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Nicola Spirig wins her second ITU World Triathlon Madrid Title



Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig (SUI) powered away to her second ITU World Triathlon Madrid title after showing incredible strength in the final metres of the run. Spirig pulled away to a sprint finish for gold ahead of Aileen Morrison (IRL) and Barbara Riveros Diaz (CHI) who took silver and bronze respectively. The day also saw Olympic dreams realised and shattered as final London 2012 spots were decided in this, the final race in Olympic qualification.

Nicola Spirig winning again in Madrid - Photo Credit: / Delly Carr / ITU

The race began under milder temperatures of a late start for a non-wetsuit swim in Casa de Campo lake. Carolina Routier (ESP) and Abbie Thorrington (GBR) led a large field of over 20 out of the swim and into T1. Nicky Samuels (NZL) put in a great second lap on the swim edging her way into the leading group with thoughts of Olympic qualification no doubt at the forefront of her mind.

The group headed out onto the bike within 12 seconds of one other and included Rachel Klamer (NED), Vicky Holland (GBR),  Liz Blatchford (GBR) and Ainhoa Murua (ESP). The second group out of T1 left just 20 seconds later containing Spirig, Andrea Hewitt, Riveros Diaz and Morrison.

The chase pack soon bridged the gap and by the second lap a large group of 30 had formed at the front with a smaller group of 13 led by Anne Haug (GER) now over a minute behind. At the half way point Daniela Ryf (SUI) dropped out of the lead group to leave 29, but a surge on the last lap, largely thanks to Haug, brought the groups together for a busy transition of 39 athletes.

Gaining the advantage out of T2 was Spirig, Murua, Haug, Klamer, Kathrin Muller (GER), Holland and Tomoko Sakimoto (JPN) who quickly put a little fresh air between themselves and a similar sized group a few seconds behind. After a poor transition, Morrison was in this second group on the first lap of the run alongside Emma Jackson (AUS).

“I’m really pleased with the run as I was in a really bad place coming out of T2 which has been typical for me over the last couple of races, I really can’t figure out how to get a good T2 done, but luckily they were running at a nice steady pace at the front and I just slowly made my way there,” said Morrison.

By lap two of the four-lap run, the gruelling bike leg was beginning to take its toll on some of the women as Murua and Holland began to drop off the pace. However, on the contrary Morrison dug deep to join the leaders now made up of Spirig, Haug and Riveros Diaz.

On the final lap, none of the four were giving anything away and it was not until the final 400 metres that Spirig began to push. Morrison and Riveros Diaz followed suit, but the sprint to the line was won by Spirig who claims her second WTS title in Madrid and continues her high class form in 2012.

“It was an amazing race for me. I had lots of support from the Spanish people and I felt good on the run and it was an amazing race,” said Spirig. “It’s all going really well, my training’s been going really well too so I’m very happy at the moment.”

“When I got there I thought well why not push this on, but in the last 800 metres I thought I was coming in fourth as my legs were like jelly and I knew Barbara had the strength. I can’t believe I managed to hold on for second I’m really delighted with that,” said Morrison.

Riveros Diaz has already claimed her Olympic spot for Chile but was impressive despite not being 100% coming into the race.

“I haven’t raced Olympic distance since last October at the Pan American Games so I’m really pleased to be here for another World Championship Series and it’s always nice to have the crowd,” said Riveros Diaz. “Nicola did really well, she’s always strong and Haug got the Olympic qualification. I’m really grateful to everyone who supported me. It’s been a little bit hard because I left my coach so it was quite hard to put all myself together, but I’m pleased to be back and have another solid race.”

Haug’s fourth place finish secures her a spot on the German 2012 Olympic team along with teammate Svenja Bazlen (GER) who finished 12th. Nicky Samuels confirmed a third spot for New Zealand by finishing 15th, ahead of Germany’s Muller, but it still means that both New Zealand and Germany send three female athletes to London.

A solid seventh place finish for Great Britain’s Holland may improve her chances of Team GB selection.

Check back on later this week for the full London 2012 qualification update.

Karl is a keen age group triathlete who races more than he trains. Good life balance! Karl works in the media industry in Australia and is passionate about the sport of triathlon.


Gear & Tech

The Brownlee Brothers Launch New Blood Test for Athletes & the Physically Active



The Brownlee brothers, a pair of well-known triathletes and Olympics stars, have partnered with Werlabs in Great Britain to create a blood test to help athletes improve their health and athletic performance. Those who take the blood test can monitor “the most relevant markers which can be affected by exercise and those that can affect performance.”

Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee both say the blood tests will also help physically active non-athletes. According to Jonathan, “For anyone about to undertake a physical challenge or those who exercise regularly, this test will show if major organs work properly and that there are no deficiencies which could affect your performance.”

The test monitors 34 blood values. The values include indicators of the quality of heart, liver, kidney, and thyroid functions as well as blood sugar levels and essential vitamins and minerals. It can also detect diabetes, inflammation levels, and much more.

So far, the blood test is available by appointment in the UK. You can schedule an appointment, and Werlabs will send someone to your home to draw the blood.

All Werlabs blood tests are venous to ensure quality, and they meet the standards of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). The company has also received a Seal of Excellence from the European Commission. These factors are what drew the Brownlee brothers to co-create the new blood test package with the company.

Visit the Werlabs Website to schedule an appointment.

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News & Racing

ITU Moments of 2017: Katie Zaferes Crashes Bike in Yokohama, Drops Glasses, Wins Silver



In this video, USA triathlete Katie Zaferes recalls a couple “mishaps” before her silver finish at International Triathlon Union’s (ITU) World Triathlon Yokohama 2017.

Zaferes and Britain’s Jessica Learmonth crashed during the bike leg, and both recovered quickly.

During the run, she was head-to-head with fellow USA triathlete, Kirsten Kasper, when she dropped her sunglasses. She doubled back to retrieve them to avoid a littering penalty and possible disqualification from the race, before beating Kasper to the finish line.

The two people ahead of them were Bermuda’s Flora Duffy and Britain’s Sophie Coldwell, both of whom began the run roughly 70 seconds before the others. Duffy finished first in 01:56:18. Zaferes caught up with Coldwell, knocking her out of the podium to finish behind Duffy in 01:58:09. Kasper took bronze with a 01:58:17. Coldwell settled for fourth with a 01:58:48 finish.

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News & Racing

Matthew Sharpe Spearhead Canada/USA to historic Mixed Relay Win



Long-striding Canadian Matthew Sharpe saved his best till last to out-sprint the USA’s emerging star Morgan Pearson in a thrilling finish to today’s Triathlon Australia Mixed Relay Invitational at Runaway Bay.

Sharpe, 25 held off his training partner as the pair ran shoulder to shoulder in the closing stages of the inaugural Relay event – the latest addition to the 2020 Olympic program for Tokyo.

The two-day event started with 18 teams – 11 Australian teams and seven internationals from the USA, Canada/USA, Canada, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Wales – and after two heats on yesterday and a final qualifying heat this morning it came down to an A final of eight teams and in the end two teams – Canada/USA and the USA fought out the finish.

Sharpe, who will race for the Maple Leaf’s in next month’s Commonwealth Games, started the final run leg with a 20 metre lead off the bike as he set off around the Sports Super Centre track with 1.6km to run (after the 300m pool swim and eight-kilometres on the Luke Harrop Criterium bike course).

Pearson, the former US lifeguard and brilliant US College runner (with a 5km PB of 13:36.22), set off after his training mate and had caught him as the pair surged towards the finish shoot.

And when it looked like Pearson may just have enough gas left in the tank, the lanky Canadian surged again to steal the victory for the combined USA/Canadian team with Kevin McDowell (USA), Amelie Kretz (Canada) and Chelsea Burns (USA).

Certainly, an unusual combination of Canada and the USA between the two arch-rivals who rarely, if ever, come together on the sporting field – but this unique format allowed the hybrid foursome to come together under the coaching of Australian Jonno Hall – himself a former Australian champion road cyclist.

“I train with Morgan every day so I know how good he is and what he has to offer so I decided to let him in and then try to outsprint him in the end and it worked this time,” said Sharpe, who admitted the Mixed Team format was a winner.

“It was a great weekend, great racing, great format…happy to get away with the win.”

Pearson had an outstanding team with him with Tony Smoragiewicz, world ranked number four Kirsten Kasper and the talented Tamara Gorman.

Australia No 2 (Gillian Backhouse, Ashleigh Gentle, Ryan Bailie and Daniel Coleman) finished third and were in the hunt all day with Backhouse putting the team in a strong position with both Bailie and Gentle digging deep with superb legs and Coleman hanging on for third with Australia No 1 (Emma Jeffcoat, Matt Hauser, Amber Pate and Steve McKenna) flying home for fourth.

The event, with strong support by Gold Coast City Council’s $3,500 in prize money, will be a regular on the Triathlon Australia event calendar.

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News & Racing

Ironman 70.3 Racine Changes Hands and Repositions as a Short Course Event



The city of Racine, Wisconsin has partnered with Ohio company HFP Racing to announce the Real Racing International Triathlon. The race date, set for July 15th, was originally occupied by an IRONMAN 70.3 event but recently ended their partnership with the city of Racine, Wisconsin.

“Anyone that comes to this event will be impressed…it’s a visual stunner and it will be a race you’ll want to come back to year after year,” said, Shannon Kurek, HFP Racing’s founder. “It’s a major urban setting with the feel of [the Racine] community.”

The race is set for July 15th and is open to licensed professional triathletes and amateur triathletes. There will be a $25,000 purse prize for the professional division in the Olympic distance triathlon.  The event is offering a free individual race entry to all professionals with a valid license card from their home triathlon federation. Early bird pricing for registration ends in March and all registration closes in late June.

The course will start off with a swim in Lake Michigan, followed by a bike ride through downtown Racine and the surrounding communities, finishing with a run along the shoreline of Lake Michigan and through the North Bay and Windpoint communities. The bike and run courses are completely closed.

Kurek was recently interviewed for an episode of the Triathlon BizCast podcast, where he discusses the history of HFP’s relationship with events in Racine, Wisconsin, as well as more promotion on the new Real Racine International Triathlon. That podcast can be found at

Registration to compete in any of the Real Racing International Triathlon events is open and can be found at

For more information about the race, rules and regulations, and FAQs can be found at the Real Racine International Triathlon website at

Resources and things to do in the city can be found on the Real Racine website at

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News & Racing

Super League Triathlon and ITU Sign Memorandum of Understanding



Super League Triathlon (SLT) and the International Triathlon Union (ITU) have announced a pivotal memorandum of understanding (MOU) unveiling a partnership that covers key areas of the sport, with the overarching shared goal of further building triathlon around the world at many levels including youth development, fan building and audience engagement, and general promotion of the sport on a global scale.

The MOU, announced yesterday in Moscow during the European Triathlon Union Conference, sets in motion a partnership that will see SLT and the ITU working together on promoting gender equality, clean sport conforming to the WADA code and ITU Anti-Doping Rules, as well as open communication as key pillars of the cooperation. ITU is also committed to provide guidance in rules development of SLT’s new formats.

Said Michael D’hulst, “We are thrilled to be able to work with the governing body of triathlon so early on in Super League Triathlon’s establishment. We look forward to ensuring safe, fair and invigorating Super League events with ITU, and in so doing raise the profile of the sport.”

SLT will recognize ITU as the governing body of the triathlon sport, coordinating with them and the national federations for all SLT events. SLT will also work with ITU to ensure equality in prize money, contracts and participation of male and female athletes.

“ITU and Super League Triathlon have common goals to safely and efficiently develop triathlon, nurture new talent and provide platforms to showcase great champions globally. By working together to reach these goals and by leveraging one another’s strengths we will efficiently herald in an exciting new era of competition. This MOU represents an important moment for our sport and athletes, but it is only the beginning of what will be a long and fruitful partnership”, said ITU President and IOC Member, Marisol Casado.

The MOU is also designed to ensure that the ITU and Super League Triathlon calendars are regularly discussed to avoid events clashing. “The close alignment of ITU and Super League Triathlon marketing initiatives coupled with the innovation of the Formats and the League will serve to extend the reach of both organisations and bring the potential for greater scope in campaigns as well as through their respective platforms”, said Super League Triathlon Chief Executive Officer, Michael D’Hulst.

Super League Triathlon is a spectator-friendly race series which gives triathlon fans an action-packed and very up-close experience. Fans can follow the best triathletes in the world from start to finish, as the series travels to some of the world’s most spectacular racing destinations throughout the eight-month race season. Super League races are focused on attracting a new generation of audiences with the aim of fostering and inspiring future champions and promoting a healthy lifestyle for the wider community.

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Mixed Relay Invitational now a key in countdown to the Commonwealth Games



Four members of Australia’s Commonwealth Games triathlon team will continue to put the finishing touches to their preparations at this weekend’s innovative Triathlon Australia Mixed Relay Invitational at Runaway Bay.

The Australians – Matt Hauser, Ashleigh Gentle, Charlotte McShane and Gillian Backhouse will be among nine Games athletes from Australia, Canada and Wales who will line up in the 18 teams.

Australia will be represented by 11 teams with Canada, Wales, USA, Canada/USA, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea providing a real international flavour to an event that’s the most recent addition to the Olympic program in Tokyo.

Each individual athlete will complete a 300m swim in the Sports Super Centre 50m Olympic pool; eight kilometres on the bike on the Criterium loop before a 1.6km track run.

Hauser, Gentle, McShane and Jake Birtwhistle (who is in Launceston preparing for the Games) made up the Australian team that won the ITU World Mixed Relay Championship in Hamburg last year.

The exciting addition to the triathlon program will feature for only the second time at this year’s Commonwealth Games (on April 7) after the Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee-led English team who won the inaugural gold from South Africa and Australia in Glasgow four years ago.

Hauser will be joined on the Australia 1 team by the very-much in-form Mooloolaba World Cup winner Emma Jeffcoat and South Australian duo, 23-year-old rising star Amber Pate and another relative newcomer through 70.3, two-time SA Triathlete of the Year Steve McKenna.

Australia 2 will feature Games girls Gentle and Backhouse, Rio Olympian and Glasgow bronze medallist Ryan Bailie and Gold Coast’s Dan Coleman in a team that certainly looks the goods on paper.

Australia 3 will see Wollongong based trio, McShane, recent Abu Dhabi podium finisher Natalie Van Coevorden and latest addition to Jamie Turner’s group in Declan Wilson as well as promising Queensland Under 23 Nicholas Free.

Kirsten Kasper, the 2017 World ranked number four, who was second to Jeffcoat in Mooloolaba, will spearhead the USA team of Kevin McDowell, Chelsea Burns and Morgan Pearson.

Canadian Commonwealth Games athlete Dominika Jamnicky and Emy Legault are the stand-outs in Team Canada while fellow Games representative Matthew Sharpe will join countrywoman Amelie Kretz and US pair Tony Smoragiewicz and Tamara Gorman in the Mixed USA/Canada team.

Two Games representatives Iestyn Harrett and Olivia Mathias will lead the Welsh team that also includes Zoe Thomas and Chris Silver.

Hauser, who was an impressive runner-up to world ranked number four, South African Richard Murray at the Mooloolaba World Cup said the Mixed Relay Invitational was perfect timing leading into the Games.

“We will build this into our taper so it couldn’t be better, said Hauser,

“We’ve got a good 18 teams coming in as well so it’s fantastic preparation for all the guys really and it will be good to see how they’re all shaping up for that Mixed Relay.

“It’s an event that will be at (the Olympics) in Tokyo as well; it’s such a fantastic and exciting event and the Aussies will have a point to prove after winning the World Championships last year and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Hauser’s coach, Gold Coast National Performance Centre coach Dan Atkins admitted the whole reason he believes his young charge got onto the Commonwealth Games team was their strategic plan 16 months out.

“I said to Matt, ‘you know what I think there is an opportunity there Matt to put your hand up … you have raced a lot of relays; you have a lot of experience there and if you keep going out and putting your best foot forward then it will be hard for the selectors not to look at you,’ said Atkins, who knows the inclusion of the Triathlon Australia Mixed Relay will be a perfect pathway for Australia’s younger athletes heading towards future Olympic, Commonwealth Games and World Championships.

“That came off and now it’s a matter of putting his conditioning and race conditioning in place by having those few little hit outs over last weekend and this weekend to hopefully be selected for the Com Games in the relay again.”


The two-day event (with two heats on Saturday 10 am and 11:45 and a Repechage at 8 am the B Final at 10 am and A final at 11.30 am on Sunday) at the Runaway Bay Sports Centre is being supported by the City of Gold Coast with a podium prize purse of $3,500.00 on offer.

Each athlete will compete a full super sprint triathlon of a 300m swim, 8km cycle and 1600m run before tagging their teammate to begin the next leg.

Two females and two males will make up a single team. The women will commence the first leg before tagging onto the first male. The second female will follow before the second male brings it home.

National Performance Director for Triathlon Australia Justin Drew said the concept of a Triathlon Mixed Relay Invitational would give Australian elite athletes a chance to hone their relay skills against each other and to provide up-and-coming development athletes the chance to race against some of the world’s best triathletes, including members of the reigning World Championship team.

“This will provide the athletes with an ideal opportunity to race in what is one of the most exciting events added to the triathlon events calendar,” said Drew, who also praised the support of the City of Gold Coast.

“Our athletes will get the chance to compete in a high-level race situation and hone their skills, which will help develop them for future World Championships, Commonwealth and Olympic Games.”

Australia’s London Olympian and Triathlon Australia Development Coach Brendan Sexton has been tasked with the responsibility of pulling together the event and is excited to get the Mixed Relay to the start line.

“All competition will be conducted within the Runaway Bay Sports Super Centre including the swim in the 50m pool, the cycle on the Luke Harrop High Performance Cycling circuit and run on the athletics track, which will be an ideal venue,” said Sexton.

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