Calgary’s Russell Pennock led the Canadian team in the 2014 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final on Friday with his fifth-place finish.
He was thrilled saying, “I knew I ran by a group of about 20 friends cheering their hearts out today, and I just gave them a big smile. I knew I had the potential to be up with the top guys, but I came in with no expectations and an open mind, looking to gain experience at my first world championships.” Pennock won all four domestic junior races this year, including the national championships.
Australia’s Jacob Birtwhistle and Frenchman Raphael Montoya were shoulder-to-shoulder entering the finish area, but it was Montoya who took the win in 56:27, one second ahead of Birtwhistle. Fellow Australian Calvin Quirk captured third in 56:45.
Pennock, who was in the back of the nearly 40-strong lead pack throughout the bike portion of the race, caught up to, and beat, his three Canadian teammates to finish the course in 57 minutes, 5 seconds – good for fifth, and tying Canadian triathlon Paul Tichelaar’s Junior World Championship performance in 2001, also hosted on Edmonton soil. Joining Pennock in the top-10 was Xavier Grenier-Talavera who finished ninth in 57:18, while Jeremy Briand finished 11th in 57:23. Myles Zagar was 40th in of 59:07.
In the women’s race two hours earlier, Quebec’s Emy Legault finished 14th in 1:05:00 after a difficult swim. “I had the best swim start of my life, with the girls at my hips, and within a few strokes I felt a hand on my ankle and I just sank. By the time I got to the first buoy, I was in full catch-up mode,” said the 17-year-old Canadian junior champion. Taking advantage of the bike course’s long hill, Legault climbed up to catch the chase group and narrowly averted disaster when two competitors went down in the third bike lap.
“I was very nervous on the bike; that’s one area I want to focus my training on, is the technical aspect of cornering. It’s a real strength the Europeans have, and I want to learn from them,” explained Legault.
A European trio finished on the junior women’s podium, with Germany’s Laura Lindemann crossing the finish line first in 1:02:35, slightly ahead of France’s Cassandra Beaugrand, who was 3 seconds behind at 1:02:38. Beaugrand’s teammate Audrey Merle took third in 1:02:44.
Canada’s Elisabeth Boutin and Kirsten Vergera finished 35th and 39th respectively, clocking in at 1:08:21 and 1:09:03.
From Triathlon Canada. For Full results visit: www.triathlon.org/results.