Canada’s Emy Legault Smiling in Silver with First Career World Triathlon Cup Podium
HUATULCO, Mex.—Canada’s Emy Legault may have shocked the field, but not herself, after running to her first career World Triathlon Cup podium on Saturday evening in Huatulco, Mexico.
The 26-year-old Quebecer rocketed to the silver medal with a time of 1:00:14 in a thrilling sprint distance race.
“This feels quite amazing,” beamed Canada’s top-ranked women’s triathlete who hails from Ile Perrot, Que.
“At first I couldn’t believe it, but it is starting to soak in now so I’m pretty happy.”
Germany’s Annika Koch won her first World Cup race with a time of 1:00:02. Italy’s Bianca Seregni was forced to settle for the bronze medal after a sprint finish with Legault to determine the final two spots on the women’s podium.
A determined Legault was well placed in the water until things got rough with the 55-woman field jockeying for position around the first buoy. But Legault continued to battle into the top-10 where she exited the 750-metre swim, 30 seconds behind the lead pace.
The Canuck quickly picked up four spots on the field while charging out of first transition and onto the first of the four-lap bike course in the blistering hot and humid conditions.
“On the bike it was just about staying safe. We had a lot in the front pack, people were moving sideways a lot, so I tried to stay towards the front without spending too much energy which played out well,” said Legault, who was one of six riders who entered second transition together, with 28 athletes within eight seconds of lead.
“When I hit T2 at the front, I just tried to run as hard as I could at the beginning and see what I could get.”
Legault and Koch went stride-for-stride for the first half of the five-kilometre run with the Canadian out front heading onto the second lap. But it was Koch who pulled away on the final lap, leaving Legault and Seregni battling over the final two laps for the silver and bronze medals.
“One of the Canadian coaches was there just cheering and telling me to stay with her so I tried as hard as I could, but then I heard people cheering for the athletes behind us so I thought they were coming so I just went as hard as I could. I didn’t want to miss the podium,” said Legault.
Racing shoulder-to-shoulder, Legault found another gear when her foot hit the blue carpet of the finishing stretch, dropping the Italian and locking up second spot.
“I was trying so hard at the end. I thought I was going to get passed because I had nothing left. I am very happy.”
Her teammates were equally happy for her, cheering and supporting her at the medal ceremony.
“I am so happy for her. She made it to the lead pack. She rode really well and I am just so happy for her,” said Alexandrine Coursol (St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.) who was 28th with a time of 1:02:14. “We were all together. We trained together and it is just really special to share this moment with all of them.”
Other Canadian results included Dominika Jamnicky, of Guelph, Ont., placing 11th at 1:00:55; and Toronto’s Kira Bupta-Baltazar, who was second in the swim before experiencing a crash on the bike, finished 39th with a time of 1:04:32. Brittany Warly did not finish.
Legault was a highly-touted prospect for many years in Canada’s triathlon circles. A former Canadian junior champion, Legault was on the national squad when she was 19 years old, but was never able to find her top form following a crash at World Championships. Feeling confident on the swim and bike, she struggled to put all three disciplines together on race day, regularly finding herself getting dropped on the run.
Enter her original coach, Kyla Rollinson. The two re-united and put a focus on her run training which was on full display Saturday in Mexico.
“I knew it was possible today, but it was about executing the race and making it happen,” she said following her breakthrough podium in Mexico.
It has been quite a stretch early in the 2022 season for the duo with Legault running down podiums each time she hits the start line. She also won three silver medals earlier this spring in Amercia’s Cup races while lining up against some of the top names in the sport.
The men’s race World Triathlon Cup race is set for Sunday in Huatulco where Canada’s Tyler Mislawchuk is the two-time defending champion.
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