TONGYEONG, SOUTH KOREA— Canada’s Amelie Kretz and Martin Sobey put up a hard-fought fight while delivering top-15 performances at the World Triathlon Cup in Tongyeong, South Korea on Saturday.
Kretz, of Saint-Therese, Que., posted her second eighth-place finish on the World Cup this year in the women’s race, while Sobey (Charlottetown, P.E.I.) locked up 13th spot in men’s action.
Stuck in a challenging start position in the field of 49 women who lined up on the pontoon, the 29-year-old Kretz was smooth while working her way from the back of the pack throughout the duration of the two-lap, 1.5 kilometre swim in in Tongyeong Harbour.
Working in the chase group for the 40-kilometre ride that is known for its hilly sections, the two-time Olympian took her turn pulling the group around demanding course but could not close the gap on the pack of 10 frontrunners.
‘It was a bit frustrating for me on the bike. I always want to compete at the front and that was the first one for me to not make the first group on the bike,” said Kretz. “I didn’t have the legs I needed to close the gap in the first three-to-four minutes. I tried to get everyone motivated to work, and a few of us worked well for the first three laps, but the group lost motivation and we lost so much time.”
After transitioning onto the 10-kilometre run, Kretz took the race into her own hands, and climbed into eighth spot with a time of 1:58.44.
“I just tried to make the most out of it on the run and moved up in the field,” added Kretz. “I’m happy with where my fitness is at. I know all the pieces are there. I just have to put everything together on the day, have to keep racing and I know it will all come together soon.”
Audrey Merle, of France, had the race of her life, winning her first World Cup title with a time of 1:57:08. Germany’s Annika Koch was second at 1:57:31, while Mathilde Gautier, of France, locked up the bronze medal with a time of 1:57.38.
Meanwhile, Canada’s Martin Sobey turned in a solid 13th-place performance in the men’s event which turned into a foot race for the 65 athletes.
The 26-year-old clocked a time of 1:45:51 in the Olympic distance format.
“Overall, I’m happy with how the race wet today. I had a good swim to set myself up well, but after two laps on the bike most of the field was in the main group,” said Sobey.
With a long train of riders managing the ascents and descents on the 40-kilometre ride, a trio broke away from the pack in the fourth lap to transition. It wasn’t long on the 10-kilometre run that the top runners in the field reeled them in, running stride-for-stride for the medals.
Sobey connected with his Canadian comrade, Liam Donnelly of Ottawa, shortly after the group charged onto course for the hilly run test.
“We (Liam and I) worked well together as people started to drop off the pace,” said Sobey. “After a few tough races for me, it was good to get some confidence back heading into the final part of my season.”
Donnelly stopped the clock at 1:46:26 to secure 18th spot.
When the dust finally settled at the finish line up front, it was Matthew McElroy of the United States taking top spot on the podium with a time of 1:44:49. Hungary’s Gabor Faldum ran to the silver medal at 1:45:09. Samuel Dickinson, of the United States, took the bronze at 1:45:16
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