Triathlon world taking notice of Oakville’s Kyle Jones

World class triathletes may soon find themselves keeping up with the Jones – Kyle Jones to be specific. The Oakville resident showed he belongs with the world’s elite after his seventh place World Cup finish at Corner Brook, Newfoundland on the weekend.

Competing against a world class field, Jones, for the third time this season, finished in the top 15 in each of his World Cup starts. His 1.56:04 effort on July 23 in the 1.5k swim (3 laps), 40k cycle (6 laps), and 10k run (4 laps) qualified him for the World Championships where he’ll represent Canada in the Under-23 division at the World’s in Lausanne, Switzerland in five weeks.

The Hamilton-born Jones, who was just under two minutes back of the winner, is now the second highest ranked Canadian on the World Cup rankings. Hamilton’s Colin Jenkins was 28th in 1:58:39

Jones’ performance this year is encouraging for Canada at the World Championships, especially in light of Simon Whitfield’s showing at Corner Brook. For the first time since Mazatlan (Mexico) in 2004, Whitfield was back on the World Cup podium. He placed second in the season’s ninth World Cup with its field of 58 and was just 10 seconds out of first, finishing in 1:55:05.

New Zealand’s Kris Gemmell managed to hold off the hard charging favourite Whitfield to win in 1:54:55.

Whitfield, who had the fastest run of the day in 30:35, says it was his best run ever on the Corner Brook course and “maybe my best run on any course period. I’m really stoked with today’s run – it’s such a tough course and to beat a guy like Javier Gomez really means a lot. Gomez is the best runner in the world and I started to doubt myself earlier in the week, to beat a guy of that caliber was a lot of fun. It’s been a long journey back to the podium, obviously I would like to have won but I showed I can still get it done. If you can perform in Corner Brook you can perform anywhere in the world.”

Spain’s Gomez was five second back of Whitfield.

It was a bitter sweet day for the organizers in Corner Brook. On one hand they saw Whitfield win a silver medal, and on the other hand it was the final chapter for this historic race in Corner Brook. After nine years as an annual stop on the World Cup circuit, and 25 years as an annual event, the local organizing committee announced that this would be the last World Cup race in Corner Brook.

The last time a Canadian athlete had a podium performance in a World Cup race in Canada was back in 2003 when Jill Savege won the gold medal. Whitfield said it was extra special to race so well knowing it was the last time for this race in Corner Brook. “This event has always been special to me – I will never forget the people of Corner Brook.”

With the World Championships just around the corner, Whitfield is showing signs of peaking at just the right time. “This effort today instills a ton of confidence heading into the World Championships – the goal has always been to win the World Championships and today’s result tells me I have a chance.”

Whitfield, with a renewed commitment to the World Cup Circuit, is working hard to improve his World Ranking – with the runner-up finish today Simon collected 44 World Cup Points. Whitfield, with 2 top-10s in his two World Cup starts this season is now ranked 16th in the latest World Cup Rankings. Whitfield, from Victoria, stressed the importance of World Cup points at this time of the season. “I need to climb my way up the World Cup Rankings in order to get a good spot on the (start) pontoon in Lausanne.”

Gomez, with his third podium this season, is now ranked 2nd in the world behind American Hunter Kemper who finished 10th.

Gomez, Andy Potts (USA) and Courtney Atkinson (AUS) gained a small advantage on the swim leading a large group out of the water and up the steep incline to transition one. They were quickly caught on the bike and became a group of 27. This group cruised along until Belgium athletes Peter Croes and Axel Zeebbroek broke away on the fourth of the six lap course.

The turning point of the race was when Gemmell jumped on the Belgium riders’ wheel. These three worked extremely well together over the last two laps, stretching their lead to over two minutes by the second transition.

Once on the run it was a cat and mouse game as Gemmell went into cruise mode hoping not to blow up over the hilly and challenging run course knowing that some of the strongest runners in the sport were behind him. Chasing were Whitfield, Gomez, Ivan Rana (ESP), Kemper (USA), Andy Potts (USA) and Reto Hug (SUI). Whitfield, Gomez and Potts pulled away from the rest of the group and soon it was only Whitfield and Gomez in the chase. Potts continues to impress with a strong run to finish in fourth place. Rana rounded out the top five.

In just her first World Cup race of the season, Samantha McGlone, from Otterburn Park, Quebec, ran her way to an impressive 4th place finish in the women’s division.

Lauren Groves, from Vancouver, had her 5th straight World Cup top-8 performance with a 7th place finish. Groves has been incredibly consistent all year and with this result she picked up 24 World Cup points. She remains 3rd overall in the World Cup Rankings. It’s the second time in two weeks Groves has finished 7th in a World Cup race in Canada – on July 9 Groves was 7th in the Edmonton World Cup.

It was a record setting day in Corner Brook. World No. 1 Vanessa Fernandes won her 10th straight World Cup race and closed to within two wins of the all-time record set by Emma Carney. Fernandez, who won the race in 2:06:02, has been on an amazing run in the last 18 months. Today’s win – her 4th of the year – matches last year’s win total. So far this season, Fernandes has won World Cup races in Aqaba, Madrid, Mazatlan and today in Corner Brook. Fernandes’ main rival, Emma Snowsill, from Australia, was not entered. Fernandes and Snowill have won six of the nine World Cups in 2006. In the three they didn’t win, neither athlete was on the start list. The next time the two will compete in the same race is likely the World Championships in Lausanne.

Fernandes was trailed closely by Anja Dittmer from Germany and Nadia Cortassa from Italy who finished second and third respectively. Dittmer’s second place finish moved her to No. 2 in the World.

Edmonton’s Carolyn Murray just missed qualifying for the Worlds as she finished 9th in 2:07:42. Any athlete who finished in the top-eight in any of the three designated qualifying races (Mazatlan, Edmonton & Corner Brook) would automatically earn a spot on the team.

Early in the swim Sarah McLarty from the US and team-mate Sarah Haskins built a lead of almost a minute and kept away from the large chase group of Fernandes, Dittmer, Cortassa, Groves, Emma Moffatt (AUS), Julie Swail (USA) and Becky LaVelle (USA). It was these two that would keep their lead on the seventeen member chase group for the entire six-lap bike course, coming into second transition over one minute ahead.

Once on the grueling run course, it was Fernandes who quickly pulled away catching Haskins and McLarty by the three kilometre mark. After this it was a race for second place. Dittmer and Moffatt went after Fernandes early but as the run went on, it was Moffatt who faded over the last two kilometres and fell to a fast approaching Cortassa.
Moffatt rounded out the top five with another good performance following her second place finish at the Edmonton world cup only two weeks ago.

Calgary’s Lisa Mensink finished in 26th position in 2:14:27; Toronto Ayesha Rollinson was 28th in 2:15:26.

On the Men’s side, Victoria’s Brent McMahon was 21st in 1:57:10; Calgary’s Jordan Bryden was 37th in 2:00:38, and Caledon’s Sean Bechtel was 38th in 2:00:52.