The Canadian men’s strategy for Tokyo was tested today and the results were exactly what Triathlon Canada would have been looking for – with a team-mate making sure he got to the second transition in a perfect position, Tyler Mislawchuk ran his way to an impressive win.
Russia’s Igor Polyanskiy led the men out of the water, but just 30 seconds separated the first 56 athletes heading to T1 and by the end of the first of four laps on the bike there was a huge group of 50 men riding together. All of the Canadian men who started today – Mislawchuk, Matthew Sharpe, Jeremy Briand, Charles Paquet and John Rasmussen (Olympic hopeful Alexis Lepage didn’t end up starting the race today) – were near the front at the end of the swim and made it into the front pack on the bike. The big group looked more like a bike-race peloton than a bunch of triathletes as they cruised around the four-loop course.
Things didn’t change much through the rest of the bike as 47 men hit T2 in a big bunch, but towards the end of the ride Sharpe’s domestique skills came to the fore as he pushed at the front of the pack with Mislawchuk close behind. Sharpe was so focused on making sure Mislawchuk was in a good position heading into T2 he rode right over the dismount line.
Mislawchuk hammered to the front right out of transition and quickly opened up a gap on a group that included Spain’s David Castro Fajardo, American Kevin McDowell, along with Brazilians Manoel Messias and Miguel Hidalgo.
There was no touching Mislawchuk, though, as he opened up more time on the rest of the men, eventually taking the win in 53:09 after a sub-15-minute 5 km performance.
“I am over the moon,” the 26-year-old from Winnipeg told TriathlonLive.tv after the race. “It was 20 months that I hadn’t raced and then I flatted in Lisbon. Today I worked with Matt Sharpe – I need to make a shout out to him. We controlled the race and went for it on the bike and I was able to take it out myself. I put it all together on the day. I’ve trained unbelievably hard for 19 months. I haven’t been home for 14 months, living out of a suitcase. We were in Hawaii for four months. It takes a lot of people to get you there. I’m absolutely stoked.”
The two Brazilians were able to to run their way to the second two spots on the podium with Messias taking second (52:21) and Hidalgo rounding out the podium (53:23).
Briand led the rest of the Canadians, finishing ninth in 53:41, with Paquet taking 16th in 54:01, Rasmussen 27th in 54:36 and Sharpe cruising through the run after his domestique duties to take 44th in 55:53.