Canada’s Tyler Mislawchuk finally won his first career triathlon World Cup race!
Lined up against a stacked field of 67 athletes on one of the most prestigious triathlon races on the World Cup circuit, the determined Canadian exercised his swim, bike and run tactics to perfection, surging to a golden pace of 52:14 in the sprint distance format on one of the toughest courses on the planet.
“It is an absolute dream come true to have won a World Cup race,” said Mislawchuk, whose first career World Cup podium came last year when he won the bronze in Antwerp, Belgium.
“It is the first time a race has played out exactly how I pictured it in my head. I am so happy to have done it today here in Mooloolaba.”
A heavy favourite heading into the race, the Oak Bluff, Man. resident wasted little time showing he was all business. The soft-spoken Canuck was first out of the Australian surf after the 750-metre swim where he led many of the world’s best names onto the 20-kilometre bike course.
Mislawchuk worked his way at the front of a large pack of 30 athletes who took turns pushing the pace on each of the four laps along the Australian coast, while skillfully working their way around the tight hairpin turns.
The large pack stormed into second transition together where they switched bikes for running shoes and headed out for a mad dash that unfolded on the hilly, five-kilometre run course. When foot hit pavement off the bike, it was Mislawchuk, along with New Zealand’s Sam Ward and Australia’s Ryan Bailie leading the group onto the run.
Following a race strategy set out with his coach at Triathlon Canada’s National Performance Centre, Jono Hall, a relaxed and focused Mislawchuk quickly jumped into the front of the lead group, sending a warning shot to the world this was his day.
A monster through all three disciplines, Mislawchuk left the rest of the world to battle for silver and bronze after darting onto the blue carpet where he raised both arms in the air and broke the tape at the finish line.
“My first World Cup win. I am over the moon and just so excited,” said the veteran of the Canadian squad. “Australia is my second home. I’ve got a lot of friends out so it’s awesome to be able to do it in front of them.”
Copeland, an Olympic athlete from Australia, finished second at 52:19. Germany’s Valentin Wernz ran to the bronze medal with a time of 52:22.
Three other Canadian men were lined up on the Australian beach for the start of the race. Michael Lori, of Tecumseh, Ont., battled into eighth position with a time of 52:29. Victoria’s Matt Sharpe grabbed the final spot in the top-10 at 52:34. Alexis Lepage, of Gatineau, Que., clocked-in at 53:06 to finish 21st.
But the day belonged to Mislawchuk who was an absolute force through all three disciplines, making him the first Canadian in six years to win a World Cup triathlon race. Amelie Kretz was the last Canadian to hear her anthem played while standing atop a World Cup triathlon podium. Competing in her first World Cup race, a 20-year-old Kretz in 2013 led a podium sweep by the Canucks in Edmonton. Kretz also won a silver medal at the Mooloolaba World Cup in 2015. Kirsten Sweetland is the last Canadian to win gold in Mooloolaba when she climbed onto the top of the podium in 2009.
Kyle Jones was the last Canadian male to win a World Cup race. The 2012 Olympian also won the 2012 World Cup stop in Edmonton.
Mislawchuk is building off a comeback year in 2018, where in addition to grabbing his first World Cup podium he posted a career-best fourth-place finish on the World Triathlon Series in Yokohama. It was his best showing since a solid 15th-place result at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games – a race that capped off a year where he chalked up four, top-10 finishes.
For the season following the Olympics, Mislawchuk struggled to find is way into the top-10 while battling through a leg injury. Now healthy, fit and a renewed committment to stay focused on the process, Mislawchuk is off to a blistering start to the 2019 race season. He was 11th at the World Triathlon Series season-opener in Abu Dhabi last weekend.
“Triathlon is not an individual sport. I simply could not be here without the support from a massive network of people,” said Mislawchuk. “My coach Jono Hall did a great job setting me up to perform this weekend and I’m grateful for that.”
Earlier in the day, Desirae Ridenour was the lone Canadian to compete in the women’s sprint race. The Cowichan Bay resident finished 31st at 1:01:17.
Australia’s Ashleigh Gentle battled through the high heat to win with a time of 58:15. Renee Tomlin, of the United States, was second at 58:21. Italy’s Angelica Olmo claimed the bronze at 58:25.
Complete Men’s Results: https://bit.ly/2UDTtMv