July 26, 2018 11:54 am
Updated: July 26, 2018 2:22 pm

Top triathletes in Edmonton for ITU world series event

Javier Gomez Noya of Spain runs his way to a first place finish at the Montreal ITU World Triathlon Series race, Sunday, August 6, 2017.

Graham Hughes, The Canadian Press
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Some of the best athletes from around the world are converging on Edmonton this week for the annual ITU World Triathlon Series event.

Hawrelak Park and the river valley will once again be home to races on Friday and Saturday.

READ MORE: Elite athletes compete in Edmonton’s ITU World Triathlon

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There will be a total of 100 elite athletes from over 30 countries competing.

The top-ranked Canadian triathletes will be among those competing. Joanna Brown is currently the top female Canadian in triathlon and 28th in the world rankings, and Tyler Mislawchuk is the top male Canadian and ranked ninth in the world.

After capturing a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in April, Brown has had mixed results this season.

She said she’s excited to improve her results on home soil.

“I’m just really excited to see how the rest of the season goes,” she said.

“The last few WTS have not been exactly what I wanted, from being sick in Leeds and then being stuck behind a crash in Hamburg, so I’m just really ready to spring board the rest of my season with two really great WTSs coming up.”

Mislawchuk said he doesn’t feel pressure being the top ranked Canadian at the Edmonton event.

“Maybe motivation is probably a better word. I have family, friends and people supporting me from the country and that means the world to me, but I don’t take that as a negative, I take that as a positive,” he said.

“I think this is seven of eight years I’ve been in Edmonton, so I’ve had some great memories here and looking forward to racing again.”

READ MORE: Edmonton’s Paula Findlay overwhelmed by home crowd support at international triathlon event

The field also includes the number one ranked female and male triathletes in the world: the United States’ Katie Zaferes and Spain’s Mario Mola.

The elite women’s race will start at 5:36 p.m. and the elite men’s race will begin at 7:21 p.m.

Mola said he’s been preparing for the late start time.

“Coming from Europe, it’s a challenge because for us it’s going to be like racing in the middle of the night,” Mola said.

“But since we are here, we’re trying to train late, for ourselves to stay awake late.”

The mixed relay race will take place on Saturday at 4 p.m. Zaferes said participating in the two events on back-to-back days is exciting but will also present a challenge.

“Although they’re similar, the courses are slightly different and faster and harder, and when you want to be recovering, specifically from a late race, you need to be preparing for the race the next day,” Zaferes said.

Canadian and paratriathlon silver medalist at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Stefan Daniel, will also be racing in the paratriathlon.

The event serves as a qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, as well as an important stop on the way to this year’s Grand Final in Gold Coast, Australia.

Spectators can watch the races from the grandstand at Hawrelak Park or go outside the park to watch the athletes along the route.

READ MORE: Edmonton will host world-class triathlon event again in 2020

Edmonton will host the International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Grand Final for the third time in 2020.

Edmonton hosted the event in 2001 and 2014.

 

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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