Earlier this week, Canada’s Tyler Mislawchuk declared he was going for gold at this weekend’s World Cup triathlon stop in Huatulco, Mexico. The number-one ranked athlete in the deep men’s field did exactly that, capturing his second World Cup victory in 2019, and of his career, on Sunday.
The Oak Bluff, Man. battled through the extreme Mexican heat where he ran away from the field to post a winning time of 55:04 in the sprint distance race.
“You can see how I look. It was hot today. I felt okay though. I ran my own race from the start, and it worked out,” said an exhausted Mislawchuk, who in March became the first Canadian in six years to climb onto to the top of the World Cup podium.
“I never thought I would win once in my career, so to win two, I’m over the moon. We the north!”
After giving a nod to the Toronto Raptors looking for one more win to claim their first NBA title, the Oak Bluff, Man. native reflected on a race he hopes will draw a lot from in one year’s time at the 2020 Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo, which is expected to be staged under similarly hot conditions.
Mislawchuk demonstrated his strength in the heat, taking advantage of a stellar 750-metre beach-start swim, where he was first out of the water and onto the bike for the four laps on the relatively flat cycling course. Hopping off the bike with a large pack of riders strung out in second transition, the 24-year-old Mislawchuk took control of the race when foot hit the pavement.
“Everyone was really close together after one kilometre, but you could see the heat having an effect on people,” said Mislawchuk, who made a bold move early in the first of two laps en route to the gold medal.
“It is always harder to run by yourself, and not feed off people, but I figured I’d take it from the gun. It was a risk, but it paid off today. The fans here in Mexico welcomed me home like I was one of their own. It was pretty special. I am heading to my own home Monday to see my family for the first time in six months and I can’t wait to have a beer with the parents and celebrate.”
Mislawchuk began his celebrations on Sunday by sharing a bottle of champagne on top of the World Cup podium with American Morgan Pearson, who finished second at 55:11, and Manoel Messias, of Brasil, who clocked a time of 55:19 to finish third.
Victoria’s Matt Sharpe was the only other Canadian to crack the top-10, finishing in sixth place with a time of 55:31. Alexis Lepage, of Gatineau, Que., placed 11th at 55:38.
It has been quite a rollercoaster ride for Mislawchuk since 2016 where he was regularly mixing it up with the world’s elite.
In the year following his Olympic debut in Rio, Mislawchuk struggled to find his way into the top-10 while battling through a leg injury. Now healthy, fit, a renewed commitment to stay focused on the process, and a move to Triathlon Canada’s National Performance Centre in Victoria to work with coach Jono Hall, the soft-spoken Canadian is off to a blistering start to the 2019 race season with the 2020 Games now in sight.
Over the last year, he has three World Cup podium finishes, a career-best fourth-place finish on the World Triathlon Series in Yokohama and is regularly scrapping it out with the top-15 triathletes in the world.
Mislawchuk’s Olympic teammate in 2016, Amelie Kretz, who was also the last Canadian to hear her anthem played while standing atop a World Cup triathlon podium in 2013, was the top Canuck in the women’s World Cup sprint race on Sunday.
The 26-year-old from Blainville, Que., struggled through the warm water and high humidity, to finish 12th with a time of 1:01:54.
“It was a tough race today. The goal was to just stay cool for as long as possible,” said Kretz. “I had a rough start on the swim but was able to make my way back to the main group. It was a pretty sketchy ride with a lot of nervous girls on the rough pavement, so I stayed near the front. The run was tough. I was overheating the whole way, but I started to feel better on the second lap.
“I’m slowly making my way back to where I want to be, but still have a lot of work to do.”
Summer Rappaport, of the United States, took top spot in the women’s race with a time of 1:00:56. Russia’s Alexandra Razarenova posted a silver-medal time of 1:01:05, while Austria’s Lisa Perterer won the dash for the bronze medal at 1:01:18.
Complete Men’s Results: https://www.triathlon.org/results/result/2019_huatulco_itu_triathlon_world_cup/336926
Complete Women’s Results: https://www.triathlon.org/results/result/2019_huatulco_itu_triathlon_world_cup/336927
Joanna Brown Finishes 16th at World Triathlon Series in Leeds
Joanna Brown was the lone Canadian to toe the line across the pond at the World Triathlon Series in Leeds, Great Britain on Sunday.
The 26-year-old dug deep from the sound of the gun to hang on through the 1.5-kilometre swim, 40-kilometre ride and 10-kilometre run where she posted a 16th place time of 1:59:48 on what is recognized as one of the most grueling triathlon courses in the world.
“It was far from a solid day for me,” said Brown. “That is definitely one of the hardest races on the circuit, and I just suffered from the gun. It was a pretty low energy day all around, but I did my best to minimize the gap on the bike and get used to running on tired legs.”
Georgia Taylor-Brown, of Great Britain, thrilled the home crowd with a golden run to claim the title in Leeds with a time of 1:55:46.
American Katie Zaferes was the next best finisher, 11 seconds back, at 1:55:57. Jessica Learmonth, also of Great Britain, grinded out the bronze-medal effort with a time of 1:57:22.
Balancing a full-time schedule on the World Triathlon Series, Brown will now travel down the highway to Nottingham, Great Britain, where she will hook up with her Canadian teammates – Amelie Kretz, Alexis Lepage and Michael Lori – for the World Triathlon Mixed Relay Series.
“I’m doing my best to learn as much as I can from every race and just keep being honest with where I’m at after each race,” added Brown. “I’m looking forward to having a few days to recover, reflect on some next steps, and being part of the relay team next weekend.”
Complete WTS Women’s Results: https://www.triathlon.org/results/result/2019_aj_bell_world_triathlon_leeds/336922