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Posted: June 19, 2003

Triathlon: Natasha Filliol's Race Report ITU World Cup Gamagori June 15, 2003

Two down and one to go! This weekend in Gamagori , Japan I got my second top ten finish under my belt, getting my 2nd of three COC standards for the Canadian Olympic Team for Athens !

After last week’s World Cup in Korea , I recovered well and I had strong week of training, feeling especially good in the pool. My race in Korea gave me a lot of confidence and I couldn’t wait to toe the line again and give it another go.

The race took place at a boat racing stadium in Gamagori, about one hour from Nagoya . The swim was two loops with an exit run out of the water after the first loop. I was content with my pontoon position, but race morning would prove otherwise. I had a difficult start, and spent the entire first loop battling for position. At the re-entry point after one loop, I could see that I was further back than I wanted to be in the swim, but all I could do was swim the second part as fast as possible. The second loop was cleaner, as the pack stretched out and it wasn’t as rough. Entering transition I made a quick change, hoped on my bike and hammered to catch as many in front as I could. Before long a strong chase pack formed, and similarly to last weekend and we worked well together.

This week however we were able to catch the front pack by lap 6 of 7. I felt better and better on each loop of the 7 loop course and did a fair amount of work to put myself in position to run for the lead. I have been waiting for a chance to run with the front pack for some time, so when we caught the front group I knew exactly what I had to do now! It was a very large pack and it was tricky to get to the front near the end and stay there with only one lap, but I saw an opportunity before we entered the stadium for the last time and I took it. This style of racing is all about opportunity and taking risks. When you seize one you’ve got to take it by the horns! I had fast bike to run transition and took off in the front, shoulder to shoulder with last weekends winner Laura Reback.

I had so much adrenaline I didn’t know what to do with it! Running at the front proved very exciting, but it was also much different than chasing. Initially I was at the front and set the pace. I felt good but before long things got tougher and I realized that it was going to come down to who wanted it the most. By the second loop of three, I was running in fourth and trying desperately to catch third, with an Aussie competitor on my shoulder the whole time. The run was flat and I could have used some hills to get the legs to turn over faster, to close that gap… With one lap I could see that I was well inside the top ten (for my Olympic criteria), so I gutted out the last section.

The Aussie stayed on my shoulder and I surged, trying to shake her, but to no avail. At one point third was coming back to us. This was going to be close! Dig, dig, dig!!! After the last turnaround I dug a little deeper and my lungs felt like they were going to burst in the high humidity. The last little rise on the course I used, as it was the closest thing to a hill and I thought finally that I broke the Aussie. I couldn’t hear her breathing anymore and third place was just in front. Now it was all guts to the finish line. Entering the stadium for the last time I gave it everything I had. It was the homestretch and I could see 1, 2 and 3 just in front of me. Just when I thought I had 4th wrapped up the Aussie came up to my shoulder and just got me at the line giving me a 5th position only 38 seconds from 1st and 14 secs from 3rd. This was my best ever World Cup result, and moved up to 19th in the ITU World Rankings, past Carol Montgomery into the 3rd Canadian position and put me in excellent position to qualify for the Pan American Games Team to compete in the Dominican Republic this summer. All in all the last three weeks have been very successful and have moved me a lot closer to Athens 2004!

Thanks for your support,

Natasha Filliol

2002 Commonwealth Games Team Member

Canadian Elite Triathlon Team Member

Supported by Subaru, New Balance, Orbea Bicycles, PowerBar, GPush, Rudy Project, Aquaman, Marco Travel Paris, Millard, Rouse and Rosebrugh Accounting Brantford, Carnac, First Endurance, and Competition Zone

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