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Matt Shape and Joanna Brown deliver top Canadian performances on home turf at WTS Edmonton

Edmonton's own Paula Findlay running towards the finish line Photo by Wagner Araujo / ITU Media
Edmonton’s own Paula Findlay running towards the finish line Photo by Wagner Araujo / ITU Media

Matt Sharpe shattered his career-best finish on the World Triathlon Series with an 11th-place finish in Edmonton on Sunday.

Coming off his silver-medal winning performance at the World Cup in Montreal and a third place finish in Ottawa, Sharpe cranked up the heat on a frigid day in Edmonton after clocking a time of 52:31 in the sprint distance race.

“I really tried not to have too many expectations going into this one. When you jump up to the WTS level it’s often a very humbling experience and so I just tried to execute as best I could given how the race unfolded around me,” said the 25-year-old Victoria resident, whose previous best finish was 34th.

“I’m so happy to be racing in Canada again, and to cap off the Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton triple with this is just perfect. I had a massive boost from the crowds each race and all I wanted to do is make everyone proud.”

Olympic silver medallist, Jonathan Brownlee, pulled away from the men’s field to win with a time of 51:39. Spain’s Mario Mola was second at 51:56. Richard Murray, of South Africa, held on for the bronze medal with a time of 52:01.

Xavier Grenier-Talavera, of Vaudreuil, Que., finished 19th at 52:41, while Montreal’s Alexis Lepage placed 36th with a time of 53:42.

Meanwhile, Joanna Brown of Carp, Ont., was the top Canadian woman with a solid 17th-place outing. Brown clocked a time of 58:08 in the 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre bike and five-kilometre run around Hawrelak Park.

“Overall, I’m pretty happy with the race. I’ve been slowly gaining some momentum this year and I was so happy to be in the hustle,” said Brown.

“The swim started out as a blur. I was in the middle of the pontoon so I just flailed and tried to move forward as best I could. I found some great feet on the back half of the swim and got dragged up closer to the front of the swim.

“I struggled with numb hands and feet to peel off my wetsuit. I quickly made my way up to a small pack in front and then we merged into one big pack of 20 or so. Getting off onto the run I was thinking to myself that I actually felt pretty good and I was ready to give er! I was so cold that I pretty much felt like I was running all out on two ice chunks the entire run, but I worked my way up through the field and pushed hard for the finish!”

The American women took control of the race when foot hit pavement at second transition, and swept the podium for the third time ever. Summer Cook captured her first-career victory with a time of 56:49. Sarah True grabbed the silver medal at 56:52, while Katie Zaferes completed the sweep after clocking-in at 56:56.

Edmonton’s Paula Findlay was 32nd at 59:23. Emy Legault, of L’Île Perrot, Que., was 34th (1:00:43), and Dominika Jamnicky, of Guelph, Ont., was 35th (1:01:40).