British paratriathletes win three golds as Paralympic quest starts in Montreal
Claire Cashmore, Dave Ellis and Hannah Moore all top the podium in Canada as qualifying gets underway for Tokyo 2020
View this post on Instagram
Delighted to be on top of the podium and bringing home the 🥇 again here in Montreal for the PTS4 category and super happy to have crossed the line 5th in the race for Paralympic qualification. It was so cool to have a bigger start and made for a very exciting race! Congrats to all my teams mates for some cracking racing out there! 🇬🇧 Really looking forward to a couple of days off when I get home, followed by my first National TT cycling champs next weekend. Then it’s back to a hard block of training ready for the next one! 💪🏼 . 📸 @wags.photo #letsgo #raceday #theraceison #strong #determination #striveforbetter #thebestisyettocome #justthebeginning #onrunning #beon #runonclouds #fast #cervelo #cervelop3 #TTbike #bike #triathlon #swimbikerun #paratri #paratriathlon #onwardsandupwards #progressnotperfection #youronlylimitisyou #WPSMontreal #WorldSeries #Tokyo2020
Team GB paratriathletes enjoyed a successful debut Paralympic Games in Brazil in 2016 with a four-medal haul including gold for Lydney’s Andy Lewis.
But as Montreal hosted the first qualifying round for Tokyo 2020, results from the east Canada city suggest they are on track to go even better this time around.
Racing over the sprint distance of 750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run that is the staple of paratri events, golds for Claire Cashmore, Dave Ellis and Hannah Moore were the highlights among seven medals.
Cashmore reversed the order of last year’s world championships on Gold Coast to triumph in an epic duel with fellow Brit Lauren Steadman in the PTS5 class.
The 31-year-old from Redditch, who had also pipped Paralympic silver medallist Steadman to the national title last month, used the fillip of racing on the Gilles Villeneuve Formula One circuit to post the fastest bike split and hang tough on the run to win by 9sec.
World champion Ellis, racing in the men’s visually impaired division that was not selected for Rio but has been included for Tokyo, is clearly keen to make up for lost time and was a comfortable winner guided by Luke Pollard.
Three-time British champion and also reigning world champion, Moore, from Dorset, was even more untroubled in the PTS4 class and posted the fastest swim and bike splits to win by over 3mins and remain undefeated since June 2018.
Paralympic silver medallist Alison Peasgood took another silver alongside her guide and recent Ironman Lanzarote winner Nikki Bartlett. The pair posted the fastest bike split but were left trailing behind Spain’s Susana Rodriguez on the 5km run.
There was bronze for George Peasgood (PTS5) behind home favourite Stefan Daniel and German world champion Martin Schulz. Peasgood remains the foremost swimmer and cyclist in his category, but was unable to hold off Daniel on the run, who clawed back over 2mins to take the lead in the closing stages.
In the wheelchair classes, Britain were represented by Commonwealth champions Jade Jones-Hall and Joe Townsend. Despite being the fastest on course, Jones-Hall took bronze due to the factoring system that allowed her more physically impaired rivals a 4min 4sec head-start.
Townsend was beaten into fourth place with the top two spots taken by his great Dutch nemeses Jetze Platt and Gert Schipper. The former Royal Marine Commando’s consolation was claiming the fastest split in the racing chair.
It gave head coach Jonathon Riall plenty to be upbeat about ahead of bigger challenges in the coming months.
Speaking to 220Triathlon after the race he said: “Overall, I’m delighted – this was a team performance on par to the world champs at the end of last year.
“This season is all about the test event [in Tokyo] and the worlds [in Lausanne], but today played a big part in our selection process for the Games, so there was never any doubt of its importance.
“We’ve been away for a chunky training camp in Florida and I was really happy to see most people have come out of that in great shape.
“We’ve seen a personal best from Joe, a PB run from George, Claire ride the quickest bike element we’ve ever seen in that class and Lauren had a great ITU season opener.
“There are always things to work on, but nothing reactive from today. There is now another heat training block throughout July for most before we spend 10 days in Japan pre Tokyo.
“It’s reassuring to see the plan we have in place is moving in the right direction and it gives us confidence in seeing it through as effectively as we can for the next 14 months.”