If Triathlon Australia ever needed evidence of where it’s focus should be the pro start list at the World 70.3 champs speaks very loudly. 22% of the pro field are Australians with 13 of the 46 men and 4 of the 29 females. Of course developing our your talent, which is part of TA’s role in the sport means that ITU style racing is important as the elite youth of the sport cannot do long course triathlons for obvious reasons. We have a number of women not racing who could easily be in this field as well. Women like Keat, Gailey (Mitchell), Crowley, Bevilaqua, Sym, could easily sit in this field. (apologies to any we didn’t mention)
The problem with writing a preview is that this year, like most, Australians have dominated podiums in the US 70.3 season. Almost all Australians racing this weekend could be on the podium if they have a perfect day. Of course with triathlon ‘a perfect day’ is the holy grail.
Australians are the current champions with Craig Alexander and Melissa Hauschildt winning the 2011 titles. Both will be defending their titles this weekend. In addition a number of other Australians will be top contenders for the title.
Craig Alexander, Michael Raelert, Joe Gambles, Greg Bennett, Bevan Docherty and Andy Potts are the obvious favourites. There wouldn’t be much dispute about this. It will come down to who can perform in the heat and who wants this title more.
We will see a lot of Clayton Fettell in the swim and bike legs of the race and if he has his run legs he could still be there towards the end and who knows… he may pull it off. Possible but he has his work cut out. Along with Fettell another Australian is expected to be alongside him. Paul Ambrose, as with Fettell, likes to race one way, from the front. Ambrose and Fettell equally have one of the best swim / bike combos in the sport. They both can run as well but there are a number of faster runners racing this weekend. It will remain to be seen if they can put a gap on the field. A big ask as this is one seriously hot field.
Alexander came here last year and clinically disposed of the field. This year has been a very different schedule with Melbourne throwing up a bit race early in the year, which Crowie won of course. Since then he has had a few hitouts with various results. With Crowie you can’t read much in to the misses as he is such a seasoned professional that when the big race comes along he will go to another gear.
Probably the favourite Australian male is Joe Gambles. Joe Gambles is in red hot form and aside from Crowie will be the male most will be keeping an eye on. Gambles has had some solid wins this season including a recent close one with fellow Aussie Leon Griffin with Gamble pulling away on the run. His devastating run will be the key in this field but his race will be set up with his swim and bike.
Greg Bennett will also be one of the favourites. He has shown this year that the 70.3 distance suits him perfectly. With a second behind Lance Armstrong at Hawaii this year in a very fast time plus some other top podium finishes he could be one to create an upset.
Melissa Hauschildt has not had the run miles that she wanted this year. There was an effort to get ready to race Ironman Cairns which was derailed when she suffered foot problems. Hauschildt was keen to have a tilt at Kona this year as her plans for the next four years would make it more difficult to focus on Ironman. Still with limited running Hauschildt has still put the fear in to the female fields (and a lot of the male fields) and last week at Hy-Vee she showed that with a little more distance in the race she is back to her best. A good takeaway from last weekend was that the usual gap she gives the strong swimmers has been pegged back in her favour a bit. For someone from a non-swimming background she has shown what a gritty athlete she is.
Doing all they can to finish ahead of Hauschildt are a number of the world’s fastest long distance triathletes including Australian Mirinda Carfrae. Carfrae is one of the fastest long distance runners in the game. The current World number two Ironman Champion will be in perfect form with only weeks to go until Kona. The women that Carfrae and Hauschildt need to worry about are Kelly Williamson, Angela Naeth, Jodie Swallow (back to her old self), Leanda Cave and Heather Wurtle.
Aside from these leading females Australian Lisa Marangon will be flying under the radar. Marangon has always been known as a very fast swim / biker and now with some run speed she could be a surprise dark horse. One of the things that has often plagued Marangon has been getting her stars aligned. With her new found training regime, a focus on racing with a 100rpm on the bike and what looks like a much better run we could see her at least in the top ten. Marangon won the Yeppoon 70.3 a couple of weeks ago in very warm temperatures.
Speaking of warm temperatures Michelle Wu has been living in Darwin for most of the Australian winter and and with a short stint in Sedona with the D-Squad and with coach Darren Smith in her corner Wu will also be a top ten contender. Wu has one of the faster runs around and Smith now her coach it will be interesting to see what Wu can produce. Wu likes her races hot and tough and we think she will be a surprise this weekend barring any mechanicals.
In case you have been living under a rock, Australian coach Darren Smith is the coach of Olympic silver medalist and Hy-Vee winner Lisa Norden. He also coaches Olympic number four female Sarah Groff. In fact of the 6 triathletes he coaches who were vying for Olympic berths all made it to London.
The mention of the D-Squad brings up Bart Aernouts. Aernouts was a champion duathlete who under Smith has learnt to swim (and much more). Aernouts is an athlete that is at the beginning of his long course triathlon career but is packed with talent. Maybe not a top 10 place but could be a surprise packet with Darren Smith in his corner.
Back to the full time Aussies and next one the list is Tim Reed. Reed is a self confessed cooler climate racer. He does not perform in the extreme heat. As one of the faster bike / run exponents even in the heat in Vegas Reed will still push the guys at the front. As always he will give a little in the swim and fight his way back on the bike to set himself up to apply his lethal run and hopefully bag a podium. Reed will be racing in his customary budgy smugglers. Reed wears these for two reasons. One is that anyone that knows Reed knows he is old school and loves the history of the sport. Secondly everyone needs a USP to stand out from the crowd and get noticed. The budgies is Reeds.
Josh Amberger will also be a top contender after his classy performance at Hy-Vee last weekend. Amberger finished 7th overall at Hy-Vee in one of the best fields assembled this year. Amberger will be a leader out of the water, will have a strong bike and will havehis work cut out on the 21.1km run against some of the best in the business.
Another Aussie who can match it with the fastest in each three legs is Christian Kemp. Kemp could put in one of the fastest run times and has shown this year that he can also be in the front swim pack and match it on the bike with the best. What we haven’t seen from Kemp is him put together all three legs at the pace that we know he can do. If he does then he will be a serious contender.
Paul Matthews has consistently podiumed this year and last week pulled of a tenth place in a stella field at Hy-Vee. Matthews is one of our leading 70.3 racers in the US and year in and year out he is in the money at most of the big races. Matthews also races in the 5150 series regularly and has some good speed because of this.
Another top Australian 70.3 performer this year is Richie Cunningham. Cunningham races predominantly in the Rev3 series and is currently the overall leader in the series. He has performed at the top end for a number of years and has previously finished 3rd and 5th twice at the 70.3 world champs. After racing for almost 15 years as a pro the Queenslander has built up an impressive resume. This year he has won 3 Rev3 halves, had two seconds at 70.3 races and a 3rd at Panama 70.3.
Leon Griffin has been back to his best this year afterÂ taking a year off last year. Even though he was officially back in a day job he did manage to pull of a few good results including winning the Challenge Cairns Half, Shepparton Half and Falls Creek Long Course. Not bad for a full time desk jockey. This year Griffin has a number of 2nd placings at 70.3 and long course events.
Josh Rix is someone who has had a solid year this year. He raced IM Melbourne for an 11th overall in 8:22 and a 3rd at the Cairns 70.3. Rix should be strong in the swim and will keep in touch on the bike.
Ollie Whistler has been working towards this race all year. With a decent crash a few months ago in a US race he missed a bit of training but has been focused on this race since. Whistler won Yeppoon and Canberra half ironmans last year and for a young guys shows that he has a long future ahead of him. Watch out for the haircut.
|01 Craig Alexander 39 AUS|
|02 Michael Raelert 32 DEU|
|03 Richie Cunningham 39 AUS|
|04 Bart Aernouts 28 BEL|
|05 Timothy O’Donnell 31 USA|
|06 Joe Gambles 30 AUS|
|07 Tim Reed 27 AUS|
|08 Paul Matthews 29 AUS|
|09 Paul Ambrose 28 AUS|
|10 Matty Reed 36 USA|
|11 Terenzo Bozzone 27 NZL|
|12 Andy Potts 35 USA|
|13 Greg Bennett 40 AUS|
|14 Alessandro Degasperi 31 ITA|
|15 Filip Ospaly 36 CZE|
|17 Leon Griffin 32 AUS|
|18 Christian Kemp 31 AUS|
|19 Joe Umphenour 43 USA|
|20 Clayton Fettell 26 AUS|
|21 Sebastian Kienle 28 DEU|
|22 Ollie Whistler 24 AUS|
|23 Jeff Symonds 26 CAN|
|24 Tim Berkel 28 AUS|
|25 Santiago Ascenco 31 BRA|
|26 Kent Horner 30 ZAF|
|27 JOSH RIX 33 AUS|
|28 Callum Millward 29 NZL|
|29 Trevor Wurtele 33 CAN|
|30 RICH ALLEN 38 GBR|
|31 Josh Amberger 23 AUS|
|32 Bevan DOcherty 35 NZL|
|33 Paul Amey 39 GBR|
|34 Oscar Galindez 41 ARG|
|35 Erich FELBABEL 34 HKG|
|36 Jos_ JEULAND 30 FRA|
|37 Shanon Stallard 32 NZL|
|38 Robert Wade 30 IRL|
|39 Jordan Jones 31 USA|
|40 Jesse Thomas 32 USA|
|41 Balazs Csoke 29 HUN|
|42 Mauro cavanha 27 BRA|
|43 Julien Biboud 26 CAN|
|44 Matt Lieto 34 USA|
|45 James Bowstead 25 NZL|
|46 Faris Al-Sultan 34 DEU|
|47 Jack Smith 25 USA|
|60 Melissa Hauschildt 29 AUS|
|61 Kelly Williamson 34 USA|
|62 Linsey Corbin 31 USA|
|63 Jodie Swallow 31 GBR|
|64 Leanda Cave 34 GBR|
|65 Heather Jackson 28 USA|
|66 Margaret Shapiro 35 USA|
|67 Emma-Kate Lidbury 32 GBR|
|68 Angela Naeth 30 CAN|
|69 Joanna Lawn 38 NZL|
|70 Michelle Wu 29 AUS|
|71 Magali Tisseyre 30 CAN|
|72 Mirinda Carfrae 31 AUS|
|73 Natascha Badmann 45 CHE|
|74 Lisa Marangon 32 AUS|
|75 Jennifer Tetrick 30 USA|
|76 Meredith Kessler 34 USA|
|77 Amanda Stevens 35 USA|
|79 Julia Grant 26 NZL|
|80 MELANIE MCQUAID 39 CAN|
|81 Sarah Piampiano 32 USA|
|82 Claire Horner 31 ZAF|
|83 Yvonne Van Vlerken 33 NED|
|84 Julia Gajer 30 DEU|
|85 Heather Wurtele 33 USA|
|86 Missy Kuck 36 USA|
|87 Rachel Challis 36 NZL|
|88 Mandy McLane 33 USA|
|89 Mariana Andrade 25 BRA|
Ironman 70.3 Geelong: Sam Appelton Too Strong and Nina Derron Wins in a Thriller
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.
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
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
Bill Chaffey Throws Caution to the Wind in Commonwealth Games Countdown
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.
USA Paratriathlon National Championships to Return to Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, in June
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.
Challenge Wanaka: Javier Gomez and Annabel Luxford crowned 2018 champions
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.
Zwift Set to Revolutionise Indoor Running
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.
Copeland overcomes Devonport curse as Jeffcoat defends her crown
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.
1. Emma Jeffcoat (AUS) 1:01:58
2. Natalie Van Coevorden (AUS) 1:02:20
3. Charlotte McShane (AUS) 1:03:54
1. Brandon Copeland (AUS) 56:52
2. Marcel Walkington (AUS) 57:13
3. Maximilian Schwetz (GER) 57:21
1. Annabel White (AUS) 1:05:11
2. Zoe Leahy (AUS) 1:06:05
3. Amber Pate (AUS) 1:08:10
1. Brandon Copeland (AUS) 56:52
2. Hayden Wilde (NZ) 57:23
3. Trent Dodds (NZ) 57:33
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