Australia’s unstoppable Lauren Parker has chalked up an extraordinary 11th consecutive victory at the World Triathlon Para Series Montreal, giving her a flying start to Paris Paralympic Qualification.
Saying she is a stronger athlete now than she was at the same time last year as she eyes places on both the triathlon and cycling teams for the 2024 Paris Games.
The 34-year-old led the Aussie charge which saw her fellow Tokyo Paralympic representative Nic Beveridge finish with silver and Justin Godfrey, starting his qualifying campaign with a bronze.
It was a hard day’s racing with Canada’s famed Formula One track at Parc Jean-Drapeau delivering tough conditions, with nowhere to hide on a challenging course, a non-wet suit swim and little breeze to cool the athletes.
Triathlon Australia’s Paralympic Performance Manager, Kyle Burns admitted that the conditions and course did make it hard to progress through if athletes found that they had time to make up.
“The bike course had changed this year and it was congested with the five laps out and back – certainly nowhere to hide on this course with the heat and the flatness of the bike and run.”
In another impressive performance, the unflappable Parker (1:03.32) raced away to beat Tokyo gold medallist, Kendall Gretsch (1:06.11) with Brazil’s Jessica Ferreira, crossing from bronze in 1:06.31.
Parker said she was both “happy and relieved” to get the job done and rewarded with top points towards her Paris qualification.
“I definitely had a great race and I’m glad I got the win with such an impressive field and a great start to my Paris Paralympic campaign,” said Parker,
“It always makes it all the more satisfying to know I’ve been able to beat the best athletes in the world in my category and to get my 11th consecutive win.
“My plan was to put pressure on the rest of the field and I’m pretty sure I did that out there today.”
Parker’s race started with a good lead out of the one-lap swim, although not as big of a lead as she would normally have.
“I remember seeing where the rest of the field was at the end of the swim and they weren’t far behind so I knew I really had to get a good transition and get out on the bike course as fast as I could,” said Parker.
“I had high expectations of myself on the bike because that’s where I normally increase my lead and I’ve done a lot of work on the bike recently and changed my set up which has helped me become a stronger athlete than last year.
“I felt great out there on the bike and it was a fast course for sure.
“I stuck to my plan and kept increasing my lead so that I’d get a good start on the run which I was really happy with - I’ve been working hard at it and changed a lot with my technique to be more powerful and efficient and it’s slowly paying off.”
Two-time Paralympian, Beveridge also kicked-started his PTWC Qualification period with a solid showing, starting with his usual strong swim with he and Japan’s Kimura Jumpei got away at the start of the race ahead of the USA’s Howie Sanborn.
Beveridge and Jumpei were very close coming onto the bike and both were having a good tussle but couldn’t hold off Sanborn on the bike and the American came past them both and went to a strong lead position.
“Nic though dug in for the run which he is strong at and had the quickest run time to get back up to and pass Jumpei to take a convincing silver," said Burns.
“These three have raced together at Devonport and Yokohama and now Montreal and it is a tussle each time with their different strengths and weaknesses.”
Godfrey’s PTS3 class was a race in three.
“The swim is still a work in progress for Justin,” said Burns.
“We would prefer a wet suit swim, but with a flowing bike, that is the time for him to reduce the gap and he did this with the fastest bike split.
“Justin made some good progress through transition before setting off on what was a lot stronger run than his recent Yokohama outing where he had a compromised run.
“But it was a solid all-round performance that showed progress in the right direction for him.” The Australian contingent will now fly straight to the United Kingdom, arriving into Wales ahead of the weekends WTPS Swansea race.
Team AUS | WTPS Montreal Results
Nic Beveridge (PTWC) - 2nd
Glen Jarvis (PTS2) - 7th
Justin Godfrey (PTS3)- 3rd
Jeremy Peacock (PTS4) - 7th
Liam Twomey (PTS4) - 11th
David Bryant (PTS5) - 5th
Jack Howell (PTS5) - 6th
Sam Harding (PTVI) - 5th
Lauren Parker (PTWC) - 1st
Grace Brimelow (PTS2) - DSQ
Caroline Baird (PTVI) - 7th