Connect with us

Preview: Ironman Mont-Tremblant North-American Championship – The race for Kona



Well folks, the final 4000-point (KPR) Ironman race for 2013 has arrived. Ironman Mont Tremblant will host the 2013 North-American Ironman Championship this forthcoming Sunday and with it, two quality fields set to do battle. For many, this will be the final push for KPR points, after the initial slots were allocated at the end of July. Assuming all slots were accepted, there is room on the Kona pier for another ten professional men and  seven professional women, respectively, at the final slot allocations on August 25th.

Many of the athletes who hit the waters of Lake Tremblant on Sunday morning are on the verge placing themselves in contention of a Kona slot, pending their placing. Consequently, the KPR will in the back of the pros’ minds and, in all likelihood, a key motivation behind moves on the race course.

In the men’s field, Frenchman Romain Guillaume, a favourite amongst the locals, is back in La belle province to defend his title. Guillaume won both the 70.3 and the Ironman here in 2012. In 2013 however, with the North American Championships in town, he will be dealing with an entirely new field as his wire-to-wire win last year demonstrated the effects of the KPR on low-point late-season races with a very small and shallow field.

Here to challenge Guillaume for the title, will be a number of quality racers. Ironman Australia Champion Luke Bell is currently sitting in 81st on the KPR rankings as the win in Port Macquarie was only worth 1000-points. A finish at the pointy end should see Bell through to Hawaii. Bell has been in fantastic form so far this year with five podiums from five finishes, including three wins.

Luke Bell celebrates his maiden Ironman win in Port Macquarie earlier this year

Luke Bell celebrates his maiden Ironman win in Port Macquarie earlier this year

Fellow Australian Paul Ambrose will be wearing the number-6 bib on Sunday, and finds himself in a similar predicament. Not having an Ironman finish to his name so far this year, Ambrose currently sits just outside the top-100. A top finish should see him through, however. Ambrose is coming off a solid 4th place at Boulder 70.3, suggesting he is in good shape and once down from altitude, should be ready to rumble.

Cagey veteran Paul Amey collected his first Ironman title earlier this year in Texas on a very hot day. Currently 92nd on the KPR with those 2000-points in hand, Amey would need a very high placing on the weekend should he desire to have a crack in Hawaii, given he has few other points collected from 70.3 racing. Consequently, I suspect many pros will be looking over their shoulders for the Brit once out on the bike and run courses.

Add the likes of Matty Reed (who took the opportunity to train on the course earlier this year) who is still chasing a quality Ironman performance, Jozef Major, 10-time Ironman champion Viktor Zyemtsev,American Brandon Marsh and Italian Daniel Fontana, fresh off a second place at Ironman Lake Placid, and we will have a pretty good race on our hands.

The women’s race will see the defending North American Ironman Champion* Mary-Beth Ellis take on a very talented field. Ellis has won every Iron-distance race she has started, with the exception of Hawaii, making her a formidable favourite. In winning Ironman France (Nice) earlier this season, Ellis proved she likes the hills and should feel right at home on the +2000m of climbing on the Mont-Tremblant course.

Rebekah Keat running herself in to 2nd at the 2012 North American Ironman Championship

Rebekah Keat running herself in to 2nd at the 2012 North American Ironman Championship

Aussie Rebekah Keat will be looking to have a good hit out after missing the start at Ironman Frankfurt in July due to a niggling injury. Keat is in 37th position at the moment, on the back of her 2012 Kona finish and her second-place in Bussleton in December. As a result, there isn’t a massive amount of pressure on her shoulders, but she will want a steady race nevertheless to get some racing in her legs ahead of Hawaii. As one of the fastest women in Ironman history, there’s no doubt she will be marked by the others.

Just behind Keat on the KPR rankings sits British star Liz Blatchford, in 40th. Blatchford has had an amazing entry into the world of long-distance racing with wins in Huskisson Long Course, Bussleton 70.3 and Ironman Cairns, and a second place at the hot and humid Samui Long Course Triathlon. In Cairns, Blatchford took her maiden Ironman title in a tough duel against Kiwi Gina Crawford which came down to the final miles of the marathon. We can expect Blatchford to have learned a lot from that race, and be even stronger this forthcoming weekend.

Hillary Biscay is set to race her 62nd Ironman here on Sunday. That’s not a typo. Biscay has already raced this year in both Ironman Brazil and Ironman Austria, however still remains just outside the Top-50. Fellow Americans Sarah Piampiano, Jennie Hansen,  Haley Chura, April Gellatly and Bree Wee also all sit in or around the KPR Top-50 and, as a result, will be chasing a top finish here on Sunday. Chura has had a good rookie year so far, and will lead the race out of the drink and look to disappear on the rolling hills early in the bike leg.

Veteran Hungarian Erika Csomor is in great form also this year, with wins at Challenge Rimini, Ironman Los Cabos and Ironman Austria in another sub-9 hour performance, and will challenge for a podium spot, no doubt.

With the dynamics of the KPR at play this close to the Ironman World Championship, it will be interesting to see how both races unfold with many athletes pushing for points, but not wanting to go too deep ahead of the World Champships.

Mont Tremblant (‘Trembling Mountain’), situated in the Laurentides Mountains of Québec just north of Montréal, has become a triathlon mecca in the last 18-months. Dominique Piché, the Race Director, has brought WTC to town in a big way. Last year, in the races’ first year of running, Mont-Tremblant hosted a 70.3 and an Ironman race. Next year, the resort town will be hosting a the 70.3 in June, Ironman in August and the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in September. There are also rumors suggesting a local Olympic-distance triathlon held a few weeks prior to the 70.3, in early June, will become a licensed 5150 event.

The village and ski resort of Mont Tremblant, QC, Canada. Photo: Author

The village and ski resort of Mont Tremblant, QC, Canada. Photo: Author

Pro Men:

1 Romain Guillaume 28 FRA
2 Paul Amey 39 GBR
5 Jozsef Major 34 HUN
6 Paul Ambrose 28 AUS
7 Bryan Rhodes 40 NZL
8 Luke Bell 34 AUS
10 Bert Jammaer 33 BEL
11 Matt Reed 37 USA
15 Brandon Marsh 38 USA
16 Mike Schifferle 39 CHE
17 Dominik Berger 30 AUT
18 Jerome Bresson 30 CAN
19 Simon Cochrane 28 NZL
20 Trevor Delsaut 28 FRA
21 Logan Franks 25 USA
23 Adam Jones 30 CAN
24 Greg Kopecky 28 USA
25 Michael Louys 26 BEL
26 Arland Macasieb 37 PHL
27 Brendan Naef 36 CAN
28 Stefan Schmid 26 DEU
30 Nigel Gray 42 CAN
31 Swen Sundberg 39 DEU
33 Daniel Halksworth 27 GBR
34 Sean Bechtel 29 CAN
35 Daniel Fontana 37 ARG
36 Wolfgang Guembel 34 CAN

Pro Women:

42 Mary Beth Ellis 35 USA
44 Rebekah Keat 35 AUS
45 Hillary Biscay 35 USA
46 Erika Csomor 39 HUN
47 Bree Wee 33 USA
50 Morgan Chaffin 30 USA
51 Haley Chura 27 USA
54 Marie Danais 42 CAN
55 April Gellatly 30 USA
56 Annie Gervais 38 CAN
58 Amanda Kourtz 29 USA
59 Molly Roohi 32 USA
60 Kim Schwabenbauer 33 USA
61 Jessica Smith 31 USA
62 Jennie Hansen 28 USA
63 Nina Pekerman 35 ISR
64 Keiko Tanaka 28 JPN
65 Sarah Piampiano 33 USA
66 Olesya Prystayko 28 UKR
67 Anja Beranek 28 DEU
68 Liz Blatchford 33 GBR
69 Jackie Arendt 28 USA

* the Championship was renamed the North American Championship this year when moved to Mont-Tremblant after the Ironman New York US Championship was not continued due to logistical challenges.

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.

Continue Reading

News & Racing

How To Qualify for Challenge’s The Championship for 2018



Challenge Family has announced how triathletes can qualify for The Championship 2018, which once again takes place 3rd June, 2018 at the remarkable x-bionic® sphere in Samorin, Slovakia.

Qualification for The Championship 2018 commenced at Challenge Wanaka in February 2017 and will conclude at Challenge Salou in May 2018

Athletes have the chance to qualify for The Championship 2018 in a further 18 races taking place worldwide

Last year, the world’s top triathletes came together to race Challenge Family’s inaugural The Championship 2017, which took place in Samorin, Slovakia, and attracted an impressive line-up including double Olympic Champion Alistair Brownlee, winner of The Championship 2017 Lionel Sanders, former World Champion Sebastian Kienle, Challenge Gran Canaria winner Emma Pallant and the winner of The Championship 2017 Lucy Charles among others.

Lucy, who eventually triumphed at the event, was full of praise for the course and atmosphere, saying: “The race course was epic this year, and what’s amazing is that even though it was in its first year, the race drew in huge names and huge crowds, and the vibe was just electric. I can’t wait to see what The Championship 2018 brings, especially with so many chances for athletes to qualify.”

For professional athletes, the race carries with it a minimum prize purse of €150,000 and for its return this year, The Championship 2018 has a unique qualifying system in place that means pros will be able to qualify via global Challenge Family events. What’s more, there are still 18 races yet to take place, featuring middle and full distance races, as well as a number of side events, in locations such as Aruba, Melbourne and Brazil. The races are: Challenge Davos Festival, Challenge Iskandar Puteri, Challenge Madrid, Challenge Peguera-Mallorca, Challenge Aruba, Challenge Kanchanaburi, Challenge Forte Village Sardinia, Challenge Shepparton, Challenge Florianopolis, Challenge Wanaka, Challenge Mogan-Gran Canaria, Challenge Melbourne, Challenge Cerrado, Challenge Taiwan, Challenge Rimini, Corporate World Cup at Challenge Lisboa, Challenge Lisboa and Challenge Salou.

It’s not only the pros that will compete next year – all age group athletes have the chance to qualify with a top six age group finish at any global Challenge Family event during the qualification period, the last opportunity of which will be at Challenge Salou in May 2018. Furthermore, the top six teams in the female, male and mixed categories in relay events will also qualify for The Championship at Challenge Family events.

Qualifying slots will roll down in each age group and relay category up to 12th place, however, there will not be a roll down system for professional athletes.

Upon qualifying, the top six teams in each female, male and mixed category in relay events will also qualify for The Championship 2018 team relay. A registration code will be sent to the qualifying age-group athlete (via email), allowing the athlete to complete the online registration form. Each qualifying athlete will then have four weeks to register for The Championship 2018.

Zibi Szlufcik, CEO of Challenge Family, says of The Championship 2018: “We are excited and determined to make next year’s The Championship even better than 2017. With so many Challenge Family races taking place globally, and inclusive qualification system for pro and age grouper athletes, we are sure to attract even more remarkable athletes to the event. Of course, we are thrilled yet again to be working with the incredible x-bionic® sphere, in addition to enforcing the highly regarded 20m draft rule to keep racing fair for all. We look forward to raising an even higher standard in international triathlon.”

The course is carefully curated so that the outstanding venue, x-bionic® sphere, forms the stunning backdrop of the starting, transitioning and finishing stages of the race, providing striking views for both the competing athletes as well as spectators.

Continue Reading

News & Racing

Super League Jersey Men’s Race Preview



Richard Murray enjoys a lighthearted moment at St. Ouen's Bay on Jersey Island (photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M)

Scores will be settled and champions will arise at Super League Jersey this weekend with 25 of the world’s best male athletes competing. Most of them are reprising their Super League Hamilton Island appearances alongside notable and speedy additions to the roster. Richard Murray, Mario Mola, and Jake Birtwhistle were the top three athletes after the racing on Hamilton Island, which occurred early in the general triathlon season.

Since then, Mola has defended his world title and Birtwhistle has earned a mixed relay world championship alongside his Australian teammates including Matt Hauser, who has now also won a junior world title. Murray was in the running to end the year ranked third in the world and took two bronzes and one silver on the world triathlon circuit. However, in the end, he was bumped down to fourth by Kristian Blummenfelt, who made his mark on Hamilton Island by winning the first two of the three stages in the Eliminator and then racked up three silvers and one bronze on the circuit.

“Super League Hamilton Island was the springboard for many of these men’s epic seasons,” says executive chairman and co-founder Chris McCormack. “They were able to showcase the qualities that have led to their success this year. At Super League Jersey that’s going to make them a target for the athletes who either have a score to settle from the previous event or have never raced them in these formats.”

Jonathan Brownlee is one of those new entrants; after missing Hamilton Island due to injury, the dual Olympic medalist and two-time sprint world champion is raring for a go over the Triple Mix and the Eliminator, the two formats featured in this weekend’s racing. While Brownlee has shown himself a force to reckon with over shorter distances, the even shorter super sprint distances and multiple stages over two days will be a new experience. “The exciting thing is it’s something completely different, completely new,” he says. He looks forward to racing on what he considers home soil. “The British seem to put on incredible sports events. We’ve got lots of people watching and have a good culture of support in sports. And I think Super League will be another great British race.”

With the racing over the Triple Mix format at Super League Jersey, the three stages will mix up the three disciplines of triathlon: Stage 1 is swim-bike-run, Stage 2 is run-bike-swim, and Stage 3 is bike-swim-run. Athletes will need to tap into their speed from the gun in Stage 1 due to the pursuit starts in Stages 2 and 3. They will start the succeeding stages in the order they finished the previous stage, separated by how much time they lost to the preceding finisher. This is slightly different from the mechanics used on Hamilton Island, where athletes started each stage at the same time. “We want to reward the fastest overall on the day, and the pursuit start allows that person to cross the final finish line first,” McCormack reveals.

Had this been done on Hamilton Island, Richard Varga would have won the day thanks to his quick times in the water and on the bike. “I was proud to finish fourth in points after three days of racing on Hamilton Island, but definitely this adjustment in the Triple Mix will suit my strengths,” Varga says.

Day 2 features the Eliminator, where over three stages of swim-bike-run the slowest athletes will be eliminated. Stage 2 will star the Top 15 from Stage 1, while only the Top 10 from Stage 2 will go on to Stage 3. On Hamilton Island, Murray could afford to come in third in Stage 3 as he had already amassed nearly insurmountable points lead from two previous days of racing.

But in Jersey with only two days of racing over which to rack up points from finish standings, it will be imperative not only to survive through to Stage 3 but also finish well.

Ben Kanute is one of the world’s best over the super sprint distance, securing the fastest overall swim-bike-run split in the 2016 mixed relay world championship win he shares with Team USA. Yet it remains to be seen whether he can replicate this feat over multiple stages with a scant 10 minutes between them. He is also coming off a runner-up performance over the half distance two weeks ago, which may impact his fleet-footedness.

“I set out to win every race I start at, so everyone is a target for me,” Kanute says. “Look for me to go off the front on the bike and shake things up. Everyone else out there, just try and hold my wheel.”

With this star-studded and speedy line-up, Super League Jersey could be anyone’s to win. Watch all the action live on or The men’s races will stream at 1 pm on September 23rd and at 4 pm on September 24th (all times GMT+1).

Continue Reading

Gear & Tech

Do Your TrainingPeaks workouts in Zwift



Are you a TrainingPeaks user and also love using Zwift on those days that aren’t great to be outdoors? Well, today marks a significant step forward for both companies as the integration just got a whole heap better for us.

Many of us are using TrainingPeaks because our coach uses it and they put the required workout information in there for us to complete (or not) plus it’s great for understanding certain key metrics.

From today, you can now do your TrainingPeaks Structured Training within Zwift without doing any fancy export/import or be recreating those sessions in Zwift – and hands up who has done that before? Just login to Zwift and make sure your account is linked to your TrainingPeaks account – you can check this on the connections page. If they are connected, disconnect and connect them again just to be safe. Next, make sure your workout has been saved via TrainingPeaks Structured Workout Builder.

Lastly, login to Zwift, select workouts, and find today’s workout under the TrainingPeaks dropdown. You’ll only see the workout for the current day, and it updates automatically each day.

Continue Reading

News & Racing

Super League Jersey Women’s Race Preview



Rachel Klamer looks out onto St. Ouen's Bay on Jersey Island. (photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M)

Super League Triathlon will make history this weekend as female athletes race its unique formats for the first time at Super League Jersey. “Our race on Hamilton Island earlier this year was an exhibition of what was to come. Super League Jersey is formally the first event of the Super League Triathlon season and we are proud to have the world’s best athletes male and female on our starting line,” says executive chairman and co-founder Chris McCormack.

The first day of racing will feature the Triple Mix, which will test athletes’ adaptability to switch-ups to the traditional swim-bike-run order of triathlon and rewards a willingness and ability to go hard from the gun. The Triple Mix has three stages (swim-bike-run, run-bike-swim, bike-swim-run) and pursuit starts in Stage 2 and 3 that will allow athletes to build a lead from Stage 1 and challenge them to hold onto that lead until the final finish line in Stage 3.

The most challenging may be in Stage 2 and Stage 3, as athletes are unaccustomed to swimming after cycling. “Legs will feel very heavy in that swim,” says McCormack. “Athletes with good swim mechanics and natural speed can get an edge on the competition here, and if they get a big enough gap and can hold onto it, they can very well win the day.”

Two such athletes are Carolina Routier and Lucy Hall, renowned for their prowess in the water. Hall might be the stronger cyclist between the two, but Routier has the better run, a common weakness among fast swimmers. Routier may have the insider’s edge; with fiance and training partner Mario Mola having placed overall runner-up on Hamilton Island, they may have rehearsed such scenarios.

“I’m just excited to give it my best. It’s something we don’t get to do on the regular triathlon circuit and anything can happen,” says Routier.

On the second day, the Eliminator will whittle the field down to the best of the best. Only the top 15 finishers in Stage 1 will proceed to Stage 2, and of those only, the fastest 10 can race Stage 3. Between each stage, the first athlete across the line will have ten minutes to recover, while succeeding athletes will have less time. The previous day’s racing may also play a role in how sprightly the athletes will be.

“The question posed to these athletes is: will they want to expend effort to get to the front and take advantage of a longer rest, or will they just avoid elimination in Stage 1 and 2, conserving the energy to power through to the Stage 3 win?” says McCormack.

In the previous race on Hamilton Island, it was not the veterans Richard Murray or Mario Mola who took the Eliminator win after three stages, but young Jake Birtwhistle who put on a burst of speed in the final 500 meters. From the women’s roster, athletes with a mixed relay world championship pedigree may rule this format, such as Kirsten Kasper (2016 – USA) and Charlotte McShane (2017 – Australia). The distances are similar, with the major difference being the multiple stages and the threat of elimination.

“I definitely think I have the run legs to get to the front of the pack,” says Kasper, a former collegiate cross-country and track star. “But it really depends on staying close enough to strike out for the win. This field is so deep, it’s going to take everything I have.”

London Olympic silver medalist Nicola Spirig and world championship bronze medalist Katie Zaferes will have targets on their backs. As Super League Hamilton Island showed, the big names in Olympic triathlon might not be the ones standing triumphant at the end of the day. Will this prove to be the case in Jersey?

Continue Reading

News & Racing

Super League Jersey Course preview with Ryan Fisher



Super League this weekend will be nothing like the Hamilton Island event; apart from the excitement and exhaustion of course.

The Jersey course is going to be more tactically challenging for the athletes, with tiny winding corners and narrow roads. Ryan Fisher is in Jersey gearing up for the race, and he’s checked out the course in anticipation for Saturday.

Swim course

The 300-metre course is made up of a simple one-lap course with just two left turns.

“It’s pretty similar to the swim course in Hamilton Island [Super League]” said Fisher, “inside the rock wall where the swim will be, it’s pretty calm.”

Bike course

The bike course is going to be exceptionally tough, with many sections being just four metres wide. The bike course if made up of five laps creating a 5.5km course in total. There are six turns within the bike course and one U-turn.

“It’s really different to Hamilton Island as it’s pancake flat,” said Ryan Fisher. “In areas it’s only 5m wide, but there is no room for getting passed anyone as there’s a wall right there. If you have ten guys together, there are only two spots during each lap where you can pass people.”

The race will be fierce. “It will be corner – sprint – corner – sprint,” said Fisher.

Jersey is notorious (as is much of the UK) for rainy, wet weather, which will make the course even tougher. “There is a cobbled section, which will be very technical with water on it,” said Fisher.

Run course

The run course weaves along the same course as the bike leg, but is only two laps making the total distance 2 km. The Super League team says “it’s a tight, compact course and will be exciting for athletes and for fans.”


Thanks to Aussie Ryan Fisher for getting to Jersey early and giving us the inside scoop! We’re so excited for Super League Jersey!

Continue Reading

News & Racing

What you need to know about Super League in Jersey



Super League is triathlon’s coolest, fastest, flashiest new event and it’s coming to the UK at the end of September. Here are a few of the highlights of Super League’s upcoming event plus the top picks for the podium.

Women’s event launch

Super League is launching its women’s event this month and we couldn’t be more excited. The Super League series was launched on Hamilton Island without a women’s event due to the top female triathletes being unable to attend. Now though, the top women are geared up for this exciting event including Lucy Hall, Emma Pallant, Non Stanford and Katie Zeferes to name just a few.

What’s the Jersey course like?

In the words of founder Chris Macca, “It’s a small, windy and technical course, and it could be cool and wet.” Bring on the excitement!

Why race in September?

Weather will be cooler in Jersey in September, but the water will be at its warmest after being heated throughout the summer months.

Who will win – Women’s?

Macca and Stuart Hayes discussed the fierce start list, and since Hayes coaches Pallant, they took her out of the predictions to eliminate bias.

Macca and Hayes reckon Jodie Stimpson might take out the win as she hasn’t had a hugely busy season and she’s an aggressive athlete.

Nicola Spirig could also be in with a chance at the top spot.

Of course, Emma Pallant is in with a huge chance too. “I’ve never seen anyone train like Emma, except the Brownlee brothers,” said Hayes.

Who will win – Men’s?

Stu is convinced anyone could take out the top spot as the race format is new for almost everyone. “No one has done an Eliminator properly,” said Hayes. Hayes reckons Jonny Brownlee is a likely champion as he hasn’t had a big year as he’s been sidelined with injury and illness.

Richard Varga could be in with a great chance to as he’s a fierce 800m runner.

Hayes thinks all the seasoned athletes shouldn’t ignore the very real threat of the junior athletes who are very used to racing sprint races. “They’re the guys to watch out for,” said Hayes.

Super League is officially the most exciting triathlon race format out there, and we can’t wait for Jersey this month.

Who do you think will win Jersey Super League?

Continue Reading