ABU DHABI—Kyle Jones and Tyler Mislawchuk are on a mission over the next three World Triathlon Series races to punch their ticket to represent Canada at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio.
The veteran and rookie wasted no time in trying to complete the task, posting top-10 finishes as the season opening World Triathlon Series race in Abu Dhabi,
The 31-year-old Jones, of Oakville, Ont., posted the second best result of this career in ninth with a time of 1:47:44. Mislawchuk, 21, who hails from Oak Bluff, Man., matched his career-best finish in 10th at 1:47:47 throughout the two-lap 1.5-kilometre swim, along with the relatively flat 40-kilometre bike and 10-kilometre run course in hot conditions.
“I had a great few months of winter training to prepare for the 2016 season so I am very happy to start it off with a top-10 result,” said Jones, whose best finish is a sixth place at the 2012 World Championships. “Coming into the race, I was focused on a top-eight (Olympic qualifier) result. I came just short of that, but it shows the form is good, and I’m excited for what lies ahead this year.”
Jones was feeding off a strong ending to the 2015 season – one that was plagued with injuries and a string of bad luck. Determined to earn his second trip to the Olympic Games, Jones completed the season with two World Cup medals.
“The weather conditions today were very similar to what we can expect in Rio so to perform well in the heat is a good sign,” added Jones. “The course had multiple 180’s, and tight turns so it was important to be technically strong. That is something I’ve been working so I’m very happy with my progression.”
Canada’s Tyler Mislawchuk, finished on his teammate’s tail, after staying strong in the lead pack for the seven laps on the bike which included one lap around the Cornice, followed by six shorter loops of 4.5 kilometres as part of one large group of 60 men who thrilled the Abu Dhabi crowd pedaling on the downtown streets.
“It was a great race with some hot conditions,” said Mislawchuk. “I swam lead pack and was aggressive on the bike. I was running in sixth at the five kilometre point, and ran out of steam with 2.5 km left.”
Mislawchuk showed no fear while racing against the world’s elite in his second year on the WTS. The rising star was also 10th at the WTS stop in London last summer, and finished in the same position at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.
Calgary’s Russell Pennock finished in the middle of the field in 29th spot. The second year member on Canada’s national development team clocked a time of 1:49:17.
Spain’s Mario Mola began the 2016 season where he left off last year at the World Championships – on top of the podium. The Spaniard proved he remains one of the top dogs to beat on the Road to Rio, winning with a time of 1:46:39. South Africa’s Richard Murray was second at 1:46:54, while Portugal’s Joao Silva won the race for the bronze with a time of 1:47:08.
It was a tougher day for the two Canadian women who toed the start line for the season-opener. Quebec City’s Sarah-Anne Brault finished 29th at 1:59:28. Amelie Kretz, of Blainville, Que., crashed on the bike and later withdrew with leg cramps.
The World Triathlon Series resumes April 9 on Australia’s Gold Coast. Triathlon Canada will nominate its Olympic team of athletes following the Yokohama event May 15.
Triathlon Canada is the governing body for triathlon in the country. Recognized as an Olympic medal sport since 2000 and Paralympic medal sport as of 2016, Triathlon Canada’s mandate is to promote, foster, organize and develop the sport of triathlon, and its related disciplines, in Canada. For more information on Triathlon Canada, please visit us at http://www.triathloncanada.com on the Internet.
Complete Results (1.5-kilometre swim, 40 kilometre bike, 10 kilometre run): http://www.triathlon.org
Top-Five Men’s Results:
1. Mario Mola, ESP, 1:46:39; 2. Richard Murray, RSA, 1:46:54; 3. Joao Silva, POR, 1:47:08; 4. Fernando Alarza, ESP, 1:47:17; 5. Crisanto Grajales, MEX, 1:47:17.
9. Kyle Jones, Oakville, Ont., 1:47:44; 10. Tyler Mislawchuk, Oak Bluff, Man., 1:47:47; 29. Russell Pennock, Calgary, 1:49:17