER, 59:41

Canadian Results:

10. Kirsten Sweetland, Victoria, 59:56; 15. Dominika Jamnicky, Port Hope, Ont., 1:00:31; 35. Alex Coates, Calgary, 1:02:40

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