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The World Triathlon Series begins in Abu Dhabi and Canada steals the spotlight in Florida

On Friday, March 8th, Mario Mola (ESP) began his World Triathlon Series (WTS) defence at WTS Abu Dhabi. The Spaniard started the 2019 season right where he left off 2018, taking the win over Alex Yee (GBR), Great Britain’s rising star, and Fernando Alarza (ESP). Tyler Mislawchuk was the top Canadian male in 11th. Alexis Lepage finished 45th, and Matthew Sharpe had to drop out of the race after a crash that broke his rear derailleur.

The men’s podium at WTS Abu Dhabi.

On the women’s side, Katie Zaferes (USA), the 2018 WTS runner-up, took the win over Taylor Spivey (USA) and Jessica Learmonth (GBR). Vicky Holland, the 2018 WTS champion, finished eighth. Unfortunately, Canadian Joanna Brown crashed out of the race on the first lap of the 20K bike.

The women’s podium at WTS Abu Dhabi.

In the mixed relay, Australia took the win ahead of the United States and New Zealand. Canada finished 14th.

Racing heats up in Florida

An hour drive from Tampa, the International Triathlon Union CAMTRI race in Sarasota, Florida, is a favourite early season destination race for those in North America. Offering an Elite, Paratriathlon and Junior American Cup, the start list was packed with Canadian athletes.

Related: 5 reasons why World Triathlon Bermuda is the perfect season opener

The elite men’s race was won by Jason West (USA), with Lasse Nygaard-Priester (GER) and William Huffman (USA) close on his heels. Canada had eight men finish inside the top 20. John Rasmussen was the top Canadian finisher in ninth. In the women’s race, Canada’s Amelie Kretz took the win ahead of Erika Ackerlund (USA) and Sophie Lynn (AUS). It was Kretz’s first overall ITU win since 2015 –  at the Wollongong Oceania Cup.

In the Paratriathlon American Cup, Canada’s Stefan Daniel won the men’s PTS5 division, and Kamylle Frenette finished second in the women’s race. Jessica Tuomela came second in the women’s PTVI division, and Jon Dunkerley finished fifth in the men’s race.

In the junior men’s event, Canada’s Tristen Jones finished second by a fraction of a second to Luis Ortiz (USA). Dylan Didier Campa Carranza (MEX) finished third. Tate Haugan (CAN), the 2018 Junior Cross Triathlon world champion, finished 12th. On the women’s side, six Canadian women finished inside the top 15. Ella Kubas was the top Canadian finisher in sixth. The race was won by Mercedes Romero Orozco (MEX). She was followed by Sofia Rodriguez Moreno (MEX) and Gillian Cridge (USA).