Canada’s Amelie Kretz and Tyler Mislawchuk matched ninth-place finishes in the women’s and men’s World Cup triathlon race on one of the most punishing courses in the world on Saturday in Mooloolaba, Australia.
Competing in her first race this season, the 24-year-old Amelie Kretz battled through the high surf and heavy winds to secure a spot in the top-10 after stopping the clock at 1:00:59 in front of thousands of fans buzzing roadside in the popular Australian beach town.
“There were definitely some positives today, but given it was the first race of the season there was a bit of rust,” said Kretz, who won the silver medal on the famed Mooloolaba course in 2015.
“I had a rough start, and got dumped by the big waves, but I didn’t panic and made my way back to the front slowly.”
Coming out of the water with the leaders of the of the 750-metre surf swim, the Blainville, Que. Olympian was dealt another dose of bad luck early in the 20-kilomtre technical bike ride when her helmet strap unclipped.
“I had to stop and clip it so I didn’t get a penalty. I lost the group there, and ended up playing catch up for the rest of the race.”
Kretz dug deep on the bike to limit the damage on the four-lap trek along Mooloolaba Esplanade where she came into second transition 15 seconds down from the lead pack.
“I had a solid run considering the work I had to do on the bike. I fought until the end and gave everything I had so I can’t be disappointed with that. I had fun today, and raced aggressively, so I have to be happy with that as well.”
Australia’s Emma Jeffcoat finished on top of the stacked field, bringing the hometown crowd to its feet after breaking the finish tape with a time of 59:35. Kirsten Kasper, of the United States, locked up the silver medal with a time of 59:51. Italy’s Angelica Olmo enjoyed a champagne shower on the bronze-medal step the podium after posting a time of 1:00:00.
Three other Canadian women also took to the beach start. Dominika Jamnicky, of Guelph, Ont., finished 12th at 1:01:20. Coming off her first World Triathlon Series race ever, Cowichan Bay, B.C. teenager, Desirae Ridenour, was 16th with a time of 1:02:13. Emy Legault, of Ile Perrot, Que., was 25th (1:05:08).
A stellar line up of 51 determined men also dove into the surf in hopes of claiming the Moololaba title.
Tyler Mislawchuk was the top Canuck in ninth spot. A solid swim and bike for the second-straight week led the 23-year-old Oak Bluff, Man. resident to a time of 53:49.
Richard Murray, of South Africa, won the men’s race with a time of 53:09. Australia’s Matthew Hauser was second at 53:13, while American Matthew McElroy ran to the brzone medal with a time of 53:17.
Other Canadian results included Victoria’s Matt Sharpe in 23rd (54:47); John Rasmussen, of Guelph, Ont., was 26th (55:09); and Regina’s Brennen Smith placed 47th (59:02).