Charles Paquet hasn’t guaranteed himself a spot at the Olympic Games next year, but his seventh-place finish at WTCS Montreal puts him a bit closer to an automatic selection for the team in Paris.
“This was so good,” the 26-year-old said. “It was great to have a good result here. I think that’s what I’m capable of – fighting for the top 10, top 15.”
After coming out of the water in the middle of the pack, alongside countryman Tyler Mislawchuk, Paquet rode aggressively near the front of the lead group. While Mislawchuk would take a fall on the second lap, Paquet was able to stay up throughout the ride.
“On the bike I was just like ‘don’t crash, don’t crash, don’t crash – stay at the front,” Paquet said. “I knew the guys at the back were coming back, but I also knew I could have a good run.”
That he did, enjoying the cheers of the Quebec crowd to surge to the finish just two spots behind Olympic champion Kristian Blummenfelt and just 23 seconds behind Matthew Hauser, who crossed the line in 53:47.
“It feels like home here,” Paquet said after the race. “All my friends and family are here, my girlfriend. It’s Quebec, so it feels like home for me.”
Paquet has started training in Europe this year, which he sights as one reason he performed so well today.
“Training in Europe is better than training in Quebec, especially during the winter,” he said. “The training group is really good, I have some good athletes with me.”
The Olympic qualifying process is complicated, but a similar performance at the Paris Test Event in August would likely guarantee Paquet a spot on the Canadian team next year.
Mislawchuk would end up 15th in today’s race, with Martin Sobey, the other Canadian in the race, finishing 37th.
Jamnicky leads Canadian women with 17th-place finish
After a great swim, Dominika Jamnicky found herself just behind the first chase group on the bike.
“It was an ureal day,” Jamnicky said. “I maintained contact in the water, but then found myself dangling off the front group.”
After pushing hard at the front of the second chase group, Jamnicky was able to work up to the main group that was chasing Americans Taylor Knibb and Summer Rappaport.
“I knew the race was there,” she said. “I had nothing to lose and I was like ‘We got to get there because that’s where the results are going to come from.’ I got to the front. I was working with Beth Potter and Jeanne Lahair – they are phenomenal bikers – so we had a good little rotation going.”
Jamnicky managed to put herself in a great position heading into T2, hitting the ground in third-place overall.
“I knew I could get there, and once I was in the front I wanted to stay up there, stay out of trouble and give it my best on the run,” she said. “It was up and down on the run. There were moments I was saying ‘you’re in it to win it,’ and there were moments where I was like ‘I don’’t know if I can finish.’ I went through all of the emotions, but I gave it my best. I was so close to a top-12 today, but I’m incredibly happy with that performance. I’m really happy with my progression and to be up there with the world’s best is more than I could ask for so I’m really happy. I couldn’t have done this without the Canadian community cheering me through every corner on the course.”
Since Amelie Kretz is suffering with back issues, the only other Canadian in the women’s race today was Emy Legault, who took 40th.