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Alistair Brownlee storms to Olympic gold at London 2012

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By Erin Greene

The men’s triathlon competition was a day of many firsts for the Olympic sport. For the first time ever, Great Britain took home not one, but two medals when Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee finished first and third, respectively. Javier Gomez also claimed Spain’s first medal in the sport when he posted the second fastest time of the day.

Alistair scorched the 10km run course with a mind-bending 29:07 run split to cruise to Olympic gold.

Javier Gomez, Alistair Brownlee and Jonathan Brownlee - Credit: Triathlon.org | Delly Carr / ITU

“First off, (I am) immensely proud that my brother could get a bronze,” Alistair said. ” It was no secret we wanted to get both of us on the podium and that’s not an easy thing to do considering Britain has never won a triathlon medal and all the things that could go wrong for one of you, like a penalty. Then when there is two of you the odds are even worse. But we gave it everything and it shows the strength of training together and pushing each other all the time and the relationship we have.”

To make the podium, the men had to endure a very strategic race in Hyde Park. The day started in The Serpentine in sub 20-degree Celsius wetsuit worthy water. Athletes didn’t catch much of a break exiting the water, as the air was a prickly 17 degrees.

After a pontoon dive into the lake, Ivan Vasiliev (RUS) wasted no time bolting to the front from the left side of the pontoon. But it wasn’t enough to beat powerhouse swimmer Richard Varga (SVK) to the first turn buoy. Jonathan and Gomez, who elected to start from opposite ends of the pontoon from each other, hugged the course marker to stay on Varga’s hip.

A line of five men began to swim hand to foot, carrying a thin and elongated group behind them. At the back of the five were the Brownlee brothers, swimming side by side. Varga owned a body-length lead rounding the final set of buoys, with Gomez closest to him.

The top three men were untouchable on the run - Credit: Triathlon.org | Delly Carr / ITU

Varga pulled along six men, including all of the eventual medallists for a small lead heading into the first transition. Another pack of 19 entered 18 seconds later, which included Russians Dmitry Polyanskiy and Alexander Bryukhankov, as well as Athens bronze medallist Sven Riederer (SUI), and two-time Olympic medallist Simon Whitfield (CAN).

The group of Alistair, Jonathan, Gomez, Varga and Alessandro Fabian (ITA) took off for the seven-lap bike. Behind them Polyanskiy had to stop for a quick wheel change, while Leonardo Chacon (CRC) crashed with Olympic two-time medallist Simon Whitfield (CAN). The fall rendered Whitfield unable to continue.

The lead group owned a 1 minute, 14 second advantage on the first lap. However, with strong bikers Kris Gemmell (NZL) and Maik Petzold (GER) hammering in the chase group, the pack of nearly 15 men joined the leaders on the third lap. The group included Riederer, Bryukhankov, four-time Olympian Hunter Kemper (USA), defending Olympic gold medallist Jan Frodeno (GER) alongside teammate Steffen Justus (GER), and France’s David Hauss and Laurent Vidal.

The wheel change put Polyanksiy more than a minute back from the 22-man lead pack, and was forced to ride in the chase group with swift runners Richard Murray (RSA) and Mario Mola (ESP).

Led by Stuart Hayes (GBR) a small group that included the Brownlees and Gomez, appeared to attempt a breakaway midway through the fourth lap. But with all eyes on the podium, everyone stepped up to the new speed.

Hayes came through first on the fifth lap, followed soon thereafter by Jonathan, Gomez, and Joao Silva (POR). Fabian hung strung with the leaders, while Alistair coasted to the middle of the pack, and Riederer headed up the rear.

Brad Kahlefeldt finishes lower down the order than expected - Credit: Triathlon.org | Delly Carr / ITU

Meanwhile, with Polyanskiy at the helm, the chase group was slowly chipping away at the lead, making up five seconds on the fifth lap. His Russian teammates Vasiliev and Bryukhankov rode ahead with France’s Vidal and two-time Olympic medallist Bevan Docherty (NZL).

On the sixth lap, Alistair pumped ahead, quickly gaining a sizeable advantage. With a look over his shoulder, the two-time world champion rose out of his seat to pedal forward. The effort was futile, as the leaders all came through transition together.

Silva broke out onto the run course first, followed by the Brownlees and Gomez. The British brothers and Gomez immediately poured on a pace that put more than 50 metres between themselves and the rest of the competition. David Hauss (FRA) followed behind them in a desperate attempt to stay in the race.

But Alistair’s lengthened stride was too fast to break. Jonathan ran on the heels of his older brother, while Gomez kept distance on the first lap. Coming through the first lap, the leaders were up more than 10 seconds. France’s Vidal and Huass ran through in a clump next with Bryukhankov. Defending champion Frodeno passed next, with teammate Justus.

The trio of leaders never slowed their strong pace, widening the gap to 27 seconds on the second lap. Behind them, Frodeno joined the French team, dropping Bryukhankov in a furious attempt to catch up.

Courtney Atkinson was the best placed Australia - Credit: Triathlon.org | Janos Schmidt / ITU

Early in the third lap, Alistair forged ahead. Gomez responded, quickening his stride, and leaving Jonathan behind him. Gomez followed the older Brit into the fourth and final lap trailing just five seconds.

“The bike was not easy, we had to push hard and we all felt it on the run afterwards, the legs were not fresh, but I think I did a pretty good run,” Gomez said. “I tried to hang on to Alistair, he was pushing the pace faster and faster and I couldn’t keep up in the last three kilometres.”

Jonathan remained in third place, but fell back to a 37-second disadvantage due to a 15-second time penalty he was forced to serve after mounting his bike too quickly in the first transition. The penalty put just 12 seconds between him and the Frenchmen.

Ahead of him, Alistair remained strong and collected, comfortably inching ahead of Gomez. Coming into the final stretch, a deafening crowed roared from all sides of the lake to cheer on the older Brownlee brother. Alistair slowed to pick up a British flag and jogged across the finish line, clearing the competition by 11 seconds.

Gomez ran across next, avenging the podium he missed in Beijing to garner silver, giving Spain its first triathlon medal.

“It was pretty disappointing in Beijing, I had a lot of problems approaching that race,” Gomez said. “I was injured and didn’t have my best day so now getting the medal after being on the podiums at World Championships, European championships and so many World Cups, it’s great to have a medal at the Olympics.”

Despite the penalty, Jonathan held off the French to sail to third place in a time of 1:51:04.

Brendan Sexton enjoying his first Olympic experience - Credit: Triathlon.org | Janos Schmidt / ITU

“A bronze medal in the Olympics is great I’m really happy with it,” Jonathan said. “It’s the first penalty I’ve ever gotten. I didn’t realise I’d done anything wrong. I looked at the board and thought Alistair had got a penalty, then I looked at my arm, and thought, Oh, I’m 31. I’ve got a penalty now. My first thought was, oh well, that’s a shame, and then second thought was I’m going to have to run even faster and that will make it interesting, it was super hard for me. But I don’t think it changes the result, just makes it a bit harder work.”

Further back, Hauss began to drop Vidal on the final lap to move into fourth position. He held the place around the final turn and into the straightaway, claiming fourth in 1:47:56. His teammate Vidal was next in 1:47:21. Beijing gold medallist Frodeno clocked in sixth, followed by Bryukhankov and Riederer. Silva and Fabian rounded out the top ten in ninth and tenth, respectively.

 

Pos Athlete Country Time Swim Bike Run
1 Alistair Brownlee GBR 1:46:25 0:17:04 0:59:08 0:29:07
2 Javier Gomez ESP 1:46:36 0:17:00 0:59:16 0:29:16
3 Jonathan Brownlee GBR 1:46:56 0:17:02 0:59:11 0:29:37
4 David Hauss FRA 1:47:14 0:17:24 0:58:50 0:29:53
5 Laurent Vidal FRA 1:47:21 0:17:27 0:58:42 0:30:01
6 Jan Frodeno GER 1:47:26 0:17:20 0:58:46 0:30:06
7 Alexander Bryukhankov RUS 1:47:35 0:17:22 0:58:51 0:30:10
8 Sven Riederer SUI 1:47:46 0:17:22 0:58:52 0:30:23
9 Joao Silva POR 1:47:51 0:17:22 0:58:54 0:30:33
10 Alessandro Fabian ITA 1:48:03 0:17:01 0:59:10 0:30:43
11 Vincent Luis FRA 1:48:18 0:17:20 0:58:53 0:31:00
12 Bevan Docherty NZL 1:48:35 0:17:26 0:58:51 0:31:12
13 Ivan Vasiliev RUS 1:48:43 0:17:03 0:59:04 0:31:22
14 Hunter Kemper USA 1:48:46 0:17:25 0:58:44 0:31:20
15 Kris Gemmell NZL 1:48:52 0:17:26 0:58:48 0:31:31
16 Steffen Justus GER 1:49:12 0:18:07 0:59:36 0:30:16
17 Richard Murray RSA 1:49:15 0:18:11 0:59:38 0:30:25
18 Courtney Atkinson AUS 1:49:19 0:17:26 0:58:48 0:31:58
19 Mario Mola ESP 1:49:23 0:18:09 0:59:40 0:30:27
20 Hirokatsu Tayama JPN 1:49:24 0:17:24 0:58:45 0:31:57
21 Dmitry Polyanskiy RUS 1:49:24 0:17:14 1:00:35 0:30:28
22 Richard Varga SVK 1:49:25 0:16:56 0:59:15 0:32:03
23 Gavin Noble IRL 1:49:47 0:17:24 0:58:50 0:32:26
24 Jose Miguel Perez ESP 1:49:53 0:18:07 0:59:40 0:30:57
25 Kyle Jones CAN 1:49:58 0:18:31 0:59:17 0:31:03
26 Simon De Cuyper BEL 1:50:00 0:17:58 0:59:45 0:31:10
27 Brent McMahon CAN 1:50:03 0:18:04 0:59:40 0:31:09
28 Crisanto Grajales MEX 1:50:08 0:18:10 0:59:36 0:31:11
29 Davide Uccellari ITA 1:50:09 0:18:26 0:59:16 0:31:13
30 Jan Celustka CZE 1:50:17 0:17:25 0:58:49 0:32:54
31 Maik Petzold GER 1:50:23 0:17:23 0:58:47 0:33:00
32 Brad Kahlefeldt AUS 1:50:23 0:18:06 0:59:40 0:31:29
33 Ryan Sissons NZL 1:50:27 0:18:05 0:59:45 0:31:31
34 Tyler Butterfield BER 1:50:32 0:18:58 0:58:32 0:31:52
35 Brendan Sexton AUS 1:50:36 0:18:53 0:58:51 0:31:41
36 Reinaldo Colucci BRA 1:50:59 0:18:56 0:58:47 0:32:07
37 Stuart Hayes GBR 1:51:04 0:17:17 0:59:04 0:33:29
38 Gonzalo Raul Tellechea ARG 1:51:07 0:18:59 0:58:48 0:32:11
39 Ruedi Wild SUI 1:51:10 0:18:28 0:59:17 0:32:15
40 Andreas Giglmayr AUT 1:51:14 0:18:57 0:58:45 0:32:21
41 Bruno Pais POR 1:51:22 0:18:57 0:58:44 0:32:30
42 Danylo Sapunov UKR 1:51:32 0:18:08 0:59:35 0:32:38
43 Yuichi Hosoda JPN 1:51:40 0:18:06 0:59:37 0:32:43
44 Diogo Sclebin BRA 1:51:51 0:18:10 0:59:36 0:32:53
45 Premysl Svarc CZE 1:52:08 0:18:08 0:59:37 0:33:13
46 Faquan Bai CHN 1:52:26 0:17:55 0:59:46 0:33:26
47 Marek Jaskolka POL 1:52:38 0:17:58 0:59:45 0:33:45
48 Leonardo Chacon CRC 1:52:39 0:17:24 1:00:19 0:33:42
49 Hervé Banti MON 1:52:42 0:18:55 0:58:51 0:33:44
50 Felipe Van de Wyngard CHI 1:53:02 0:18:53 0:58:52 0:34:03
51 Manuel Huerta USA 1:53:39 0:18:57 0:58:51 0:34:39
52 Christopher Felgate ZIM 1:53:53 0:18:09 0:59:36 0:34:51
53 Carlos Javier Quinchara Forero COL 1:54:10 0:18:02 0:59:37 0:35:13
54 Min Ho Heo KOR 1:54:30 0:18:02 0:59:46 0:35:36
DNF Simon Whitfield CAN 0:00:00 0:17:23 0:00:00 0:00:00

 

 

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.

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Ironman 70.3 Geelong: Sam Appelton Too Strong and Nina Derron Wins in a Thriller

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IRONMAN’s 40th Anniversary was celebrated in grand style and the gods were smiling with IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong replicating some of the sport’s greatest drama with a sprint, fall, stumble, lunge finish between Nina Derron (SUI) and Melbourne rookie Grace Thek. The men’s race also lived up to the excellence of the preceding decades with a stunning performance by defending champion Sam Appleton.

Spectators had been enthralled by the epic battle between Appleton, Josh Amberger, Jake Montgomery and Ryan Fisher but just when they thought they had seen a thrilling race, the guys were upstaged by the emotional and physical roller coaster that was the women’s event.

Barwon Heads local Claire Davis was the first female to reach dry land (26:07) with Kirralee Seidel, Nina Derron (SUI) and Grace Thek in touch and eager to get onto the 90km bike leg. Derron was looking to control the race and at 45km she had extended her lead to 3:30 over Davis, Thek and the charging Laura Dennis. Seidel picked up a penalty and lost touch completely, finding herself nine minutes down. At three quarter distance Dennis managed to ride herself into second place with Thek and Davis in a tight battle for third and fourth place.

With Swiss precision, Derron lead into T2 by five minutes over the chasing pair of Dennis and Thek, with the local hope a further minute down. In the second half of the 21km run things started to change radically. Derron started to feel the pinch and Thek literally found her feet and charged through the field to find herself leading her very first IRONMAN 70.3. Thek was heading for a 70.3 victory on debut and with the finish line in sight, the former US college runner started to pay the penalty for her early over-exuberance.

“I was hoping to do four-minute pace but for the first three km I found myself doing 3:30 and I really paid for it on the last lap. I was about four and a half minutes down off the bike and I didn’t know if that was achievable. When I was two minutes down with a lap to go I thought it was possible but the end was just devastating. When I passed Nina I just wanted enough room so that it didn’t come down to a sprint finish. I was really suffering with my legs over the last 6km and I was just trying to get forward momentum. I was getting all sorts of splits from people on the course, so I really didn’t know.”

“When I came into the finish chute I was thinking I am almost there, just stay in the game but I started sprinting which was a big mistake on my part because I knew that my legs were already suffering pretty badly. Then I fell the first time when my quads locked up. When I fell to the ground I saw Nina and she wasn’t as close as everyone had made out. So I quickly got up and started running and two metres before the line I fell over again. I was all over the place and got a bit of a nudge which didn’t help.”

“In hindsight, the sprint was not a good idea. It is a lesson learned, don’t listen to anyone except for my coach and people I trust. I don’t condone looking back in a race but looking for myself might have been a good move here. These are the things I can take into the next race. It is disappointing to be that close and not come away with the win but coming in, I had no expectations. It is my first 70.3 and has been a positive day, so I am eager for more now,” Grace said.

Derron’s win was her first over the IRONMAN 70.3 distance and while ecstatic with the result, she had great sympathy for Thek.

“I really struggled on the second lap of the run. I just had to stay focused because I knew that Grace was flying and I just tried to hold on to the lead for as long as possible. There were huge mind games going on in my head and people were telling me to go get her. She was 50m in front with only a 100m to go but I knew I couldn’t out sprint her. I saw her starting to stumble and then she fell and all I saw was the finish line and I accelerated and came past her.”

“It was a really strange finish to a really crazy day. I am happy for my win but I am also sad for Grace that it happened. It was her first 70.3 race so she did a really good job. It was another lesson I learned, that it is not over until it is over. Never give up, it is really true,” Nina declared.

In the men’s race, it was Aussie Olympian Ryan Fisher who took the swim honours (22:34), narrowly nudging out Josh Amberger over the glassy 1.9km course. As the pair headed to T1, they were hotly pursued by a bunch of three, defending champion Sam Appleton, Jack Tierney and Matt Franklin with the second chase pack that included Jake Montgomery almost a minute off the pace.

Appleton was keen to make up the swim deficit and in no time at all the lead duo became a trio, with the defending champion in touch and pushing the early pace. Only seconds separated the leaders at half distance with Jake Montgomery 20s further behind and riding himself into contention. The final kilometres of the ride saw some big moves from Lachlan Kerin, Montgomery and Jack Tierney. Off the bike, it was a bunch of six who entered T2 ready to celebrate the IRONMAN Anniversary by flogging each other senselessly over the super quick 21km coastal course.

Slick transitions had Appleton, Amberger and Fisher on the road first with Tierney, Montgomery and Kieran hoping to match pace over the opening kilometres. It was Appleton who was intent on inflicting some hurt and tearing up the tarmac and while the first small gaps started to appear it was only early days. At 10km Appleton looking strong and a minute to Fisher, with Amberger and Montgomery running shoulder to shoulder, with Tierney and Kieran in their own battle for fifth and sixth.

The defending champ knew what he had to do and despite suffering over the second half of the run he was able to pull it all together.

“It is the first race of the year and you don’t really know what to expect. I knew if I was fit, I just didn’t know if I was race fit. I gave it my best shot and fortunately, I was able to come away with the win. The guys kept me honest all day and it was really tough. There were six of us going into transition and that second pack rode really well. We rode really firm on the first lap and I didn’t expect to hit the U-turn and see them right there. You never want to go into the run with six guys, I would prefer there were less but I just had to back myself. I laid it out in the beginning and got a gap and then it was about holding on from there.”

“It is crazy that this sport only started 40 years and look at the evolution. Every year it changes and is getting faster and harder. I am proud to be part of the generation that is helping that evolution. I am honoured to be here in Geelong and be able to back up and defend my title. It is a great course here in Geelong, I love it. It is beautiful and one of my favourite races. It is really challenging on the run. The course profile doesn’t show it but it is really hard run. It has a bit of everything. I can’t wait to come back, I love opening up the season here,” he said.

Women’s results

1          Nina DERRON (#26)               04:26:11

2          Grace THEK (#31)                  04:26:18

3          Laura DENNIS (#25)               04:29:38

4          Kirralee SEIDEL (#22)             04:33:36

5          Melanie BURKE (#23)             04:34:46

 

Men’s results

1          Sam APPLETON (#1)             03:45:52

2          Josh AMBERGER (#2)           03:47:21

3          Ryan FISHER (#5)                  03:49:09

4          Jake MONTGOMERY (#3)     03:49:57

5          Jack TIERNEY (#16)               03:52:18

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Bill Chaffey Throws Caution to the Wind in Commonwealth Games Countdown

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Five-time World Champion Bill Chaffey will go into April’s Commonwealth Games in the best shape of his life after using all his experience to master today’s windswept conditions in the inaugural ITU Paratriathlon World Cup in Devonport.
 
The 42-year-old Gold Coaster made a spectacular return to elite racing for the first time since last May to defeat fellow Rio Paralympian Nic Beveridge (QLD), Germany’s Benjamin Lenatz, and Australian pair, former wheelchair basketballer Scott Crowley (SA) and Australian para cycling star Alex Welsh (Victoria).

And it came on a day which also saw reigning 26-year-old PTWC world champion Emily Tapp (QLD) dig deeper than she has ever done before, both mentally as well as physically to take out the women’s ITU World Cup title ahead of 29-year-old former Ironman triathlete Lauren Parker (NSW) in only her second major event, Japanese legend Wakato Tsuchida and the gritty Gold Coaster Sara Tait (QLD).

All competitors in the various paratriathlon categories, featuring the cream of Australia’s best and top flight internationals from Japan, Italy, Hong Kong, Canada and Germany showed amazing skill sets to handle the at times brutal head winds that circled through the Mersey Bluff in and around the Devonport Surf Club precinct.

For the wheelchair athletes, today’s results come in the countdown to the official announcement next Sunday of the Australian paratriathlete team for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and for Chaffey and Tapp it has been a long time coming following their automatic nominations last April.

Chaffey has been the poster boy for Australia’s glowing Paralympic program which has seen him lead the team onto the world stage as one of the stand-out nations in world triathlon.

“I’m absolutely over the moon with that performance – to come back to Devonport and chalk up a win in probably some of the toughest conditions I’ve raced in is really pleasing,” said Chaffey.

“That wind was hard to handle even though we are close to the ground on our cycles – it’s still tough going.

“But I couldn’t be happier with my fitness – I’m in the best shape of my life and really looking forward to the Games in April.”

Tapp came into today’s race feeling a little under the weather and said her support team really played a major hand in getting her through.

“It hasn’t been the best of week’s health wise but it doesn’t matter come race day, it’s race day, “said Tapp, who qualified for the 2016 Paralympic team athletics team but was forced to withdraw when she accidentally burnt herself.

“Today was a big mental feat, when your body just isn’t there and able to give like it normally (does). We had smooth transitions and we executed our race plans so we’re happy.”

Parker, who was an outstanding open water swimmer and Ironman triathlete before an horrific training accident last April in Newcastle left her a paraplegic, and today was another major step in a road she never thought she would have to tread.

“Today didn’t go according to plan when I lost the band I put around my legs in the swim so it felt like I was swimming with a 10km weight on the end of my legs but we got through it and I know I have to work on my transitions but that will come,” said Parker, who will join the paratriathlete group on the Gold Coast next weekend for the Luke Harrop Memorial Race.

It was a successful return to top class racing for Paralympic gold medallist from Rio, Katie Kelly and new domestic guide Briarna Silk with Kelly admitting the race was “a real grind” given the windy conditions.

“But it was a great way to kick start the season that will hope fully culminate in the ITU World Championships on the Gold Coast in September and continues in Yokohama in a couple of weeks.”

Fellow two-time world champion Sally Pilbeam (WA) kept her impressive record in tact against fellow Australian world championship medallist Kerryn Harvey while Jonathan Goerlach win the Vision Impaired men’s event from fellow Australian Gerrard Gosens and Italy’s Maurizio Romeo.

Another stand out performance came from  Queensland’s PTS5 athlete Josh Kassulke who was the first competitor across the line in another impressive performance he hopes will take him to the Paralympics in Tokyo in 2020 in an all Aussie podium with Dale Grat second and Tony Scoleri third.

WA’s Rio Paralympian Brant Garvey (PTS2) also turned in a brilliant showing as did Albury Wodonga’s “Mr Fearless” Justin Godfrey in the in the PTS3.

Godfrey is the reigning World Cross Tri champion for his category and is a classic example of the kind of grit determination that spurs on Australia’s band of paratriathletes.

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USA Paratriathlon National Championships to Return to Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, in June

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The 2018 USA Triathlon Paratriathlon National Championships will be held in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, as part of the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon for the second consecutive year, USA Triathlon announced today. The race will take place on June 24 at Prairie Springs Park and the Pleasant Prairie RecPlex.

National titles will be up for grabs in six sports classes as athletes complete a 750-meter swim in Lake Andrea, a 20-kilometre bike through Pleasant Prairie and neighbouring Kenosha, and a 5-kilometre run course finishing in the park. The Pleasant Prairie Triathlon is put on by Race Day Events, LLC, which specializes in event production and equipment rental throughout the Midwest.

“With the support of a strong local paratriathlon community, the organizers of the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon have celebrated athletes of all abilities for many years,” said Amanda Duke Boulet, Paratriathlon Program Senior Manager at USA Triathlon. “We look forward to returning to the beautiful venue of Prairie Springs Park this summer and once again enjoying the positive atmosphere that surrounds this race.”

“Race Day Events is very excited to be producing another National Championship event in Pleasant Prairie,” said Ryan Griessmeyer, President of Race Day Events and Race Director for the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon. “Pairing industry-leading event production with the Village of Pleasant Prairie’s world-class venue, participants are sure to have an unparalleled experience.”

“Pleasant Prairie is pleased to host the USA Paratriathlon National Championships for the second consecutive year as part of the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon,” said Sandy Wiedmeyer, Fitness Manager at the Pleasant Prairie RecPlex. “This is such an inspirational event to be a part of. Watching these exceptional athletes brings so much to the event and is the highlight of the weekend for many. We are grateful to be able to host such amazing talent again this year, and we look forward to making 2018 successful for all of the athletes.”

In addition to chasing national titles, athletes competing at Paratriathlon Nationals also have the opportunity to qualify for the USA Paratriathlon Development Team Program, which is designed to identify and develop athletic potential leading toward the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. More information on the USA Paratriathlon Development Team Program is available by clicking here.

The Pleasant Prairie Triathlon has included paratriathlon competition since its inception, but last year was its first time hosting the Paratriathlon National Championships. In 2017, 30 athletes competed for national titles while an additional 19 competed in the paratriathlon open division.

Athletes wishing to compete at Paratriathlon Nationals in 2018 must be officially classified in a paratriathlon sports class and must have completed a USA Triathlon or ITU Sanctioned Event that meets distance and time standards between May 1 and June 3, 2018. Athletes who are not classified or who do not meet the time standards may choose to race in the PC Open Division. A National Classification opportunity will be offered in Pleasant Prairie prior to the event. Complete details on qualification standards, as well as the link to register, are available at usatriathlon.org.

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Challenge Wanaka: Javier Gomez and Annabel Luxford crowned 2018 champions

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A thrilling day’s racing at Challenge Wanaka resulted in wins by Javier Gomez (ESP) and Annabel Luxford (AUS). Both had fierce battles with one of the deepest professional fields ever seen at a half distance triathlon in New Zealand and in tough conditions with four seasons in one day, from torrential rain and freezing temps to sweltering summer sun.

The men’s race may have seemed easy to call with Gomez headlining but it was anything but. The close nature of the race was evident as the men exited the swim in a tight bunch – Tony Dodds (NZL) and Dylan McNeice (NZL) first out in 23:12 with Gomez, Alexander Polizzi (AUS), Graham O’Grady (NZL) and Braden Currie all within nine seconds.

A quick transition by Currie saw him lead out on the bike but he had constant company from Gomez, McNeice and Dodds.  By 45km Dodds had dropped back and the chase group of Luke McKenzie (AUS), Joe Skipper (GBR), Jesse Thomas (USA), Dougal Allan (NZL) and Luke Bell (AUS) had closed the three-minute deficit by a minute. By 70km it was getting exciting with the top eight within 22 seconds of each other. Skipper made a short dash for the front but was soon reined back in, McNeice fell off the back but caught up. Coming into transition it still seemed like it was anyone’s race.

However, it was the run where Currie and Gomez showed their metal, soon breaking away with Currie holding off Gomez until the top of the infamous Gunn Road hill at 12km where Gomez made his move. He took out the win knocking nearly 20 minutes off Braden Currie’s six-year-old course record in 3:57:27. Currie crossed the line 17 seconds later in second, taking the New Zealand National title with the USA’s Jesse Thomas running his way into third in 3:59:33.

“Braden put a lot of pressure on me and I had to run way faster than expected but I was very happy with how my fitness is,” said Gomez. “I love bike courses like this that are really up and down. We did a good job at the front but in the last 15k some of the guys caught us, which made it really tough. But luckily I managed to pace myself enough at the beginning of the run so I had some energy left for the end, which I really needed. It was a really tough day; I had to give absolutely everything to win. I really enjoyed it, it was a great course and a great day and thanks everyone for the support out there.”

It was a fast day with Tony Dodds securing a new swim record in 23:12, Dougal Allan set a new bike course record in 2:11:28 and Gomez also set the run course record of 1:12:39, a blistering pace on a course which is 80% off road.
In the women’s race, Luxford led out of the water and soon put in a solid lead over the rest of her opponents as she headed out on Glendhu Bay leg of the bike. The only woman to challenge her was Laura Siddall (GBR) who consistently gained time on her from four-minutes back.  Siddall caught Luxford at the 70km mark and took the lead.

A quick transition put Luxford back ahead, which is where she stayed for the remainder of the race with a lead that fluctuated between 10 and 45 seconds. She won by the narrowest of margins  – 11 seconds after 113km of racing putting Siddall in second in 4:27:13 for the fourth consecutive year. Amelia Watkinson (NZL) rounded out the podium in third in 4:38:11 and took the title of New Zealand Middle Distance Triathlon Champion.

“I was lucky to have a good swim and felt great on the first half of the bike but was losing quite a bit of time to Laura,” said Luxford. “When she caught me I knew I had to race tactically. She’s an old hand at this course and I certainly wasn’t going to give her anything. On the run when she started closing on me at the end, I saw her full distance strength coming through but managed to hold her off.”

It was also a fast race in the women’s with Luxford setting the course record in 4:27:02 as well as the swim course record in 25:49 and the run record in 1:24:00. Siddall set the bike course record in 2:27:26.

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Gear & Tech

Zwift Set to Revolutionise Indoor Running

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Zwift, the fitness platform born from gaming, has expanded its product offering to the running community with the launch of Zwift Run Free Access. Until this week Zwift Run was an Alpha product, available only to paying members of its indoor cycling service. Zwift Run will be now offered free of charge to everyone, in the run-up to a subscription service rollout, scheduled for late 2018.

Since launch in 2014, Zwift has revolutionized the indoor cycling market. The community-driven fitness platform has connected half a million cyclists worldwide to socialize, train and race in its rich virtual 3D environments. This January the Zwift community logged an average of 1 million miles (1.61 million km) per day, with major events attracting up to 3,500 participants. Zwift is now set to shake up the indoor run market in the same way by providing the most complete training solution for runners around the globe.

“Zwift Run is fantastic news for the fitness industry. In three years we’ve transformed the indoor cycling space by making the home ‘turbo trainer’ a super desirable product to own and an essential part of a cyclists training regimen. We’re going to give the same make-over to the treadmill.” commented Eric Min, Zwift CEO and Co-Founder. “Whether at home or in the gym, Zwift Run will make your indoor run workout experience more social, more motivating, more structured and more measurable.”

Zwift’s success in cycling originates from the massive multiplayer technology of the gaming industry and a track record of building huge online training communities. To date, Zwift has given birth to over 150 Facebook community groups with the largest making up 45,000 members, spanning pro athletes in search of the very best training experience, to everyday consumers looking for greater motivation to get fitter, stronger and faster.

Research points toward Zwift being able to boost participation in the fitness industry. To date, members of Strava, the social network for athletes, signing up to Zwift, on average, cycle 10% more per annum.

“We know many of our athletes are working out indoors as well outdoors, and Zwift has helped make indoor workouts more fun and motivating for many of our members,” notes David Lorsch, Strava’s VP of Strategy and Business Development. “Many of our new members are runners and we’re excited that runners on Zwift can now share their runs with their friends on Strava.”

Zwift also plans to bring its transformative effect to the hardware industry. “Hardware sales and innovation levels in cycling are rocketing because of Zwift. Manufacturers understand that closed connectivity is a thing of the past if they are to stay relevant. It’s well known in the cycling industry that sales of indoor training hardware are experiencing 100%+ YoY growth; in the most part due to Zwift’s trade marketing effect on indoor cycling. It’s our ambition to deliver this kind of value to treadmill manufacturers.”

Zwift Run will feature a library of training plans tailored to runners of all abilities. Zwift’s ‘Workout Mode’ is visually motivating, making nailing those intervals even more rewarding. Group Runs are broken down by pace, so Zwifters can find a run that best suits their needs. Zwift’s ‘gamified’ experience also challenges members to earn experience points and move up levels to unlock virtual goods. Zwift is collaborating with a number of running industry brands like New Balance, Hoka and Under Armour to bring in-real-life footwear and apparel to its virtual world.

Integration with Strava allows Zwifters to share runs with their community of friends, recording virtual miles and keep record of best times across Strava segments. As of February, virtual miles recorded in Zwift can also count towards Strava challenges.

Zwift Run is compatible with all treadmills by using Bluetooth or ANT+ footpods. Footpods are connected to iOS devices, Apple TV, or laptop/desktop computers and calibrated to the treadmill speed in the Zwift App. A rising number of Bluetooth ready treadmills can also connect directly to Zwift, without the requirements of footpod. Digital connected footwear is also part of the picture with Zwift collaborating with Under Armour on its smart shoe range.

“Technogym believes in connected wellness. Our offer, centred on the MyWellness open cloud platform, is a complete ecosystem of smart connected equipment surrounded by content and services to provide unique and engaging training experiences” said Nicola de Cesare, Digital Division Director for TechnoGym.  “Now, Technogym’s MyRun and MyCycling compatibility with Zwift allows both runners and cyclists to enjoy the very dynamic, engaging and interactive environment of the Zwift platform with a consistent training experience across the two products”

Essentially a Beta product, Zwift and the user community will further refine the run app in 2018, adding new product components and expanding the current schedule of events, races, and group workouts.

Zwift Run Free Access can be downloaded from www.zwift.com or via the App Store.

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News & Racing

Copeland overcomes Devonport curse as Jeffcoat defends her crown

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Kingscliff young gun Brandon Copeland has broken his Devonport curse, producing a winning kick to take out today’s OTU Oceania Sprint Triathlon Championship.

The 21-year-old has overcome a flat tyre and illness in his previous starts to continue what has been a flying start to the season.

Copeland, who spent part of his pre-season in the AIS “altitude house” under coach Dan Atkins, spent much of the race alongside Victoria’s defending champion Marcel Walkington until the final 400 metres.

“I didn’t have the best of swims but managed to get on to the lead group on the bike and stayed there and made sure I covered any attacks,” said Copeland.

“And on the run, it was just Marcel and myself until just before the final turn where I put in a massive surge and was lucky enough to get him in the end.

“It is nice to finally come to Devonport and have a good race – I have had some bad luck in the past with a flat type and illness last year – good to finally overcome the curse.”

Germany’s Maximillian Schwetz won a sprint finish from Australian Olympian Ryan Bailie, who was in the mix until the final 2.5km of the run, in his first individual race of the season.

In the women’s race, Sydney’s former champion surf lifesaver Emma Jeffcoat produced an outstanding performance to successfully defend her Devonport title in his first year in the Elite division, defeating experienced pair and Wollongong training partners Natalie Van Coevorden and Commonwealth Games representative Charlotte McShane.

“I’m so happy to repeat what I did last year down here in Devonport which is one of my favourite races,” Jeffcoat said.

“It has always treated me so well . . . it’s the kind of course that plays to my strengths and why wouldn’t I take advantage of that, I came from a surf lifesaving background.”

Exiting the swim within range of each other Jeffcoat made the early call to Van Coevorden to ‘go’.

“I knew Nat would probably be up there in the swim with me so as soon as we came out of the water I said to her “let’s go, we’re not waiting around” and it worked well for both of us,” said Jeffcoat.

The win was a confidence boost that her swim and bike are still strong while the focus has been improving her run and the results today proof that the work with coach Mick Delmotte is coming along nicely.

Jeffcoat’s next assignment will be the Australian Sprint Championships at Gold Coast Triathlon – Luke Harrop Memorial next weekend followed by the Mooloolaba ITU World Cup (10 March), Mixed Triathlon Relay Invitation (17 March) and New Plymouth World Cup. She will then get a block of training in before going over to Europe on the WTS circuit.

 

Elite
Women
1.    Emma Jeffcoat                  (AUS)    1:01:58
2.    Natalie Van Coevorden     (AUS)    1:02:20
3.    Charlotte McShane           (AUS)    1:03:54
Men
1.    Brandon Copeland             (AUS)    56:52
2.    Marcel Walkington              (AUS)    57:13
3.    Maximilian Schwetz            (GER)    57:21

Under 23
Women
1.    Annabel White                    (AUS)    1:05:11
2.    Zoe Leahy                          (AUS)    1:06:05
3.    Amber Pate                        (AUS)    1:08:10
Men
1.    Brandon Copeland                (AUS)    56:52
2.    Hayden Wilde                          (NZ)    57:23
3.    Trent Dodds                             (NZ)    57:33

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