Sarah Anne Brault wins her first ever National Crown
Published: August 22, 2011
Veteran Whitfield and Rookie Brault Claim National Titles at Canadian Triathlon Championships
August 21, 2011
KELOWNA, B.C.â€”Victoriaâ€™s Simon Whitfield was crowned Canadian Champion for a staggering 10th time in his illustrious career, but it was young Sarah-Anne Brault who made headlines in Kelowna, B.C. by shocking the field to win her first-ever national crown on Sunday at the Canadian Triathlon Championships, hosted by Pushor Mitchell Kelowna Apple Triathlon.
Brault, a 21-year-old Winnipeger, had a perfect game plan on Sunday â€“ stick to the number-three ranked triathlete in the world, Paula Findlay, for as long as she could and see what happens.
The West Virginia University student, who is a 10-kilometre running specialist with the Mountaineers track squad, stuck to Findlayâ€™s heels throughout the 1.5-kilometre swim in Lake Okanagan, coming out of the water in sixth spot directly behind the speedy redheaded Canuck, and never let her out of sight.
With a lead group of about eight athletes working together in the lead pack throughout the 40-kilometre bike course, it was the 22-year-old Findlay who shot out of the second transition in hopes of following the road towards successfully defending her Canadian Championship title.
â€œI felt pretty good today, but I am so surprised,â€ said Brault, who carried Manitobaâ€™s flag into the Opening Ceremonies when triathlon made its debut at the 2009 Canada Summer Games. â€œPaula took off after the transition. Sheâ€™s the best in the world. I never once thought I could catch her or win. I had no idea how the run would go, but I just kept to my pace.â€
Braultâ€™s pace gave Findlay, who is rebuilding her fitness after a hip injury, all she could handle. The Winnipeger wasted no time reeling in the five-time World Championship Series winner to take the gold with a time of two hours, four minutes, 41 seconds (2:04:41).
â€œI just kept telling myself to run my pace,â€ said Brault. â€œPaula just came back. I wasnâ€™t supposed to win so that gave me an extra boost. I had some equipment problems with my goggles and gears on my bike, but it was a perfect day.â€
Findlay was forced to settle for the silver medal after crossing the finish line with a time of 2:05:35. Lindsey Jerdonek, of the United States was the third fastest finisher at 2:06:03, but Calgaryâ€™s Kyla Coates, who crossed the line fifth, took the bronze medal as the third fastest Canadian at 2:09:10.
Stevie Moore, also from Winnipeg, placed 12th in the Premium Pan American Cup race. She placed 6th overall elite Canadian Woman and 5th overall in the U23 National Championship.
Her overall time was 2:15.01. Swim time of 20:24.
Meanwhile, it was the veteran Simon Whitfield who put the hurt on the menâ€™s field while running away with his 10th Canadian Championship victory.
The 37-year-old Whitfield has been topped in two straight races leading into the Kelowna event by Kyle Jones at the World Cup in Edmonton and the World Championship Series race in London, making Jones the first Canadian in a decade to best his friend and training partner.
But the wily vet wouldnâ€™t be caught on Sunday as Whitfield stomped the field to win the gold with a time of 1:54:12.
â€œIt is nice to get one on Jones because he has been bloody strong this year,â€ said the two-time Olympic medallist. â€œWe had some fun banter throughout the week. We have become like brothers. Every workout we are side-by-side so we know how much it will hurt to win.â€
After Whitfield and Jones came out of the water in the lead pack with all four members of their training group, the top-two Canucks managed the lead group of 10 athletes throughout the bike before running ahead of the field.
The two best friends and training partners stuck together for the first half of the run when Whitfield dropped Jones and never looked back â€“ taking a 30 second lead into his final lap.
â€œAs soon as I saw Kyle on the run I knew he was suffering. We trained pretty hard to this race so one of us was going to be tired â€“ that was inevitable and that very much could have been me,â€ said Whitfield. â€œIt was great to see our whole squad in the front pack out of the water. Iâ€™m a big fan of Kelowna. The crowd support here is incredible and the race organizers always do an incredible job every year.â€
Jones, of Oakville, Ont., hung on for the silver medal after clocking-in at 1:54:36.
â€œThe swim and bike went as planned, but I got on the run and didnâ€™t have the legs today,â€ said the 26-year-old Jones. â€œIâ€™m thankful for the support and cheering from the Kelowna people because I was definitely hurting on the second half of that run. It is not the performance I wanted to have. It would have been nice to get my first Canadian title.â€
Gregory Billington, of the United States, was third fastest on the day at 1:54:46, but Alexander Hinton, of Kingston, Ont., wins the bronze medal as the third fastest Canadian. Hinton, who finished seventh overall, stopped the clock at 1:56:34.
Canadaâ€™s elite triathletes will now head to Victoria for three weeks of training before the Grand Final of the World Championship Series on the 2008 Olympic course in Beijing, China, September 10-11, 2011.
Triathlon Canada is the governing body for triathlon in the country. Recognized as an Olympic medal sport since 2000, Triathlon Canadaâ€™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 www.triathloncanada.com on the Internet.
Top-Five Womenâ€™s Results:
1. Sarah-Anne Brault, Winnipeg, 2:04:41; 2. Paula Findlay, Edmonton, 2:05:35; 3. Lindsey Jerdonek, USA, 2:06:03; 4. Annie Warner, USA, 2:06:46; 5. Kyla Coates, Calgary, 2:09:10.
Top-Five Menâ€™s Results:
1. Simon Whitfield, Victoria, 1:54:12; 2. Kyle Jones, Oakville, Ont., 1:54:36; 3. Gregory Billington, USA, 1:54:46; 4. Tyler Butterfield, BER, 1:55:22; 5. Felix Duchampt, FRA, 1:56:11; 7. Alexander Hinton, Kingston, Ont., 1:56:34.
For more information and complete results for the Canadian