Canada’s Paratriathlon team will head into the Paralympic year with a lot of confidence following a gold and bronze-medal performance at the 2019 World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland on Sunday.
Calgary’s Stefan Daniel won his fourth career title in the men’s standing division, while Jessica Tuomela (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.) and her guide Marianne Hogan (Montreal) climbed onto their first World Championship podium after taking the bronze in the women’s visually impaired sprint distance race.
“It was a great day and feels good to win this one,” said the 22-year-old Daniel following his third-straight World Championship victory.
“These guys out here are challenging me every race and pushing me to be better. It is good to head into the Paralympic year having won the last three (World Championships).”
Daniel, a 2016 Paralympic silver medallist, was solid through the 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre bike and five-kilometre run course.
“I tried to have a good swim and keep within a reasonable distance of (George) Peasgood,” added Daniel. “After I passed him on the first lap of the bike, I kept it consistent. The bike was hilly, which was perfect for me, but I didn’t feel the need to cook it because I knew I could take it on the run.”
Daniel, who was unbeaten in all three World Paratriathlon Series races in 2019, surged to the victory when foot hit the pavement, finishing just over one minute ahead of the reigning Paralympic champion from Germany, Martin Schulz, who clocked-in at 1:02:13.
Chris Hammer, of the United States, posted a third-place time of 1:03:39.
Canada’s Jessica Tuomela and Marianne Hogan continued their hot streak since joining forces three months ago.
Feeding off their first World Cup victory, the Canadian speed queens rocketed to a bronze-medal time of 1:17:13. Tuomela was fourth at the 2018 World Championships.
“It came as a bit of a surprise to be honest,” said the 36-year-old Tuomela. “I feel I’m still a bit of a development athlete, and on the bubble, but I know it’s in there. When it comes out it feels awesome and that is really exciting.”
The three-time Paralympic swimmer managed the high, open-water surf, and the rocky exit out of the water and ran through the long transition onto the bike where the 29-year-old Hogan took control – guiding the tandem up and down the hilly, technical course.
“The bike was our biggest concern, but we handled it well, attacked every hill and pushed through and progressed through the run,” said Hogan.
“Marianne did an excellent job managing the bike. We went after it with confidence knowing the work was done. We just had to go out there and do it,” added Tuomela. “The hills were tough going up and we were flying coming down, which is my favourite part.”
Tuomela rebounded after a stumble midway through the five-kilometre run course to continue her quest for the podium.
“When I got to the run my legs didn’t feel good climbing the hills. We kept trying to progress and were getting faster and faster. I took a little tumble. That happens when you are a blind athlete, but I picked myself up and kept going,” said Tuomela, who trains under head coach Carolyn Murray at Triathlon Canada’s National Performance Centre in Victoria.
Spain’s Susana Rodriguez won the gold medal in the women’s visually impaired race with a time of 1:14:11. Melissa Reid was second at 1:16:11.
In the women’s PTS5 category, Kamylle Frenette finished fourth for the second-straight year. The 23-year-old from Dieppe, N.B. punched the clock at 1:14:44.
Great Britain grabbed the gold and silver medals. Claire Cashmore won the gold at 1:12:42. Lauren Steadman was second at 1:12:45. American, Grace Norman, ran to the bronze medal with a time of 1:14:02.
Ottawa’s Jon Dunkerley and his guide, James Cook from Summerland, B.C., placed 13th in the men’s visually impaired race with a time of 1:11:18.
Complete World Paratriathlon Championship Results: