Abu Dhabi, UAE. 1st February 2011: Ironman world champions and legends of triathlon â€“ Australia’s Chris â€˜Macca’ McCormack and Craig â€˜Crowie’ Alexander â€“ have both thrown their hats in the ring for next month’s Abu Dhabi International Triathlon, as they look to go head-to-head for the lion’s share of the US$250,000 prize purse.
The dynamic Aussie duo, both originally from Sydney, will lead one of the best elite fields expected outside of Kona, Hawaii when they take to the Abu Dhabi start-line on March 12th. They join defending champions – Spain’s Eneko Llanos and Great Britain’s Julie Dibens â€“ who have also thrown down the gauntlet to the 45-strong elite field contesting the event’s unique 223kms course.
And with the fearsome twosome having dominated the Hawaii Ironman for the past four years, with McCormack winning in 2010 and 2007 and Alexander in 2008 and 2009, the chasing elite field will need to be in superlative form to tame the energy-infused Antipodeans.
“The opportunity to race the world’s best athletes, over a very unique triathlon distance is exciting and it will be a wonderful race and I look forward to the challenge. It takes the foresight and courage of destinations like Abu Dhabi to create these different styles of races and challenges, and I am anticipating a very tough day,â€ said McCormack, the only athlete to win Triathlon World Championships and the ITU World Cup Series in the same year (1997).
â€œI have spent a lot of time in the UAE and have many friends who call Abu Dhabi home. The course is challenging, Abu Dhabi is spectacular and the winds could make this race much tougher. It should be great and I am excited about competing,â€ added the five-time Ironman Australia winner.
And Alexander, one of only four male triathletes to win the Ironman World Championship two years in a row (2008, 2009), is hoping to kick-start another record-breaking season off in Abu Dhabi and wrestle the Hawaii title back off his countryman.
“I’m excited to make my competitive Middle East race debut in Abu Dhabi. I had ties with the UAE a few years back and I’ve also had a blast training with local triathletes in the Emirates several times. The race venue in Abu Dhabi looks fantastic and I look forward to my first race of 2011 at this world-class event,” said Alexander, a previous Ironman 70.3 World Championship (2006) winner.
Registrations for the second Abu Dhabi International Triathlon has more than doubled over the 2010 edition, with over 1,500 athletes from 48 countries due to take their marks in the UAE capital next month.
Living up to its international billing, the race â€“ which is run over three unique distances â€“ has seen first time representation from Brazil, the Channel Islands, China, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Slovenia, Turkey, Taiwan and Vietnam.
Much of its success is down to its specialised format, with a finishing running leg shorter than typical Ironman events, allowing athletes to recover faster and compete more often, as well as a city-wide course that weaves through many of the UAE capital’s iconic landmarks including a cycle sprint around the stunning Yas Marina Circuit, home of the Formula 1â„¢ Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
â€œTo have doubled our entire field in just 12 months and to attract an enhanced world-class athlete line-up, consisting of world-champions, Olympians and world record holders, speaks volumes about how positive word-of-mouth about this event has spread and interest has grown,â€ said Faisal Al Sheikh, Events Manager, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), which organises the race.
â€œWith Abu Dhabi boasting a large Australian population, we expect to see a very strong turnout from fans cheering on their countrymen and hopefully many more turning up on the start-line to compete shoulder-to-shoulder with their sporting heroes.â€
This year’s event will be raced across three lengths. Professionals will contest a 3kms swim, a 200kms cycle and 20kms closing run. The shorter version, at half the length, has a 1.5kms swim, a 100kms cycle and a 10kms run, with both courses eligible for a share of the US$250,000 prize purse.
Also a first for this year’s edition, ADTA has also launched a unique â€˜sprint’ distance as an entry platform for aspiring athletes. Comprising a 750m swim, 50kms bike and 5kms run, the new â€˜sprint’ course is aimed at boosting uptake from novice racers across the Arabian Gulf and can be raced as an individual or as a team.
Places are charged at US$180 and US$123 for the long and short distances, respectively. The team relay short course entry fee stands at US$272, and the sprint fee will be US$70 for individuals, US$112 for a team.
Athletes interested in entering should visit www.abudhabitriathlon.com and, after clicking on the ENTER NOW link, simply follow the instructions.
Bike Fit Workshop in Sydney with Dr Andy Pruitt and Scott Holtz
Riders wanting a no compromise bike fit solution to rider care and performance, will be able to attend a Sydney Workshop with Dr Andy Pruitt and Scott Holtz in conjunction with Sydney’s most experienced Body Geometry Master Fitters Mark Newton and Kane McLaughlan at Jet Cycles.
Attendees will learn more about the benefits of Body Geometry Fit, the need for medically tested solutions and have the opportunity for Q&A with fitters who have a wealth of experience with fitting professional teams and athletes. There will also be a few lucky door prizes.
Where: Jet Cycles, 80 Clarence St, Sydney
When: Saturday 29th September
Who: Riders, coaches, and parents
About Body geometry
Developed after years of working with Dr. Andy Pruitt Ed.D., PA of the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine and found only at your local Specialized dealer, BG FIT (Body Geometry Fit Integration Technology) is a comprehensive fit philosophy created to help cyclists ride faster, longer and in greater comfort, while reducing the chance for injury.
About Mark Newton and Jet Cycles
Mark Newton is a World Class Triathlon Coach, Sport Scientist and Body Geometry Master Fitter and fit Chris McCormack to his Shiv Tri bike which he used to win the 2012 ITU Long Distance Championships in Spain.
Jet Cycles is a Specialized Concept Store in the Sydney CBD, it is the largest dealer of Shiv Tri bikes in NSW and houses Sydney’s leading bike fit studio incorporating the only integrated multi discipline approach to rider care and performance through bike fit, coaching and correction.
Peter Robertson’s Gamagori Memories inspire Australian Talent Academy Young Guns
Triathlon Australia’s National Talent Academy â€œYoung Gunsâ€ won’t have to look too far for inspiration when they line up in Sunday’s ITU Triathlon Asian Cup in Gamagori.
It was in 2005 in the picturesque Japanese coastal city of on Mikawa Bay that one of the legends of Australian triathlon, Peter Robertson created history when he won the last of his three World Championships.
After victories in Edmonton and Queenstown in 2001 and 2003 â€œRobboâ€ stuck to his two-year cycle to dig deep again and take a third and deserving world championship victory.
Now seven years on Robertson, 36, is one of several coaches on the NTA Young Guns tour in charge of an exciting new generation of Australian triathlon stars.
Melbourne-based Robertson has been appointed along with the likes of Craig Walton, Chris Lang and Keiran Barry to steer an exciting group of youngsters who have already made a big impression.
Queensland’s Sarah Deuble, who is coached by Dan Atkins, has already chalked up two wins from two starts in the Mooloolaba Oceania Cup and at last Sunday’s ITU Triathlon Asian Cup race in Amakusa and is looking for a third.
“I’m really enjoying my first experience with the Japanese races,â€ Deuble said. â€œObviously Amakusa was great fun, winning the race there. I hope I can continue to race well again this weekend in Gamagori.â€
Deuble was 20 seconds behind in the swim and then went on to dominate the bike and run.
Sydney’s Bree Jones had a great start and lead to the first turning buoy but was forced wide and wasn’t aggressive enough to hold position so lost time to the lead three Japanese athletes. A four-women second pack lead by Jones and included Kirralee Pride with Deuble was further 20 seconds behind and out by herself.
Onto the bike the Japanese trio tried to form a lead while the group formed behind and included all three Aussie girls. They were caught at the 15km mark.
The group completed the bike together with Deuble making a very smart, very sneaky move at the end, finishing the bike about 100m off the front, the bike course finished with a moderately steep downhill with a shallow turn mid-way through.
She positioned herself on the front for the dismount line but the Asian athletes all braked for the downhill and Sarah managed to roll off the front.
Deuble then built a lead from there and raced out of sight, finishing 1min clear of Japanese pair Kirra and Sato who ran together until the last kilometre where Kirra managed to get a small break on the last small rise before the finish.
â€œOn the last hill of the bike I managed to break away from everyone and had about a handy lead on the field going down the hill but then I didn’t realise that the dismount line was so close so when I got to the line I had to fully slam on my breaks to not go over it as I still had to get one of my feet out,â€ Deuble said.
â€œBy the time I did this the main pack had all caught me so I was a little disappointed about that but I still managed to be third out of transition onto the run.
â€œThen on the run I started off at a nice comfortable pace and just eased into the first 1km and then at about the 2km mark which was this long gradual hill I pulled away.
â€œFrom then on I led the whole way although I started to struggle at about the 8km mark with a really bad stitch.
â€œOver the last 2km I just tried to push through the pain as best I could and finally at about 500m to go the pain finally subsided and I was able to finish strongly.
â€œOverall I was really happy with how I raced, I was just annoyed at my dismount but apart from that everything else ran smoothly.
â€œMy transitions were nice and fast so hopefully coach Dan Atkins will be pleased with that.â€
Mitch Keally wins Bronze in the Men’s race
In the men’s race it was Shane Barry and Taylor Cecil who led out of water with a five to seven second lead to a group of men including former Commonwealth Games athlete Mitch Kealy (who would go on to finish third) Marcel Walkington, Kenji Nener and Kane Simpson.
Michael Gosman was a further 10sec back with another Japanese athlete. Sam Speachley was 1.10min down on the leaders.
On the mount line Kim (Korea) ran into the back of Walkington who broke his rear derailleur resulting in a DNF.
This group formed a lead pack of 12 men on the bike that worked well together to build a 2 min plus gap on the chasers.
Onto the run a lead group of 10 formed straight away with Michael Gosman falling off the pace out of transition.
Mitch, Taylor and Shane ran at the front until the 4km mark where Svarc (CZE) and Goldsmith (NZL) formed a small break on the steep downhill.
Goldsmith built a strong lead from there and looked well in control from the 8km mark and was never headed.
Svarc built a small lead but that was cut in the last 1km as Mitch and Taylor finished strongly dropping Shane over the last rise on the course a bridge with 1km to go.
Svarc held on while Kealy and Taylor had a sprint finish for 3rd (the race finished on a tartan track for the final 300m) with Barry fifth, Shaw sixth and Nenner seventh and Simpson ninth â€“ giving Australia six of the top ten.
As for Robertson he can’t wait to get back to the Gamagori course with so many great memories.
“After winning the world champs in 2005 in Gamagori I can’t wait to return this time to watch and support the young guns from Australia!â€ said the duel Olympian.
â€œThe Japanese always put on great events and I sure Gamagori will once again be exciting racing. A little less painful for me this time around though!”
Guy Crawford Reports in on the Hawaii 70.3 and whether to try and match Lance Armstrong on the bike
By Guy Crawford
Kate (Bevilaqua) and I love coming to the big Island to race and train, Although this time the wind made it really hard for me to enjoy the Queen K.
For the week leading into the Hawaii 70.3 Kate and I based ourselves in Kona. Our last long ride to the bottom of Hawi was crazy the cross winds made it really hard to keep your line on the road and then later in the week the wind seemed to increase. OH NO!!
Come race day the forecast was wind, wind and then a little more windâ€¦ With Lance Armstrong on the start line the media seemed a tad heavier than usual (which was cool).
Once the gun sounded and the initial white wash of the start settled down I found myself on Lance’s feet and continued to swim in the top 5. The swim was as I expected it to be (a big group) and 8 of us exited the water within 15 sec’s of each other.
Now here was where I had to make a decision ride for as long as I could with the likes of Lance, Greg, Chris and the GCM AKA Maiki or ride my race. I decided to ride my race (In hind sight maybe I should have tried to ride a bit harder in the beginning) however decisions made and I was feeling really good riding at a comfortably hard pace.
Riding up Hawi was crazy the wind felt like it was pushing my front wheel out from under me. Congratulations to all that got through that ride, it was intense.
At the Turn I had lost some serious time to Lance and quite a bit to the other 3 in front. I decided to ride hard down Hawi, the wind played with my head a few times, but I rode through it for the most part and was stoked with the way I descended. You have to keep thoughts like ‘If I fall off at this speed, I’m probably going to die’ out of your head.
Onto the run and by this point the field was totally split apart, I ran out of transition and onto the golf course where the spongy grass started sapping the energy from my body… YAYâ€¦ for the first 34 miles I didn’t see a soul, except for the awesome aid station volunteers. Then once out on the first real road section I spotted Maiki and Chris still 68mins up the road. I kept my pace and tried to run strong through the windy sections and fast with the tail wind.
Leading into the last 2 miles I could see the gap to Chris and Maiki was coming down quickly, 3mins , 2mins, 90sec and then 1minâ€¦ I was running people down (that doesn’t usually happen) In the end I ran out of real estate and was 64 sec’s off the podium.
Happy with my day, mixing it up with some of the best in the sport. The guys in front are all legends in triathlon.
Big congratulations to everyone who battled the wind (Pele) and finished in those conditions.
Now it’s time to recover and then start our build for IM CDA in 3 weeks time.
Thanks to my sponsors and supportersâ€¦
Kâ€Swiss , blueseventy, Ceepo , Rolf Prima, Xu1 Sports , nuun, Vision, FSA, Ryders, Rocktape, Challenge Tyres, SaltStick, Swimsmooth and Bont
You can also read Kate Bevilaqua’s race report here.
Results (full details Ironman.com)
|Vonach, Thomas J.||AUT||0:30:16||2:23:23||1:25:22||4:23:52||3||14|
|Oh, Young Hwan||KOR||0:31:18||2:30:40||1:29:09||4:36:21||3||30|
Australian Triathlon Olympic Team Voting Results
We ran a poll on Trizone a couple of weeks ago to get some feedback from the Australian triathlon community. 474 people voted on who they wanted in the Australian Triathlon Team for the Olympics. It was interesting to watch the voting. Macca and Atkinson were the overwhelming favourites to fill the remaining two men’s spots. Brendan Sexton receivedÂ around about 12% of the men’s votes. Interestingly Macca received 1% of the vote to fill one of the female spots.
For the record Brad Kahlefledt and Emma Moffatt are already in the team.
In the women’s voting things were heavily weighted towards Erin Densham for obvious reasons. However voting for the third spot was interesting. It was all Emma Snowsill for the first few days then over a 2-3 hour period on a Thursday afternoon there was a plunge on Emma Jackson and she swept to the lead and remained there until we closed the poll.
The talk is that Snowy will get the 3rd spot and it is pretty obvious that Erin Densham is the number 2.
A lot of people are questioning why Ashleigh Gentle’s name is not being mentioned. The word is that she is still young and not quite consistent enough but is definitely being groomed for the Olympics in Rio 2016. Along with Emma Jackson and whoever else we will have an incredibly strong female Olympic team in four years time.
In the men’s team things are not quite as straight forward. Courtney Atkinson has come good recently and with his past form will get the nod for spot number two. To everyone it looks like Chris McCormack should get the nod ahead of Brendan Sexton. However the inside talk is that Sexton has met more of the selection criteria over the last year.
In Sydney during the ITU it was obvious who the triathlon public wanted to see in the London 2012 team. Everytime Macca came past the cheers were huge.
Sexton seems to be struggling to get out of the water and is then struggling to get back in to the race.
A dark horse would be Aaron Royle. If it wasn’t for a major mistake in T1 Royle could very well have placed top 10 in Madrid. Coming out of the water with the leaders Royle then proceeded to follow them through transition forgetting that he was around number 49 not 9. So he had to double back to get his bike and missed the front pack. In saying this Royle has not had the opportunity over the last year to meet selection criteria.
Let’s see what happens this weekend.
Triathlon Australia’s Newest Board Member Mick Maroney wants to Connect Triathletes with the Board
The appointment of Dr Mick Maroney to the Triathlon Australia board recently has been met with a positive reaction from the general triathlon community in Australia. A professional in the sport in the late 80s and 90s Mick Maroney brings a true â€˜triathlon’ representation to the sport’s governing body.
Maroney has replaced Michelle Gallen on the TA board. “I have jumped at this great opportunity. Whilst it is an 18 month term I hope to be involved at this level for a lot longer. I would like to eventually be involved in the High Performance area in TA post London.”
Maroney is adament that he wants to be a conduit for communication between the general Australia triathlon community and the board. “I am passionate about the sport as everyone who knows me is aware of. I want to be someone that triathletes in Australia feel they can come to and talk about anything that is going on in the sport.”
Many newcomers to triathlon will not be so familiar with Mick Maroney, especially if they are from outside NSW. These days you will see Mick racing the NSW triseries, TriShave Sprint Series and world ITU age group championships. In 2009 and 2011 Mick won the ITU world sprint championship title for his age group and regularly wins NSW sprint race and always his age group. At 45 he is still showing the young guys and girls how to race. He has been heavily involved in the junior development of the sport.
In 1989 Maroney won the Noosa triathlon title and was selected the following year in the elite team. He then went on to race domestically and made the unselfish decision to travel the world and support his young sister in her swimming endeavours. You can find photos of Mick standing with Fidal Castro in Cuba when Susie Maroney famously swum from Florida to Cuba amongst many other great endeavours.
Out of school Mick followed his father’s (deputy police commissioner ) footsteps in to the police force. This lasted for only a couple of years before he realised it was not for him. He went on to do triathlons professionally for a few years.
In 2001 he stepped down from racing completely and didn’t take it up again until 2006 when the children were getting a little older.
Maroney came from a swimming background. “When we started we knew nothing about triathlon. I spent all my time reading magazines from the US trying to work out what to do. A long with a number of other pioneers of the sport we developed a bunch of guys in Cronulla like Troy Fidler, Greg Welch, a young Chris McCormack, Craig Alexander, Brad Bevan occasionally turned up along with Peter Roberston, among others.”
People like the great Scott Mollina where his idols and what got him in to the sport. Something that a lot of newcomers to the sport don’t have. The past greats of the sport were what attracted people to triathlon. These days it is more about lifestyle for most people.
After pulling back from the sport and supporting Susie in her endeavours Mick became a fireman. “While my colleagues were watching Foxtel I was studying to get a degree so that I could become a teacher. I wanted to get a career that would be ideal for family life and triathlon coaching.” He now teaches PE full time and also lectures at university in Educational Psychology. Mick received a Doctorate in Education Psychology after doing extensive studies and papers on adolescent development.
I took the opportunity to ask what everyone wants to know. Is the way that TA selects the Olympic team is working? “The process is a collaborative process and is put together by a number of parties. TA really only looks at the process to make sure that it is followed. The selection committee makes the policy in collaboration with coaches and athletes. TA oversees its implementation.”
Could TA communicate this better to the triathlon public so that there is less â€˜TA bashing’ taking place?
“The board is a representation of the membership. Some information bandied about is incorrect. The board has copped a bit of flack when all it is doing is following a process. The communication process could be improved no doubt. But that is more my opinion as a triathlete.”
“The board doesn’t say this person should be in and this person shouldn’t. The board simply makes sure that process is followed.”
On the board because he thinks he could make a difference. “I hope that people in the sport will come to me and tell me what they are not happy with so I can make a difference. It is alright to complain after but what about tell me earlier if there are things you are not happy about. We need to hear from people on what is working and what isn’t.” Mick hopes this will happen.
Inaugural Port Stephens triseries a Huge Success
The end of season and inaugural triseries race at Port Stephens last weekend was a great success with Elite Energy holding their usual three race format and putting on a great triathlon festival. A race for everyone is what seems to make these events so great. The weather was perfect and the times the main races were held was ideal for Sydneysiders and those travelling to the race on the day.
How warm was it for mid May? You did not need a wetsuit and in the Sprint race there really was no advantage. With the rip dragging everyone out to the first buoy it was really only and couple of hundred meters of swimming before we had to stand up and run another couple of hundred meters in calf deep water. That was hard!!
In the main race of the day Kieran Roche and Caroline Sweeney took the overall Olympic distance honours. In the men’s open category Roche pulled away on the bike from second placed Sam Douglas and was never headed. He ran a 36:42 to cap off a successful race.
First time to the open category was Wollongong’s Nathan Miller racing in the Mark Scott stripes. Miller headed out of T2, along with Shaun Vidler, ahead of Ben Hammond. Hammond fell off the pace in the bike leg towards the end but had enough of a run in him to get over the top of Miller and take third place.
(Victor Lee’s photos from the day can be viewed here)
Upstaging them all though was age grouper Adam Conquest who’s race time put him in second place overall. Conquest is known for his very strong bike but backed it up with a run that was faster than the open guys to have the third fastest run time overall. The three fastest runs of the day all went to age groupers. Balmoral’s Owain Matthews posted a 34:59 to continue his impressive start to the sport of triathlon. The renowned runner from Great Britain is loving the multi discipline sport. He is still playing with the balance between the bike and run. Jarred Adams posted the second fastest run with a 36:14. Adams works with Mark Newton at Jet Cycles and is part of the coaching team that looks after Douglas and Roche.
In the women’s race there was again a lack of open females racing. This is no slight on Elite Energy as there have been a distinct lack of open females racing this season everywhere. Brook Langereis was down to race open but with no other open female entrants she changed to her age group which she duly won.
Caroline Sweeney eventually took the overall title. This â€˜Wonder Women’ (full time worker, mother of two pre schoolers, violinist in the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra) has made a fairly decent comeback to the sport of triathlon after taking time out to have her two children. Although Sweeney’s swim was almost three minutes behind Langereis she was able to use her strong bike / run combo to finish almost three minutes ahead of Langereis.
Julie Uebel finished third overall.
In the Sprint race we were lucky as always to watch the ability of 45 year old Mick Maroney as he claimed the overall fastest time of the day. He decided to redline all day and see how long he could keep the pace up. Until the end as we found out. He pulled out one of his fastest runs of the year in doing so.
Cameron Roberts and Luke Chalker rounded out the overall podium. In doing so Roberts won the 16-17 age group and Chalker won the 14-15 age group. Roberts ran a 16:46 for the 5kms and rode very well.
In the women’s race South African Anel Stewart had a solid hit out and was the fastest female on the day with Balmoral’s Hannah Lawrence second overall and Michelle Wiseman third. Stewart has raced at ITU level and on her day is a very fast triathlete. Lawrence is a solid age grouper with some good potential. Loves racing and is always positive and outgoing.
Elite Energy puts on triathlon festivals that we love going to. The atmosphere and vibe from the team is always great. From a couple of events (including Husky of course) three years ago to over 10 triathlon festivals next year is a significant growth curve.
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