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—Stefan Daniel and Leanne Taylor race to silver, Kamylle Frenette battles to bronze in season debut—

BESANCON, Fra.—Canada’s Paratriathlon team racked up a trio of medals in their return to the World Triathlon Para Cup in Besancon, France on Saturday.

Caglary’s Stefan Daniel scrapped his way to the silver medal step of the podium in the men’s standing  category. Winnipeg’s Leanne Taylor was all smiles after matching Daniel’s performance in the women’s wheelchair classification, while Kamylle Frenette, of Dieppe, N.B., snagged the bronze medal in women’s standing. It was the first international race of the season for Daniel and Frenette.

A two-time Paralympic medallist, the 25-year-old Daniel continues to round back into elite form with just his second race since capturing the bronze medal at the Tokyo Games. The four-time World Champion clocked a time of 1:03:10 in the sprint distance race.

“I was actually quite happy with the race today. Post Tokyo my fitness isn’t where it usually is this time of year, but I knew that going in,” said Daniel., who came out of the 750-metre swim with the leaders and tried to minimize the amount of time lost against the stronger cyclists on the 20-kilometre bike.

“I suffered on the run, but I managed to hold my form together. My goal this year is just to try to get better each race and progress throughout the year. This was a good check in to see where I’m at. I’m excited to have another crack at racing next weekend.”

Daniel finished behind his top rival from Germany, Martin Schulz. The two-time Paralympic champion rocketed to a golden time of 1:01:26. Brazil’s Ronan Cordeiro finished third at 1:05:22.

Leanne Taylor kicked the new Paralympic quadrennial off to a sizzling start. The 29-year-old, who was left paralyzed from the waist down following a mountain bike accident four years ago, chalked up her second-straight silver medal in just her second full season of competing. Taylor completed the challenging 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre bike and 5-kilometre run course in a time of 1:25:40.

“This was my first time racing in Besancon, so I was excited to race on such a beautiful course,” said Taylor, who was also second at the World Para Triathlon Championship race in Yokohama last month. “The hills out here on the bike course are definitely bigger than what we see on the prairies, but I was happy with my performance and excited to build on it next weekend.”

Mona Francis, of France, won the women’s wheelchair classification with a time of 1:25:16.

Kamylle Frenette swapped the white medical coat for a 2XU Canadian race suit. Frenette, who earned a degree in pharmacy at the University of Moncton and was delivering COVID vaccinations in Nova Scotia while continuing her training and preparation for the Tokyo Paralympics, made a triumphant return to international racing, battling to the bronze in the women’s standing sprint race.

A fourth-place finisher in her Paralympic debut in Tokyo, the 25-year-old Frenette clocked-in at 1:14:52 for the bronze.

“I came into this race without big expectations. I just wanted to follow my plan, and I did exactly that,” said Frenette. “I went out hard on the swim and came out of the water with the top girls. Kept my cadence up on the bike and stayed smooth and controlled on the run. It’s all up from here. I’m stoked to be back out here racing.”

Grace Norman, of the United States, rocketed to the gold medal with a time of 1:10:30. Great Britain’s Claire Cashmore was second at 1:12:26.

The Canadians will now travel to A Coruna Spain for a World Triathlon Para Cup next weekend.

Complete World Triathlon Para Cup Results:

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Chris Dornan

Triathlon Canada

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