Battling on one of the most beautiful and scenically diverse courses that the sport has seen Canada’s own Melanie McQuaid was named the 2017 Penticton ITU Cross Triathlon World Champion.
The win from McQuaid gave her a reclaiming of the crown after she first won the ITU Cross Title in 2011. But after 6 years, she busted out a dominating start-to-finish performance to grant her the second title and more so, on home soil. Coming in second was Great Britain’s Jacqueline Slack and bronze then was earned by Ladina Buss (SUI).
Starting off just five minutes after the men, the full women’s field saw a strong mix of XTERRA and off road centered athletes vying for titles.
The 1.5km swim that saw the women glide through the water of the calm Okanagan Lake, put a number in separating the field. Four leaders exited the swim first, including Slack, McQuaid, Suzanne Snyder(USA) and Spaniard Laura Gomez Ramon and they had a substantial lead over the rest of the field.
However, while the foursome made it through the first transition together, once out onto the dirt paths of the bike course Mcquaid really powered through her swimmates to take the lead spot.
Maybe it was the encouragement or momentum from knowing she is racing in her home country, but McQuaid took off fiercely and never slowed down. She rocked through the tough and technical bike course that winded through the backwoods trails, never slowing down to allow her competitors to catch her.
Once she made it through the second leg of the race and made her way downhill back towards the transition zone, she was unstoppable with an advantage no one could touch. She then carried her lead out onto the run, where she also excels.
The curvy and descending trails on the run course could not even slow her down and she continued on to the finish line to grab the tape and claim her second World Title in 7 years.
McQuaid said, “I think it is really special when you can win a World Championships in your home country because you just have that extra support and more of your family and friends around, so it is awesome.”
“I told my coach Kelly that this was the World Championship course I always prayed for when I was focusing on the off road stuff, so I really knew it was going to be a great course for me. Then when I went out there it just was one of those magical days where I just was having so much fun, nothing hurt and I just was loving it.”
Slack brought in the line to take second place, having a strong race from being the swim leader, to remaining as the main chaser on the bike and run. Third place then went to Buss, who despite a gap to be made up from the swim, caught up to the field and brought her onto the podium.
The men’s u23 podium was earned by Kyle Smith (NZL), Marcello Ugazio (ITA) and Arthur Forissier(FRA). While the men’s junior champion was Alec Davison (AUS), followed by Tate Haugan (CAN) and Filippo Pradella (ITA).
On the women’s side, the u23 champion crown went to Penny Slater (AUS) followed by Laura Gomez Ramon (ESP). The junior title was won by Holly Henry (CAN) and then followed by Bridget Theunissen(RSA) and Marta Menditto (ITA).
photo Getty Images