WINNIPEG—British Columbia’s Desirae Ridenour and Quebec’s Pavlos Antoniades battled through the intense prairie heat to grab the individual women and men’s titles at the 2017 Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg on Monday.
To say the 17-year-old Ridenour is on a hot streak is an understatement. The Cowichan Bay, B.C. teen rattled off her third straight gold medal performance in as many starts. Ridenour, who is a member of Triathlon Canada’s National Performance Centre, sprinted away from the field in the final lap of the five-kilometre run course to add Canada Games champion to her resume after clocking a time of 1:04:39.40.
“It feels amazing. I’m hapy to come out and get that third gold medal in three weeks,” said Ridenour, who also won Junior European Cup race last week in Hungary and the CAMTRI North American Championships in Magog, Que. two weeks ago.
“It was a hot and tactical race. I didn’t have the best swim, but I just stuck with it on the bike. I got off the bike with the lead in transition. Hannah (Henry) and I worked well together on the run and I was able to breakaway for the win.”
Team B.C.’s Holly Henry, and Ridenour’s teammate at the National Performance Centre in Victoria, came out of the water behind Team Manitoba’s Kyla Roy, with Team B.C.’s Hannah Henry and Ridenour – setting the stage for an all out battle between Canada’s top junior women.
Ridenour bounced back after her challenging 750-metre swim off the shores of Birds Hill Provincial Park to get on the lead pack for the 20-kilometre bike course.
“Nobody wanted to pull on the bike so the chase group caught us. There was a crash that took out a lot of girls so our group became smaller. I got off with the lead in transition. Hannah and I were able to pull ahead of Kyla and it worked out perfectly.”
Ridenour darted to the gold medal in the final lap of the five-kilometre run course, leaving Victoria’s Henry in the silver medal position at 1:05:02.10.
“That was a hot, hard race,” said Henry. “The bike didn’t move well together. I think everyone was saving their legs for the run so nobody wanted to work. Des and I motivated each other onto the run and were able to breakaway. It was a fun race and it has been a cool experience here.”
Bringing the largest cheering section on the day to the race site, hometown girl Kyla Roy grinded out a bronze-medal finish with a time of 1:05:22.80.
“It was hot, hard and fast out there today,” said Roy. “It was a bit of a mess on the bike in that lead group. We weren’t going fast and just not working well together. That first lap on the run felt like a sprint. I was just trying to stay away from the girls, but they pulled away. It was fun to race at home. I train here on the course all the time. It was great to have all of my friends and family here to watch.”
Meanwhile, in the men’s race it was Pavlos Antoniades who ran his way into the winner’s circle.
The Team Quebec athlete rocked a golden time of 58:13.60 to take the Canada Games title.
“I’ve been training for this for almost two years so I came in here confident and well prepared,” said Antoniades. “I knew at the start of the race it was going to be hot, but I knew those conditions were going to be the same for everyone. I focused on that the whole race, I gave it everything I had and was happy to get the win.”
The Trois-Rivières, Que. athlete hunted down the top pack after coming out of the water well back of the leaders. He managed to work his way back into the race on the 20-kilometre bike course before running to gold.
“My legs were really heavy coming off the bike but I just kept focused on putting in a good effort and it paid off,” added Antoniades.
The Quebecer pulled away from British Columbia’s Michael Milic who was the next best finisher in second place at 58:34.10. Ontario’s Liam Donnelly rounded out the men’s podium in third spot at 58:18.30.
The triathlon events continue on Thursday at the Canada Summer Games with the men’s and women’s relays. The rising young stars will round out the action at the triathlon venue with the mixed relay on Friday.
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Complete Results: http://bit.ly/2vbLgWt
Top-Five Women’s Results:
- Desirae Ridenour, B.C., 1:04:39:40; 2. Hannah Henry, B.C., 1:05:02.10; 3. Kyla Roy, MAN., 1:05:22; 4. Cassandra Dalbec, ONT., 1:05:45.30; 5. Ella Kubas, ONT., 1:06:48.80
Top-Five Men’s Results:
- Pavlos Antoniades, QC, 58:13.60; 2. Michael Milic, B.C., 58:34.10; 3. Liam Donnelly, ONT., 59:18.30; 4. Brock Oliver Hoel, B.C., 59:33.10; 5. Aiden Longcroft-Harris, B.C., 1:00:14.80