Canada's Mislawchuk races to World Triathlon Cup victory in Mexico

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HUATULCO, Mexico — Canada's Tyler Mislawchuk raced to victory at the World Triathlon Cup on Sunday, the final men's race of the Olympic qualifying period.

The 26-year-old from Oak Bluff, Man., who'd won the same race two years earlier, withstood the heat on a steamy morning to finish the sprint distance event in 53 minutes nine seconds for his third World Cup victory.

"This feels so bloody good," Mislawchuk said. "Me and (Matt Sharpe) rolling out there together today was awesome. It was a statement day for sure and just feels great.

"To be honest, whether I won or not today didn't matter. I know I'm confident with where I'm at right now, but this just validates all of the hard work that we have put in."

Mislawchuk's victory two years earlier in Huatulco was part of a breakthrough season that saw him climb his first World Triathlon Series podium with a bronze in Montreal, then winning the Olympic test event in Tokyo before the international sports world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I've trained so hard over the last 18 months. We emptied our souls training in Hawaii and I've not been home in 14 months, living out of a suitcase. I dedicate my life to this and everything goes into this so I'm very happy," he said.

Mislawchuk was just four seconds behind the leader coming out of the 750-metre swim Sunday. He was a large group that included Victoria's Sharpe for the 20-kilometre bike leg.

"Matt and I set the tone in the water and were able to control the pace on the bike. It was just a great day to see it all pay off," said Mislawchuk.

Canadians Charles Paquet, John Rasmussen, and Jeremy Briand also rode in the lead pack. They tactically worked their way in the pack for three laps before Mislawchuk climbed to the front to position himself for a strong run, which he led the entire way.

"I was first on the run and then jut settled into my pace," he said. "After the first lap I was a bit ahead and kept looking back to see who was coming with me but nobody was there. I didn't expect that and just decided 'Let's go," said Mislwachuk. .

"It was super humid and hot. I could tell people felt it out there. Everyone suffers in the sport no matter who you are but for whatever reason my body responds well in the heat."

Manoell Messias was second in 53:21, while fellow Brazilian Miguel Hidalgo crossed third in 53:22.

Briand, from Sainte-Julie, Que., was ninth, Paquet, from Port Cartier, Que., was 16th, Hamilton's Rasmussen was 27th and Sharpe was 41st.

Canada's Amelie Kretz was fifth in the women's race, her final Olympic qualifying event.

Competing in her fourth race in five weeks in order to accumulate Olympic qualifying points, the 28-year-old from Blainville, Que., finished in 1:00.57.

"Today was a tough race but a good end to this block (of racing)," she said. "I am hopeful it is enough, but will just keep my fingers crossed," said Kretz, who posted two top-six finishes over the four races.

Denmark's Albert Kjaer Pedersen won in 1:00.24.

Dominika Jamnicky of Guelph, Ont., finished 10th in 1:01.21. Emily Legault of Ile Perrot, Que., was 14th in 1:01.37.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 13, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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