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Canada streak to women's triathlon gold

04 August 2002

Carol Montgomery, who represented Canada in the 10,000m at the 1994 Commonwealth Games, won the inaugural Commonwealth women’s triathlon title in Manchester on Sunday.

Carol Montgomery

Carol Montgomery runs the final 100m with a Canadian flag

The 35-year-old kept touch with the lead group throughout the swim and cycle legs before pulling away on the run to win in 2:03:17.86, finally landing a major title after twice finishing second at the world championships.

Leanda Cave (WAL) was second in 2:03:37.17 with Nicole Hackett third.

Under a grey sky, the field of 21 quickly stretched out on the first of the two laps of the 1500m swim.

Rounding the buoy at the midway point, Julie Dibens (ENG) led from Anneliese Heard (WAL) with a pack of eight swimmers, including the Australian trio of Hackett, Loretta Harrop and Michellie Jones, five metres back. Former world champion Hackett led the pack out of the water into transition one, exiting the water in 19:01.1.

A lead pack of eight riders developed on the first of the four laps of the 40km cycle leg.

Jones, the Olympic silver medallist and two-time world champion, struggled to stay in touch and set off on a lone cycle some 200m back. Fellow Australian Harrop also dropped off the pace and slipped down the field.

Halfway through lap four, England’s Jodie Swallow suffered a heavy fall exiting a right-hand bend as the wet conditions worsened. Though the current British champion was able to remount and continue, she lost valuable seconds on the rest of the pack as the cycle leg neared completion.

Dibens led the lead group of seven into transition two in a split of 1:27:27.1 and out onto the final element of the triathlon, the 10km run. Swallow started the run some 72 seconds adrift.

After the first circuit of the three-lap run, Carol Montgomery (CAN), Heather Evans (NZL) and Hackett pulled away from the field, with Montgomery winding up the pace on lap two and making a solo break for the finish.

The Canadian, who was unable to compete in the 10,000m at the Sydney Olympics after breaking her wrist in a heavy fall during the triathlon, showed her pedigree to claim gold in 2:03:17.86.

On winning gold she said: “I would have been happy with any colour but gold is extra special. This is the second most exciting race to win behind the Olympics. I thought I was in pretty good form coming into the Games, enough to medal, but I didn’t think it was enough for gold.”

And on her form: “Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong to get here, but everything went right on the day. The bike is normally my weakness but everyone was so cautious around the corners that I was able to stay in touch.”

Cave, the European silver medallist, won a thrilling race for the silver medal, out sprinting Hackett to the line with Evans fourth.

Cave said: “I was very pleased with my race. I thought I was going to have to settle for fourth but the crowd got behind me and pushed me on. Second was beyond my expectations.”

Info News Service/rb

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