Vancouver's Rachel McBride battled through challenging weather conditions to win her first career bronze medal on Saturday in the elite race at the International Triathlon Union's long distance world championships in Belfort, France.

Cold weather forced officials to cancel the three-kilometre swim and reconfigure the format to a duathlon consisting of a 10-kilometre run, followed by an 87-kilometre bike, and another 20-kilometre run.

McBride completed the race in four hours 52 minutes two seconds.

"That was my first duathlon, and it was an amazing race," said McBride. "My goal was to achieve a podium finish, and I did just that. The plan was to go all out on the bike, and hang on for the run. The last three kilometres were extremely hard. I didn't know the French girl [who finished fourth] was so close. I am so happy with my bronze."

Australia's Melissa Hauschildt was crowned champion of the women's elite race after clocking a time of 4:42:38. Denmark's Camilla Pedersen won silver at 4:44:14.

Pierre-Yves Gigou, of Sherbrooke, Que., was the only Canadian in the men's elite race, placing 13th at 4:35:00.