The first major race of the 2012 produced a pair of surprising results as a newcomer from Canada and a veteran from Bermuda triumphed at the PATCO Pan American Triathlon Championships in La Paz, Argentina today. Sarah-Anne Brault, the reigning Canadian National champion, blitzed the women’s field for her first elite Pan American title, having previously won the junior crown in 2008. While in the men’s field, Bermuda’s Tyler Butterfield claimed his first ITU victory ahead of a pair of Canadians.
Elite Women’s Review
Twenty-one women from ten countries began the race with a two-lap 1.5km swim and first to emerge from the water was Mexico’s Claudia Rivas. Behind her by 24 seconds was a group of eight women that included Brault and fellow Canadian Kathy Tremblay, along with Pan Am Games bronze medallist Pamela Nascimento Oliveira, Ecuador’s Elizabeth Bravo and Margaret Shapiro of the U.S.
A group of more than ten women came together on the bike which also included American Jillian Petersen, Canada’s Kirsten Sweetland and Bermuda’s Flora Duffy. The group opened up a significant lead on the chase group which included Lauren Campbell and Flavia Fernandes of Brazil.
The leaders came into T2 with a comfortable lead on the chase pack. And out on the slightly long 10km run course, Brault and Tremblay surged to the early lead. But Brault soon took over and was untouchable. Clocking the day’s fastest run, she cruised to gold with a final time of 2 hours, 7 minutes and 10 seconds, more than a full minute a head of her closest competitor.
Petersen came from behind to take silver, adding to her bronze from the 2010 Pan American Championships in Mexico. She edged out teammate Shapiro by four seconds as the U.S. claimed two of the three podium spots.
Tremblay finished up in fourth place while Bravo rounded out the top five.
Elite Men’s Review
More than 40 men representing 13 countries began the race in search of the 2012 Pan American title. Argentina’s own Luciano Farias got the fans excited as he was first out of the water, followed closely by American Brian Lamar and Brent McMahon. His Canadian teammate Kyle Jones was a further ten seconds behind him while Butterfield was well back, more than 50 seconds behind the leader.
There were three distinct packs early in the 40km bike, but they soon all came together before they hit the midway mark.
On the fourth of nine laps, Butterfield spearheaded a decisive breakaway that also included home favourite Farias. They took a substantial lead into T2 ahead of the main chase of about 30 men.
McMahon charged out in pursuit of race leader Butterfield. But by the final lap, the Bermudan veteran and 2004 Olympian was still holding a comfortable lead over the Canadians McMahon and Jones. Despite recording the two fastest run splits of the day, it was not enough as Butterfield finished strong taking gold with a time of 1 hour, 53 minutes, 36 seconds.
McMahon, who was last year’s Pan Am Games bronze medallist, took silver while Jones finished with the bronze.
Reigning Junior World Champion Lukas Verzbicas made his highly anticipated elite debut but failed to finish the race after pulled out at the 6km mark with a left shin injury.
Another notable was Oscar Galindez, Olympian from 2000 who returned to ITU competition for the first time since 2003. Despite coming out of the swim more than two and a half minutes behind the leader, Galindez clocked the second-fastest bike split and did it solo to get himself back with the rest of the field. He finished a respectable 18th in his return.
|Results: Elite Men|
|5.||Gonzalo Raul Tellechea||ARG||01:54:52|