Whitfield leads Canada to bronze

Lauren Groves and Simon Whitfield led a group of four Canadians to bronze at the inaugural team world championship relay competition on Sunday.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Lauren Groves and Simon Whitfield led a group of four Canadians to bronze at the inaugural team world championship relay competition on Sunday.

The Canadian team of Vancouver’s Groves, Victoria’s Whitfield and Brent McMahon and Montreal’s Kathy Tremblay received US$10,000 for crossing the finish line third with a time of one hour 21 minutes and 31 seconds.

“It was another great day and this event is very exciting for the future of our sport,” said Whitfield, who won the first-place prize of $200,000 in Saturday’s individual men’s race.

“It was definitely fun and everyone raced exceptionally well.”

The 27-year-old Groves was first in the water for Canada against the top-17 nations in the world that competed in the newly-created team race.

The event includes two women and two men on each team. Each athlete completes a 250-metre swim, 6.6-kilometre bike ride and 1.6-kilometre run. Athletes tag their teammates in a transition area after completing the three disciplines.

“It was definitely a great weekend and I never would have thought that I’d leave here with two bronze medals,” said an exhausted Groves, who captured third Saturday in the women’s elite race. “I was nervous being the first one, but I just focused completely on the swim and having a strong transition.

“We laid it all on the line today and I’m more tired than yesterday if that is possible.”

Groves tagged off to McMahon who had a stellar second leg before handing off to Tremblay.

Switzerland’s top team captured the gold medal with a time of 1:20:56, while Australia was second at 1:21:05.

The International Triathlon Union showcased the new format of racing in Des Moines, in hopes of it being selected into the lineup of competitions at the 2012 Olympic Summer Games.

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