Canada’s Paula Findlay took another major step forward in her long road back from injury to elite racing after narrowly missing the podium at a Triathlon World Cup sprint race in Cozumel, Mexico on Sunday. The 25-year-old was solid in all three disciplines, completing the 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre bike and 5-kilometre run course with a fourth-place time of 59 minutes, four seconds.
“I am happy with taking another step forward today,” said Findlay. “It’s bittersweet to finish just off the podium, but I know that I’m so close to getting there!”
Coming out of the water in the top-20, Findlay was amongst a pack of 34 women in the field of 60 that formed a lead group on the bike. Positioning herself near the front of the pack, Findlay continued to test her run fitness while charging out of the second transition with a podium finish in sight as temperatures began to rise.
“Nobody wanted to do any work on the bike, so despite some efforts to get the pack working, it ended up being a very easy ride. I knew the run would go out fast and hard, so I tried to position myself well coming into transition,” said Findlay. “I knew that having a fast T2 would be critical.
“My run is feeling better with every race, I still have lots of work to do, but I raced to win and was happy with how I executed on the day. I just need a bit more leg speed before I can challenge right to the finish line.”
Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig finishing on top. The 2012 Olympic champion clocked a time of 58:47. Austria’s Lisa Perterer was second at 58:55, while Yuliya Yelistratova outlasted Findlay in the race for the bronze medal after crossing the finish line with a time of 58:58.
After battling injuries for much of the last five years, the once number-one ranked women’s triathlete in the world reintroduced herself to elite racing last month where she showcased glimpses of her old self with an impressive 15th-place finish at the ITU Grand Final in her hometown of Edmonton. It was her first Olympic distance race at an elite level since making her Olympic debut in 2012.
“I now believe that winning is possible, not easy, but definitely within my reach. This sets me up with lots more confidence going into the 2015 season as I know that I still have room for huge gains in my run fitness.”
With a team of supporters behind her in Canada, Findlay credits the impact of her new coach Siri Lindley on her performance.
“She makes me fearless. She believes in me, which makes me believe in myself,” the redhead said of Lindley, who is a former World Champion herself.
Three other Canadian women hit the start line in Mexico. The highly talented 21-year-old Amelie Kretz, of Blainville, Que., placed eighth. Kretz, who has also battled injury through most of this season, clocked a time of 59:20. Calgary’s Alex Coates placed 29th at 1:00:10, while Dominika Jamnicky, of Guelph, Ont., ran into 35th spot with a time of 1:00:22.
From Triathlon Canada