While the Rio 2016 Olympics may seem like a long time away, today was day one of the Olympic Qualifying points to help athletes and country's qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games. C3's Andrew Yorke had never raced in Japan before this weekend and after a great March (with a win in Sarasota and a silver in Clermont Florida) he raced in April Auckland before finalizing his preparation for today's Yokohama Japan World Triathlon Series Race.
The field in Japan was the toughest that has ever raced in Yokohoma's five year triathlon history with 65 men starting and another 40 men on a waiting list just to get a start in the first Olympic qualifying race. Three Canadian men started in Japan. Canadian men's team Captain and C3 Alumni Kyle Jones and Victoria's Andrew McCartney joined Andrew Yorke as the three men racing in Japan. All three men were hoping to use the event to start their qualifying points for Rio, along with using this as another opportunity to impress Triathlon Canada selectors for the 2014 Commonwealth Games that will occur later in July in Scotland.
The Yokohama Race was also the first time in 2014 that the three Olympic men's medalist were in the same field (with Alistair Brownlee having been away with injuries through the early part of 2014). Andrew and Kyle exited the water in just over 18 minutes and got onto the bike in a chase pack of about 20 athletes. Their pack held a few of the strongest men in the world (Richard Murray of South Africa and Mario Mola). New Zealand's Tom Davision came out of the water behind the two Canadians and used his incredible cycling ability to eventually help the chase pack catch the Gomez-Brownlee lead group that was 30+ seconds up the road out of the water.
Mid-way through the 40km ride, Canada's Kyle Jones pulled out with a flu bug. Andrew Yorke continued to ride intelligently and Victoria's Andrew McCartney found the bike pace just a bit too tough and was knocked out of the large main bike group. Out onto the run, the pace was ridiculously fast with Alistair Brownlee going through the first 1km mark in 2min 40 seconds and dropping all but his brother Jonny Brownlee, Javier Gomez, Mario Mola and Richard Murray. Alistair's torrid pace backfired and by the 5km run, it was just Mola, Murray and Gomez, having dropped the two Brownlee brothers. Andrew Yorke continued to run a very smart 10k leg (going through the 5km mark in 15:40) and continued to pass runners right up to the finishing line. Richard Murray was the first to fall of the pace of the lead group of
three and then it was a final sprint for the two Spaniards who ran stride for stride right to the finishing line. Javier Gomez reined supreme winning his third consecutive victory of 2014 and leading the world standings. Andrew Yorke passed a number of World Champions over the last 400m and ran a 31:37 split for 10k and had an incredible 15th place finish overall. Yorke was THE TOP NORTH AMERICAN overall and picked up some very important Olympic Ranking Points in the process. Andrew will race next in Chicago in the June 29th race in the USA.
"I spoke with Andrew after the race and he was in great spirits and incredibly appreciative of the many loyal C3 fans/supporters that have been helping himself and his C3 Team Mates over the past few years" said Barrie Shepley. Andrew's female Canadian team mates had solid day as well I the women's race with Sarah Ann Brault coming 7th, Kirsten Sweetland 29th and Joanna Brown 34th. "While it is not official, after the very strong spring that Andrew Yorke has had racing, its nearly impossible for me to not see him getting an official call to wear the Maple Leaf at the July 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland" said Shepley. "The Commonwealth Games are a major stepping stone to next years Toronto 2015 Pan American Games and the ultimate stepping stone to the 2016 Olympic Games" said Shepley
You can see Andrew Yorke at the C3 Kinetico Kids of Steel Race on June 8th in Caledon and at the C3 High Performance Golf day on June 11th in Caledon.
Andrew would like to thank the team sponsors Kinetico, Royal Containers, Benson Steel, Cervelo Bikes, Caledon Hills Cycling Shop, Nineteen Wetsuits, Louis Garneau, Saucony Shoes, Personal Best & C3 Personal Donors & Supporters.