MILAN — Five U.S. paratriathletes reached the podium at the ITU World Paratriathlon Series opener in Milan on Saturday, highlighted by a gold-medal performance by 2016 Paralympic gold medalist Allysa Seely in the women’s PTS2 division.
The scenic course in the first-time WPS host city featured a 750-meter swim in the Idroscalo Milano, followed by a 19.5-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run on the roads and paths surrounding the lake.
Seely (Glendale, Ariz.) was dominant in the women’s PTS2 race, crossing the line in 1 hour, 17 minutes, 44 seconds. After going undefeated in WPS competition last year, she now has five consecutive victories on the circuit.
"The weeks leading into this race were not as smooth as one would hope for the season opener," Seely said. "Having the support of my coach, the team around me and my family was so important in my performance today. They helped in any way they could, taking some of the stress off of my plate, keeping my body put together and reminding me to go out and race like I know how to. Without that, I am not sure I would have had the success I did today."
Joining Seely on the podium was U.S. teammate Hailey Danz (Wauwatosa, Wis.), who took silver in 1:19:53, and Finland’s Liisa Lilja, who earned bronze in 1:20:58. Seely and Danz are currently resident athletes at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with their sights set on the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
In the women’s PTS4 division, Kelly Elmlinger (San Antonio, Texas) snagged her first career WPS medal with a silver. She crossed the line in 1:16:08, sandwiched between 2018 world champion Hannah Moore of Great Britain (1:13:23) and 2018 world silver medalist Sally Pilbeam of Australia (1:14:44). Elmlinger is in just her second season as an elite triathlete, but has improved dramatically over the past year. Her only other WPS start was the 2018 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships, where she placed fifth — almost eight minutes behind Pilbeam.
Jamie Brown (Bend, Ore.) collected a silver medal in the men’s PTS4 division, recording a time of 1:02:49. France’s Alexis Hanquinquant took the victory in 58:41, and Alejandro Sánchez Palomero of Spain rounded out the podium in 1:03:17. The silver marks Brown’s fifth medal in ITU World Paratriathlon Event competition, and his first since WPS Yokohama last May.
Kyle Coon (Carbondale, Colo.) earned his first-ever WPS medal in the men’s PTVI division with a bronze. He finished in 1:02:06, less than two minutes behind race champion Héctor Catalá Laparra of Spain (1:00:09). Great Britain’s Dave Ellis earned the silver in 1:01:09.
Like Danz and Seely, Coon is also a member of the Toyota USA Paratriathlon Resident Team at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. He is in just his second season of elite paratriathlon competition, but he has never placed lower than fourth in an international start.
Also representing the U.S. on Saturday were Dan St. Pierre (Frankfort, Ill.), who placed eighth in the men’s PTS5 division in 1:19:26, and Ahalya Lettenberger (Glen Ellyn, Ill.), who was sixth in the women’s PTWC division in 1:19:35.
The ITU World Paratriathlon Series travels next to Yokohama, Japan, on May 18, followed by a stop in Montreal on June 28. The series then culminates with the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Sept. 1.
ITU World Paratriathlon Milan
750m swim, 19.5k bike, 5k run | Complete Results
1. Allysa Seely (Glendale, Ill.), 1:17:44
2. Hailey (Wauwatosa, Wis.), 1:19:53
3. Liisa Lilja (FIN), 1:20:58
1. Hannah Moore (GBR), 1:10:09
2. Kelly Elmlinger (San Antonio, Texas), 1:16:08
3. Sally Pilbeam (AUS), 1:17:56
1. Alexis Hanquinquant (FRA), 58:41
2. Jamie Brown (Bend, Ore.), 1:02:49
3. Alejandro Sánchez Palomero (ESP), 1:03:17
1. Martin Schulz (GER), 57:27
2. George Peasgood (GBR), 59:16
3. José Abraham Estrada Sierra (MEX), 59:30
8. Dan St. Pierre (Frankfort, Ill.), 1:19:26
1. Héctor Catalá Laparra (ESP), 1:00:09
2. Dave Ellis (GBR), 1:01:09
3. Kyle Coon (Carbondale, Colo.), 1:02:06
1. Eva María Moral Pedrero (ESP), 1:11:15
2. Jessica Ferreira (BRA), 1:11:55
3. Margret Ijdema (NED), 1:12:33
6. Ahalya Lettenberger (Glen Ellyn, Ill.), 1:19:35
About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation — USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).