EDMONTON—Matt Sharpe had the swim of his life but a tricky triathlon course on a warm night in Edmonton got the best of him while finishing 17th on Friday night in the World Triathlon Series race.
“The Edmonton course is one of the most underrated courses on the circuit,” said Sharpe, who finished with a time of 52:39 in front of thousands of passionate triathlon fans who filled the venue.
“I was up in front in the swim where I should be and then I struggled in the first three laps of the bike. I just hung on and did what I could in transition. Once you then get onto the run you never really feel good after a bike like that, so I died after the first lap.”
Three days removed from his 27th birthday, Victoria’s Sharpe was seventh out of 750 metre beach start swim. Grinding through the first half of the six-lap bike course, Sharpe maintained pace with a large pack of 29 riders that strung out along steep climbs and hairpin turns on the bike course along Edmonton’s River Valley. The lanky member of Triathlon Canada’s National Performance Centre in Victoria was ninth out of second transition, but the pace was too much, and he dropped back into the pack.
“I died early in that run, but when you have every square inch of the course saying, ‘Go Canada’ it lifts you to another level,” added Sharpe. “I used the crowd and the other athletes around me to keep me going and went all out to the end.”
Spain’s Mario Mola masterfully sprinted his way to victory with a time of 51:15. Mola dropped Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt on the final charge into Hawrelak Park. The Norwegian settled for second spot at 51:18. Australia’s Jacob Birtwhistle claimed the bronze at 51:22.
Canada’s Tyler Mislawchuk (Oak Bluff, Man.) also had a solid swim where he came out of the water in eighth. Staying with the large pack on the bike, he pulled out of race in the first lap on the run course.
Meanwhile, it was a similar story in the women’s race. After coming out of the water in the middle of the field, Joanna Brown (Carp, Ont.) battled the whole way. Brown was the lone Canadian woman to finish, crossing the line in 23rd spot at 59:58.
Vicky Holland, of Great Britain, won not only for the second time in Edmonton, but it was also her second title of the season. The 2016 Olympic bronze medallist led wire-to-wire en route to clocking a golden pace of 56:51.
Australia’s Ashleigh Gentle was the lone athlete outside of Great Britain in the top-five. Gentle claimed the silver at 57:02. Georgia Taylor-Brown, of Great Britain, ran to the bronze medal with a time of 57:08.
Amelie Kretz, of Blainville, Que., did not finish the race.
The world’s best triathletes will be back on the start line Saturday when the Mixed Team Relay takes centre stage in Edmonton.
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