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MONTREAL— Noémie Beaulieu finished just shy of the Junior World Triathlon Sprint Championship podium after a hard-fought fourth-place effort on the streets of Old Montreal Friday.

The 18-year-old Quebecer dug deep to clock a time of 58:14 in the duathlon format. Heavy rains pouring down in the Quebec area over the last 24 hours forced World Triathlon race officials to change the race to a 2.5km run, 20km bike followed by a 5km run.

“It was a bit different being a duathlon because that is not what we were supposed to race, but I was still really happy to be racing in front of my home crowd. It was wild,” said Beaulieu.

After an 11th-place opening run time, the Canadian youngster settled into a large lead pack of 19 for the highly-technical 20-kilometre ride through the nation’s cultural capital.

“My first run went really well.  I had a good transition onto the bike. It was a hard course because there was quite a lot of turns and we were a big group so it was hard to position myself,” said Beaulieu. 

The young Canuck played her tactics to near perfection, positioning herself at the front of the pack in the final lap on the pedals. She brought the hometown crowd to their feet as she was first to storm out of second transition and onto the five-kilometre run with Germany’s Julia Brocker on her shoulder and Sweden’s Tilda Mansson and Germany’s Jule Behrens steps behind.

After the first of two laps, Beaulieu, Brocker and Switzerland’s Livia Gross were running 23 seconds off the pace set by Mansson and Behrens.

In the end it was Mansson surging to the World Championship sprint crown, winning with a time of 57:17. Behrens settled for second spot at 57:29, while Gross topped Canada’s Beaulieu for the bronze medal with a time of 58:03.

“The day went really well and with the crowd, it was just really fun,” added Beaulieu who is competing in her last year as a junior. “I was just happy to be on the start line because I was (sick) recently and wasn’t even sure if I could compete. I’m really happy with this result. I wasn’t expecting it.”

Beaulieu was at the finish to greet three other Canadian women who represent the future of the sport in Canada. Vancouver’s Sidney Clement finished in 23rd spot with a time of 1:01:05, edging out teammate Clara Normand (Coteau-du-Lac, Que.) at the line in a photo finish. Victoria’s Heidi Henry stopped the clock at 1:02:14 for 35th spot.

In the junior men’s duathlon event, it was Mathis Beaulieu leading the charge for the Canucks in seventh place.

The 17-year-old from Quebec City finished just 19 seconds off the podium pace with a time of 52:19.

Beaulieu led the 61-man field around the opening 2.5-kilometre run course. He came out out of T1 in seventh spot where he jockeyed for position throughout a 30-man lead pack that formed for the 20-kilometre bike course.

“The race started pretty fast. I tried to set a fast pace at the front so the guys would ease off a bit and stretch the pack,” said Beaulieu, who is of no relation to Noémie. “I was very comfortable when I got on the bike, but my legs started to cramp up on the second lap.  I had to put the bike down, stretch and get back on, so I lost contact with the pack, which complicated things.  I got off the bike 15 to 30 seconds after the first pack.”

When foot hit pavement for the final time, Beaulieu was in 24th spot. He picked off 17 athletes in the field in the first half of the last run where he remained in seventh spot.

“I tried to build from there but it was difficult at first because of the cramps, but it got better in the end.  It’s a bit disappointing.  I want to do better next year.”

Thomas Hansmaennel, of France, won the men’s race with a time of 51:40. Australia’s Toby Powers stormed to the silver medal position on the podium at 51:57. Reese Vannerson, of the United States, snagged the final spot on the podium at 52 minutes flat.

Louis Marchand (Varennes, Que.) placed 43rd at 56:23. Nathan Grondin (Quebec City) was 48th at 58:00, while Sage Sulentic (Dundas, Ont.) did not finish the race.

Complete Junior World Triathlon Sprint Championship Results:

Five Canucks will be on the start line for the unique Groupe Copley World Triathlon Championship Series Eliminator race, June 24-25.

The Eliminator is an action-packed race format that takes place over two days. On June 24, 60 athletes in each gender will race in one of two super sprint qualification heats: 1km run, 7.2km bike and 2km run. The top-10 finishers in each qualifying race, as well as the top-five finishers in the repechage races for those who did not qualify in the qualifying races will advance to the finals on June 25.

The 30 ranked athletes will line up on the second day to compete for gold in three more super sprints. At the end of Stage 1, 20 athletes will advance to Stage 2, with the last 10 to cross the line being eliminated. At the end of Stage 2, only 10 people will advance to Stage 3, the final race, with the rest all being eliminated. The last race of the day will see the 10 best athletes still in the running battle for the medals in a dramatic final.

For complete race and schedule details on the Groupe Copley World Triathlon

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Chris Dornan

Triathlon Canada

T: 403-620-8731