LONDON—It may not have been a podium, but his 15th-place finish was a huge confidence boost that Canada’s Kyle Jones needed as the World Triathlon Series descended on the 2012 Olympic course in London on Saturday.
The 29-year-old Jones was the top Canuck on a course where he made his Olympic debut that starts and finishes in historic Hyde Park, and winds its way past many of London’s most famous landmarks. Jones, of Oakville, Ont., clocked a time of 50 minutes 20 seconds in the sprint race distance.
“I’m very happy with my finish today and I think it was important for me to get a result like that under my belt,” said Jones, who was recently named to Canada’s 2014 Commonwealth Games Team. “Yokohama (earlier this month) was a serious wake up call for me that I needed to back off and get some rest. Not so much over training rather than under recovered. This was a good step in the right direction today.”
Jones had a solid 750-metre swim storming out of the Serpentine in the middle of the pack to set himself up for a four-lap 20-kilomtre bike that tour’s past one of the world’s largest city’s top attractions including Buckingham Palace, Wellington Arch and Constitutional Hill. With the leaders trying to break away mid-way through the bike, Jones sat in the chase group that bridged to form a lead pack in the third lap of the bike to set up a five-kilometre all-out sprint to the wire.
“The swim was rough with 65 guys all fighting for position over a short distance,” said Jones “Initially one group got away on the bike but we had one large pack by 10 kilometres. I sat in and waited for the run which went out very fast.”
“There were about eight-to-10 guys in the lead group, and I was at the front of the second group. I lost a few positions in the final sprint, but otherwise I am happy with the race overall. I’m feeling much better now and excited for the rest of the season.”
Spain’s Mario Mola reeled in the Brownlee brothers on the run to take not only his first World Triathlon Series title, but also became the first athlete outside the Brownlee’s or Javier Gomez to win in nearly two years. Mola clocked a golden time of 49:46.
Richard Murray, of South Africa sprinted to the silver at 49:47, while Portugal’s Joao Pereira grabbed the final spot on the podium after posting a bronze-medal time of 49:49.
Victoria’s Andrew McCartney was the only other Canadian in the race and finished 51st at 52:15.
Meanwhile the two Canadians to suit up for the women’s sprint race finished mid-field in London. Sarah-Anne Brault, of Quebec City, battled into 22nd spot on the pancake flat course. The 24-year-old Brault, who sat fourth overall on the World Triathlon Series standings heading into the race, punched the clock at 56:27.
Calgary’s 21-year-old Ellen Pennock, continued her development into an elite level racer with a 35th-place finish. Pennock, who along with Brault were both also named to Canada’s Commonwealth Games squad, clocked-in at 57:17.
American Gwen Jorgensen won her second straight race after breaking the finish tape with a time of 54:44. Sarah Groff, also of the United States, was second at 55:12, while Australia’s Emma Jackson celebrated the bronze medal with a time of 55:19.
The fifth stage of the eight-race World Triathlon Series, which culminates with the Grand Final in Edmonton August 26 – September 1, now travels to North America for a race in Chicago June 27-29.
Complete World Triathlon Series Results (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run): www.triathlon.org
Top-Five Men’s and Canadian Results:
1. Mario Mola, ESP, 49:46; 2. Richard Murray, RSA, 49:47; 3. Joao Pereira, POR, 49:49; 4. Alistair Brownlee, GBR, 49:52; 5. Jonathan Brownlee, GBR, 49:58
15. Kyle Jones, Oakville, Ont., 50:20; 51. Andrew McCartney, Victoria, 52:15