Kyle Jones finishes 15th, Xavier Grenier-Talavera battles to 26th
HUATULCO, Mex.—Andrew Yorke had the best World Cup race of the early 2016 season through some of the most difficult conditions by finishing seventh on Sunday in Huatulco, Mexico.
“I am just happy to put together a performance that is closer to where I feel I am with my training. It was just the lift I needed heading into Yokohama (World Triathlon Series) next week,” said Yorke, who has traditionally had success racing tough courses.
“This is probably the hardest race on the calendar and requires you to race with a lot of discipline. I did some serious heat prep in order to get ready for Huatulco, and having grown up riding a bike in the Caledon hills I’ve got a lifetime of short steep hills to draw upon.”
Yorke, 27, capitalized on his experience to finish as the top Canuck in seventh sport at 1:59:16 under intense early-morning heat in the Olympic distance race.
Yorke and his two Canadian comrades all exited the water in a large lead group with 10 seconds separating them from the leaders. Many of the top athletes attempted breaks in the first three of eight laps on the lightening-quick 40-kilometre bike, but were unsuccessful.
Dodging near accidents and dropped chains, the Canadians stayed near the front of half of the pack as the steep hill stretched out the field.
“I had an average swim and quickly made the lead group on the bike. The first time up the hill I knew would be the hardest so I focused on finding my rhythm and finding what the best place to position myself was,” said Yorke, who added the key to success was hydration and food. “I had a terrible T2 so I had my work cut out for me early in the run, but I let myself find a rhythm and then made a move at 3 kilometres to go. I had plenty in the tank and was able to move up.”
Etienne Diemunsch, of France, took off on the 10-kilometre run where he opened a 45 second gap on the field prior to the mid-way mark, leaving the rest of the world jockeying for position behind him. Diemunsch ran to the victory with a time of 1:58:23.
Jelle Geens, of Belgium, was second at 1:58:40, while Australia’s Drew Box locked up the bronze medal with a time of 1:58:42.
Kyle Jones, of Oakville, Ont., also had a steady run where he continued to pick off spots until he finally ended up in 15th with a time of 1:59:59.
Xavier Grenier-Talavera, of Vaudreuil, Que., rebounded after struggling early in the run. The young 20-year-old dug deep to tackle the challenging course against some of the most experienced competitors in the world, clocking a 26th-place time of 2:02:27.
Canada’s top triathletes will now head to Yokohama for the final World Triathlon Series race, May 14-15, in the Olympic selection process.
Top-Five Men’s and Canadian Results:
1. Etienne Diemunsch, FRA, 1:58:23; 2. Jelle Geens, BEL, 1:58:40; 3. Drew Box, AUS, 1:58:42; 4. Danilo Pimentel, BRA, 1:59:01; 5. Anton Ruanova, BRA, 1:59:02.
7. Andrew Yorke, Caledon, Ont., 1:59:16; 15. Kyle Jones, Oakville, Ont., 1:59:59; 26. Xavier Grenier-Talavera, Vaudreil, Que., 2:02:27