After 21 months, Canadian Paralympic silver medalist Stefan Daniel returned to racing in style at A Coruna, Spain, taking the World Triathlon Para Cup event in 59:48. The Calgarian wasn’t the only Canadian who ended up on the podium this weekend – Jessica Tuomela and her guide Marianne Hogan took bronze, as did Kamylle Frenette.
“Being my first triathlon in two years, it was okay, but I didn’t feel amazing,” Daniel, pictured above winning one of his four world championship titles, said after the race. “The goal today was to just get back into the rhythm of things. Training has been going well, but it takes a lot to transition into racing. That is literally why we are here – to get a race in and build from it. It wasn’t the best version of myself today, but to still have the capacity to win when it is not one of my best days really is a confidence booster.”
Despite feeling “sluggish” Daniel was still able to finish almost a minute ahead of silver medalist Jairo Ruiz Lopez (ESP), who outsprinted Brazil’s Ronan Cordeiro.
“I think it was definitely a great race to shake the cobwebs,” Frenette said after finishing behind Great Britain’s Lauren Steadman and Clairee Cashmore. “There are a number of little things that catch up to you when you don’t race for so long. The swim wasn’t what I was expecting today. I got on to the wrong feet, and the bike wasn’t great but I gathered myself and got things going on the run. I had some expectations for myself, but realistically today was to get the cobwebs out and have something to build on, and we did that.”
Another Canadian, Leanne Tayler, finished fifth in the women’s PTWC division.
Tuomela and Hogan led the way out of the water and would eventually finish behind Spain’s Susana Rodriguez and Great Britain’s Milissa Reid in the visually impaired classification.
“I didn’t know what to expect but I am very pleased with today,” Tuomela said. “The waves were quite high, which usually makes me nervous, but I was super relaxed in the water today. I thought we might have been in the middle of the group in the swim, but to come out first was awesome. We were really strong on the bike and worked together through the whole way.”
“COVID has been hard on a lot of people for many different reasons,” she continued. “For me, I have been navigating through an injury, so today was the reassurance that I was needing. I had no idea where we would be at (in comparison to other athletes), but it was good to figure it out. I can’t wait to get to Wisconsin next week and continue solidifying ourselves as a team working even better together heading to Tokyo.”
Results from the race can be found here.