Victoria’s Melanie McQuaid won her second International Triathlon Union Cross Triathlon World Championship in Penticton during the Multisport World Championship Festival on Aug. 13. Mark Brett/Western News

Canadian takes women’s cross tri championship, Mexico’s Serrano wins men’s title

Victoria’s Melanie McQuaid won her second Cross Tri World title, first for Francisco Serrano

Mexico’s Francisco Serrano finally did what he hasn’t been able to do — defeat Cross Triathlon World Champ Ruben Ruzafa of Spain.

Serrano captured his first Multisport World Championship title in Penticton in two hours nine minutes and 25 seconds, stealing victory in the final 300 metres, topping the defending champ in 11 seconds.

“It was close. It was amazing,” said Serrano after crossing the finish line. “It was just a great feeling. I had a chance to enjoy it. I didn’t have to sprint.”

Serrano completed the 1.5-kilometre swim in 20:52, the 31-km bike in 1:17:41 and the 8-km bike in 28:56. Serrano bested Rufaza on the run by 1:06 and claimed $4,750 in U.S. funds for winning.

Ruzafa was second in 2:09:36, while Australia’s Ben Allen was third among elite men and fourth overall in 2:10:42.

“I couldn’t believe I was catching Ruben. I race with him and he has beaten me every time,” said Serrano, who trailed the defending champ by 47 seconds in the swim, but it was New Zealand’s Kyle Swim who was first out of the water in 20:15. “It’s a great feeling. I came really prepared. Everything went so smooth.

“I think one of those days everything just aligns for you,” continued Serrano. “You can have a perfect race. Today was a race. I didn’t have the power in the uphill at the beginning. I thought I was going to be left out of medals. I was running fourth. Once we hit the flat, I felt really good legs. I pushed it all the way to the finish.”

Canadian’s Karsten Madsen was eighth overall among elite men in 2:14:39 and Surrey’s Nathan Killam was 24th in 2:33:17.

Capturing the women’s elite crown was Canadian Melanie McQuaid, who won her second world championship in cross triathlon. With the Canadian flag draped around her, McQuaid finished in 2:34:35.

“It’s a feeling you can’t imagine,” said McQuaid of winning on home soil, and appreciated the crowd, volunteers, organizers and other athletes.

McQuaid won her first International Triathlon Union Cross Triathlon World Championship in Spain in 2011.McQuaid switched to Ironman the last five years. After learning the world championship was coming home, the Victoria native knew she had to come.

“I came out of retirement to do this again. I’m really happy I did,” she said.

McQuaid finished the 1.5-kilometre swim in 22:58, and got through the 31-km bike in 1:31:58. Her run time clocked in at 37:14. McQuaid broke her ankle last year and didn’t think she would be able to run again.

“This is like the first good race since I was injured,” said McQuaid, who also earned $4,750.

On the bike course, McQuaid was working with Great Britain’s Jacqueline Slack along the KVR trail. McQuaid described her as an awesome person, who was sportsmanlike the entire time. She gave the Canadian the lead on the single track and never looked back. Still, the eventual winner felt pressure from everyone.

“It wasn’t a big gap at all. I knew they were coming,” said McQuaid.

Taking second was Slack in 2:36:40 and in third was Ladina Buss of Switzerland in 2:39:08.

Two locals won their age groups. Sarah McMillan took first in a field of 89 in the 45 to 49 group finishing in 3:02:09, while Carl Peterson won the 65 to 69 age group, topping the field on 97 in 3:04:49. Debbie Finnie took second among 196 in the 55 to 59 age group in 3:34:25. Geoff Waterman was third among 18 in the 35 to 39 age group finishing in 2:36:51, while Chris Neenan was sixth among 51 in the 50 to 54 age group in 2:51:44. Joy Peterson was 19th among 239 in the 50 to 54 age group, finishing in 4:00:23. Scott McMillan was 18 among 114 in the 45 to 49 age group, finishing in 3:11:01. He was not able to beat his wife, like he joked about.

Winning the women’s U23 division was Penny Slater of Austria in 2:40:01. The junior female winner was Canada’s Holly Henry, finishing the 1-km swim, 12-km bike and 4-km run in 1:07:09. Kyle Smith of New Zealand captured the U23 division in 2:10:16. The junior men’s winner is Alec Davison of Australia in 58:40. The age group champion is Ryan Lewis (18 to 19) of New Zealand in 2:18:13. The female age group champion is Emanuela Bandol of Canada in 2:57:18. The open wave champ is Nathan Blake of Great Britain in 3:10:28. The female champ is Kris Cannon of Canada in 3:22:32. Darren Smith of Canada was the lone para triathlete. He finished in 2:44:13.