Canadian Melanie McQuaid made an impressive ITU debut and was crowned the first ITU Cross Triathlon World Champion today in Extremadura, Spain.
McQuaid overcame adversity when her bike was lost while traveling to Spain. She was forced to race on a borrowed bike for today’s championships but didn’t let that stop her from powering to her first ever ITU World Championship, adding to her three Xterra world titles.
In all, 25 women from 11 countries tackled the course, set at “The Ring”, an International Innovation Centre for outdoor sports in Extremadura.
McQuaid’s Canadian teammate Christine Jeffrey led the women out of the 1km swim. She held a significant lead over the favourites, with the fastest swim split by 1 46-second margin. McQuaid trailed by over two and a half minutes after the swim.
But once on the 20km mountain bike course, McQuaid made her move and surged to the lead. Garrard followed in second place while Jeffrey dropped to third. Vanlandingham, who was second last out of the water, sizzled on the bike, recording the fastest bike split as the only woman to bike under an hour. McQuaid had the second fastest bike split, more than enough to propel her to the lead.
Off the bike and out onto the 6km cross-country run, McQuaid continued to lead the field. Behind her, Vanlandingham worked her way into the silver medal position with Garrard just behind her in third.
Even a 15-second penalty wasn’t enough to stall McQuaid in her unstoppable march to victory. The Canadian never looked back enroute to her first career ITU World Championship, stopping the clock at 1 hour, 43 minutes, 2 seconds, a comfortable 23 seconds ahead of Vanlandingham and 41 seconds ahead of Garrard.
Jeffrey finished up in fourth position, followed by France’s Marion Lorblanchet in fifth place. Tops for the home team was Rodriguez who was sixth across the line. Other notables were Austrian Winter Triathlon star Carina Wasle in 11th place and Natalia Rana, sister of Ivan Rana, finished 14th.
In the junior division, Miriam Casillas García of Spain thrilled the home crowds, taking the junior women’s world title. Casillas Garcia dominated the race, winning by more than three minutes. Jip Veelenturf of the Netherlands edged out Judit Saizar Ardanuy of Spain for the silver.