A Canadian veteran and rookie dominated the podium at the triathlon World Cup in Ishigaki, Japan on Sunday.
For the first time in nearly two decades of racing, Montreal’s 29-year-old Kathy Tremblay won a World Cup triathlon race, while 22-year-old national team rookie, Sarah-Anne Brault of Winnipeg, ran onto her first-ever World Cup podium after claiming the bronze.
Coming off her best-ever World Triathlon Series result when she was eighth last week in Sydney, Australia, Tremblay was on a mission the second the 30 athletes dove off the pontoon into the water for the women’s race. Battling to qualify for Canada’s 2012 Olympic Triathlon Team, Tremblay led the1.5-kilometre swim and 40-kilometre bike leg before dropping the field in the 10-kilometre run to post a golden time of 2:05:38.
“I think I’m just going to cry when I realize what happened. I have been racing for 17 years and this has never happened before,” said Tremblay. “This is unbelievable. I felt comfortable the whole way today. I’m so excited and can’t believe it.”
Tremblay has twice been on the World Cup podium in her career. She was third in Mazatlan in 2006, and second in Ishigaki in 2009. But she has largely struggled to find the elite form she is capable of in international races over the last four years since representing Canada at the 2008 Olympic Summer Games.
“I just decided to have fun again and not take it too seriously. It has been working,” said Tremblay. I owe this to my coach and boyfriend. They have been putting their minds together to make me faster. Without them both I wouldn’t be here.”
Tremblay finished 20 seconds ahead of Ireland’s Aileen Morrison who clocked a silver-medal time of 2:05:58.
Canadian triathlon rookie, Sarah-Anne Brault also had the race of her life to claim her first-ever World Cup podium, winning the bronze medal in Japan after posting a time of 2:06:03.
“This feels so awesome. This is really my first World Cup and I didn’t know how this would turn out,” said Brault. “I raced some of these girls before and I felt confident coming in. I’m really happy.”
In the lead pack throughout most of the race, Brault was in a dogfight with Ireland’s Morrison for the last two laps of the three-lap 10-kilometre run. After making a decision to let Morrison go in front to break the wind on the run, Brault could not respond to the pace and was forced to march to third.
“I thought I had her but she is a great athlete and I can’t be too upset about that,” said Brault. “I wish I had it in the end, but that’s okay. It was close enough. I don’t think it could have gone much better.”
Brault has made a statement in Canada’s triathlon circles over the last year that she will be one to watch. The West Virginia University student, who is a 10-kilometre running specialist with the Mountaineers track squad, has won two Continental Cup races. She first captured the nation’s attention last summer when she knocked off Edmonton’s Paula Findlay to win the Canadian Championships.
Edmonton’s Chantell Widney rounded out the Canadian women’s performances in 12h with a time of 2:07:57.
Canada’s Brent McMahon and Kyle Jones continued their quest to secure a spot at the London Olympics this summer while suiting up in the men’s race.
Victoria’s McMahon was the top Canuck in eighth spot after clocking a time of 1:50:36. Kyle Jones, of Oakville, Ont., withdrew after the second transition and did not finish the race.
Race favourite, David Hauss of France, finished on top with a time of 1:50:06. Italy’s Davide Uccellari was second at 1:50:10, while Gonzalo Tellechea, of Argentina, claimed third place with a time of 1:50:19.
1. Kathy Tremblay Montreal, CAN 02:05:38
2. Aileen Morrison IRL 02:05:58
3. Sarah-Anne Brault Winnipeg, CAN 02:06:03
4. Gillian Sanders RSA 02:06:30
5. Annamaria Mazzetti ITA 02:06:48
6. Yuka Sato JPN 02:06:54
7. Kathrin Muller GER 02:07:05
8. Anna Burova RUS 02:07:20
9. Pamela Oliveira BRA 02:07:24
10. Elizabeth Bravo ECU 02:07:30
12. Chantell Widney, Edmonton, CAN 2:07:57
1. David Hauss FRA 01:50:06
2. Davide Uccellari ITA 01:50:10
3. Gonzalo Raul Tellechea ARG 01:50:19
4. Christian Prochnow GER 01:50:25
5. Ivan Ivanov UKR 01:50:30
6. Reto Hug SUI 01:50:33
7. Tyler Butterfield BER 01:50:36
8. Brent McMahon Victoria, CAN 01:50:36
9. Ryosuke Yamamoto JPN 01:50:40
10. Harunobu Sato JPN 01:50:50
DNF. Kyle Jones, Oakville, CAN
Meanwhile, the rising stars in the sport of triathlon also hit the start line for a Pan American Cup race in Mazatlan, Mexico this weekend.
In just her second Olympic distance race ever, Canada’s 20-year-old Joanna Brown ran to the silver medal after clocking a time of 2:09:38 in the women’s 1.5-kilometre swim, 40-kilometre bike and 10-kilomtre run.
A member of the National Development Team, Brown, of Carp, Ont., is one of the most promising young athletes in the Canadian triathloncircles having won a bronze medal at the 2010 World Junior Championships and placed sixth at last year’s worlds.
Brown finished just over one minute behind the gold medallist, Claudia Rivas of Mexico, who clocked a winning time of 2:08:23. Radka Vodickova, of the Czech Republic was second at 2:10:23.
Two other Canadian women cracked the top-10. Manon Letourneau, of St. Nicolas, Que., had a solid outing in fifth place with a time of 2:10:05, while another rookie on the Canadian development squad, Victoria’s Alison Hooper, was eighth at 2:11:34. Dominika Jamnicky, of Port Hope, Ont., rounded out the Canadian contingent in the women’s race, clocking-in at 2:13:48 for 12th spot.
Calgary’s Jordan Bryden was the top Canuck in the men’s race, finishing 17th at 1:58:55. Alexander Hinton, of Kingston, Ont., placed 19th at 2:00:00.
Mexico’s Francisco Serrano was the top man on the day with a time of 1:54:48.
1. Claudia Rivas MEX 2:08:23
2. Joanna Brown Carp, Ont., CAN 2:09:38
3. Radka Vodickova CZE 2:10:23
4. Danne Boterenbrood NED 2:10:35
5. Manon Letourneau St.Nicolas, Que., CAN 2:10:05
8. Allison Hooper Victoria, BC., CAN 2:11:34
12. Dominika Jamnicky Port Hope, Ont., CAN 2:13:48
1. Francisco Serrano MEX 1:54:48
2. Cesar Saracho MEX 1:55:03
3. Lukas Hollaus AUT 1:55:11
4. Joe Maloy USA 1:55:26
5. Carlos Arcadia MEX 1:55:33
17. Jordan Bryden Calgary, CAN 1:58:55
19. Alexander Hinton Kingston, CAN 2:00:00
Full results can be found at Triathlon.org.