At today’s press conference in Montreal, the 2018 International Triathlon presented by Sportium, welcomed a few of the best athletes in the world. Names included last year’s winner Ashleigh Gentle (AUS), Commonwealth champion Henri Schoeman (RSA), and Quebecers Alexis Lepage (CAN) and Charles Paquet (CAN).
When asked why Gentle continues to come back to Montreal, she responded with a big smile while reminiscing about her two previous experiences. “Year after year, Montreal is one of my favourite stops, not only because of the quality of the course, but the competition and the city are very symbolic for me. It’s where I won my first WTS race,” said Gentle.
This weekend, Schoeman will be competing in his first competition on the WTS since winning the Commonwealth Games in April. “Montreal is a crucial race for me before the world championships on the Gold Coast in mid-September. I am fit and healthy after some time away from racing, and ready to have a good performance in Montreal,” says Schoeman.
This weekend, 23 of the top 20 triathletes in the world (men & women) will be competing in Montreal. Two triathletes to keep an eye on will be world leaders, Katie Zaferes (USA) and Mario Mola (ESP). Some of the top challengers this weekend will be Vicky Holland (GBR), Jacob Birtwhistle (AUS), Rachel Klamer (NED), Richard Murray (RSA), Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) and Henri Schoeman (RSA). However, with many of the world’s best triathletes competing in Montreal ahead of the world championships, the number of contenders for the win and podium positions is long.
Canadians to keep an eye on
This weekend, Canada boasts a large team. Tyler Mislawchuk, Canada’s best-ranked triathlete (currently 11th) will lead the men’s team of Matthew Sharpe, Alexis Lepage, John Rasmussen, Charles Paquet and Taylor Forbes. On the women’s side, Joanna Brown and Amelie Kretz will fly the flag for Canada.
This weekend will be Kretz’s homecoming race on the international stage. “I’m looking forward to this weekend. It’s my first time racing on the international stage in Montreal, and I can’t wait to show Montreal, Quebec and Canada what triathlon is all about. Plus, my family and friends will be able to watch me race,” says Kretz.
Mislawchuk hopes to have a top result this weekend to catapult himself into the top 10. With four of the five athletes just ahead of him sitting out, Mislawchuk knows this is his shot to move up considerably in the rankings. “Right now, I’m sitting 11th, but with many of the guys in front of me maxed out on races, I have a big opportunity Sunday to move up.”
At the 2017 world championships in Rotterdam, Brown came fifth. This year the Canadian has had an up and down season following her bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games. As she heads into the weekend and world championships in September, Brown looks to finish her season on a high note.
Debut WTS race
Paquet is just 21 years old, but on Sunday he’ll make his WTS debut. As part of the press conference, he shared his goals before the media: “I am really looking forward to my first competition in the WTS. It will be an opportunity to gain experience for the next WTS races. ”
Another Quebecer joining Paquet this weekend is Lepage. Earlier this year, Lepage raced at the Commonwealth Games and finished 13th overall. He was also part of the mixed relay team that came fourth.
CAMTRI Pan American Cup
This year, Montreal will also host the CAMTRI Pan American Cup. Approximately a hundred athletes will be competing in the sprint triathlon on Saturday, 42 of them are from Quebec. The sprint CAMTRI event will begin after the age group races on Saturday at 10 AM.
President and CEO of International Triathlon Montreal, Phil Brunet and his team have made it a priority to help grow the sport in Montreal, Quebec and Canada. This year, the weekend includes a 5K Twilight run on Friday evening, as well as age group races from the sprint distance to a long course triathlon.
With the race taking place in Montreal’s Old Port, the event has the opportunity to showcase triathlon to a larger population. Over the last three years, the event and sport have grown considerably. “The increase in registrations year-to-year shows the growth of the sport at the amateur level. For three years, the International Triathlon of Montreal shows that this sport is accessible to all ages and levels. We couldn’t be more pleased to have set a new participation record for this edition,” said Brunet.
Special guests at this weekend’s race
Several personalities will also be present as participants, including Valérie Plante, Jean-Philippe Wauthier, Alexandre Despatie, Marianne St-Gelais, Benoit Huot.
Watch WTS Montreal on Saturday at 1:30 PM ET with the elite women’s race. Then tune in on Sunday at 1:30 PM ET with the elite men’s race.