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Cameron Good and Charlotte McShane best of the Australians at World Triathlon Series in Stockholm

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Australia‘s young band of triathletes have had their final ITU World Championship Grand Final hit-outs in Stockholm over the weekend – and showed some encouraging signs.

The seventh race of the World Triathlon Series saw an emerging team of Australians take on the best in the world, while the established stars sat in the wings, counting down their days to London and possible automatic Commonwealth Games selection from the sidelines.

Four members who raced Stockholm will contest the Under 23 World Championships all with notches of experience punched into their belts.

The encouraging signs came from Manly’s Elite competitor Cameron Good and Wollongong’s U23 Charlotte McShane who were the best of the Australians – both finishing 13th respectively as the front runners clamored for precious WTS points and a world championship podium.

The improving 25-year-old Good, who will make his Australian Elite Team debut in London’s Grand Final (September 11-15), topped off his best ever WTS performance, with a solid final 10k run time of 30.44.

He will go into London brimming with confidence that he is starting to mix it with the best and move up the rankings against the finest triathletes in the WTS – sitting in 20th place on the ITU World Rankings – his highest ever.

McShane has also edged her way into the top 20 for the first time – sitting in 18th – and 12 months ago she finished 35th in the corresponding Stockholm race.

“Finishing in the top 20 is something I would never have imaged at the beginning of the season, I couldn’t be happier with how I have progressed in the past 12 months,” said McShane.

“I am now 100 percent focused on racing in London at the ITU Under 23 World Championships in three weeks timer and Stockholm was definitely a confidence booster.”

The women’s race went to McShane’s training partner, the USA’s Gwen Jorgensen who claimed her third victory of the season with a stunning 31.41 run split to account for Anne Haug (GER) and Non Stanford (GBR) who just three weeks ago had her wrist in plaster after a fall in Hamburg.

But the message is loud and clear to the young Australians – especially the men’s team after yesterday’s race – don’t let Britain’s Brownlees out of your sights in the swim when you get into their backyard in Hyde Park.

A feat easier said than done after another dominant performance by the three best triathletes on the circuit who produced a replica finish to last year’s London Olympics – Alistair Brownlee gold; Javier Gomez silver and Jonathan Brownlee bronze.

The trio remain the dominant force in the sport over any course, under any circumstance and on any given day.

The young Australian boys were behind the eight ball as soon as they came out of the 1.5km swim in the freezing 14.7 degree water – the top 10 were away and the race was quickly divided into two.

“You just can’t give anything away to the Brownlees and Gomez who swim so well and then hammer the bike – blink and you’ve missed them,” warned Australia’s Performance Director Bernard Savage.

“And not just our boys but the rest of the world know they have to be right there coming out of the water and on that crucial first lap on the bike.”

With the Brownlee boys, Gomez, Alesandro Fabian (ITA), Richard Varga (SVK), Henry Schoeman (RSA) French pair Vincent Luis and Aurelein Raphael, taking off like scalded cats on the first lap of the bike, anyone else with their sights set on the podium were never in the hunt.

The longer the 10 lap bike course went (re-routed from the scheduled nine laps because of an oil spill) the further the eight-strong lead group extended the gap over the chase group which included Under 23 hopeful Ryan Fisher, Australia’s leading Elite mate Ryan Bailie and Good.

It was Fisher, who has emerged as a serious contender for the World Under 23 title in London, who was the first Australian out of the water in 14th with Good 20th, Bailie 35th and Brendan Sexton 44th.

Fisher was 27 seconds behind after the first bike lap with Bailie and Good some 42 seconds back.

But by the end of the bike course they were in a chase pack that was almost two minutes behind – the race very much up the road. The Brownlees had bolted.

Sexton, in his first Olympic distance race of the season, eventually withdrew from the race midway though the 40km bike course.

Up front it was Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee who stole the race, with a brave break away with two laps left on the bike.

By T2 it was the brave efforts of Alistair, who came down from the British high altitude training camp in Switzerland, who had opened up a 20 second lead –  which he held until the bell lap on the run.

Gomez broke Jonny Brownlee going up the incline towards the final run lap, ensuring he would give himself every chance of remaining in touch for the wide open ITU World Championship crown in London.

As hard as Olympic silver medallist Gomez pushed, no one can give Alistair Brownlee 20 seconds head start on the run.

In the end, with the Stockholm crowd cheering him on and with the Union Jack draped over his shoulders, it was Alistair who won his 15th ITU Olympic distance race and the overall lead going into London.

Gomez did produce the fastest run split of the day – 29.02 to Brownlee’s 29.09  – still finishing some 14 seconds behind the winner – saying Stockholm’s cobble-stoned technical course “was one of the most demanding on the WTS circuit.”

The dogged Fisher, a noted swim-biker, managed to hang in over the run to split 31.24 to secure a Top 20 placing in 19th while Bailie after pushing to join the chased pack on the bike finished in 29th and will be keen to make some adjustments before his full-on London tilt.

In the women’s race another Under 23 representative Natalie Van Coevorden finished a spirited 17th while Elite Under 23 debutant Tamsyn Moana-Veale, a late addition to the field finished 32nd, learning valuable lessons before she again joins forces with training partners McShane and Van Coevorden to prepare for their  World Championship campaign in London.

Meanwhile WA’s Felicity Sheedy-Ryan has produced an impressive run leg to take out the penultimate European Cup of the season in Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic.

For Sheedy-Ryan, it was her second European Cup win of the season, the fifth of her career, and a powerful run, the fastest 10k time of the day, saw her overhaul her rivals on the final discipline and claim a comfortable win.

Australia was also well represented in the men’s race with her fellow Queensland-based West Australian Kenji Nener sixth and Victorian Marcel Walkington 10th, the best of the youngAustralian contingent.

2013 ITU WORLD TRIATHLON – Stockholm – Elite Women

 

1 Gwen Jorgensen USA 01:55:31 00:20:38 00:01:25 01:01:17 00:00:32 00:31:41
2 Non Stanford GBR 01:56:20 00:21:35 00:01:31 01:00:16 00:00:33 00:32:26
3 Anne Haug GER 01:56:45 00:21:42 00:01:23 01:00:15 00:00:34 00:32:54
4 Vicky Holland GBR 01:57:02 00:20:40 00:01:26 01:01:16 00:00:35 00:33:07
5 Jodie Stimpson GBR 01:57:06 00:20:45 00:01:23 01:01:11 00:00:34 00:33:15
6 Maaike Caelers NED 01:57:09 00:21:40 00:01:27 01:00:12 00:00:35 00:33:16
7 Andrea Hewitt NZL 01:57:38 00:20:45 00:01:23 01:00:27 00:00:40 00:34:24
8 Sarah Groff USA 01:57:41 00:20:33 00:01:24 01:01:25 00:00:37 00:33:44
9 Aileen Reid IRL 01:57:44 00:20:39 00:01:28 01:01:16 00:00:34 00:33:48
10 Alice Betto ITA 01:57:48 00:20:34 00:01:25 01:01:26 00:00:31 00:33:54
13 Charlotte McShane AUS 01:58:22 00:21:29 00:01:32 01:00:24 00:00:35 00:34:23
17 Natalie Van Coevorden AUS 01:58:39 00:20:35 00:01:28 01:01:20 00:00:34 00:34:44
32 Tamsyn Moana-Veale AUS 02:03:21 00:21:38 00:01:31 01:04:12 00:00:35 00:35:27

 

 

2013 ITU WORLD TRIATHLON – Stockholm – Elite Men

 

1 Alistair Brownlee GBR 01:43:13 00:18:39 00:01:17 00:53:36 00:00:35 00:29:09
2 Javier Gomez ESP 01:43:27 00:18:43 00:01:14 00:53:58 00:00:33 00:29:02
3 Jonathan Brownlee GBR 01:43:50 00:18:37 00:01:20 00:53:57 00:00:32 00:29:27
4 Aurelien Raphael FRA 01:45:14 00:18:42 00:01:15 00:53:56 00:00:32 00:30:51
5 Vincent Luis FRA 01:45:22 00:18:49 00:01:14 00:53:51 00:00:33 00:30:57
6 Richard Murray RSA 01:45:39 00:18:46 00:01:24 00:55:19 00:00:31 00:29:42
7 Richard Varga SVK 01:45:47 00:18:36 00:01:21 00:53:57 00:00:31 00:31:25
8 Laurent Vidal FRA 01:46:02 00:19:05 00:01:25 00:54:58 00:00:34 00:30:02
9 Pierre Le Corre FRA 01:46:10 00:18:42 00:01:22 00:55:24 00:00:32 00:30:12
10 David Mcnamee GBR 01:46:23 00:19:01 00:01:34 00:54:58 00:00:32 00:30:21
13 Cameron Good AUS 01:46:47 00:19:01 00:01:21 00:55:11 00:00:32 00:30:44
19 Ryan Fisher AUS 01:47:23 00:18:48 00:01:24 00:55:17 00:00:32 00:31:24
29 Ryan Bailie AUS 01:48:36 00:19:17 00:01:17 00:54:55 00:00:33 00:32:36
DNF Brendan Sexton AUS 00:00:00 00:19:27 00:01:18 00:00:00 00:00:00 00:00:00

 

 

 

2013 Karlovy Vary, ITU Triathlon European Cup, Women

 

1 Felicity Sheedy-Ryan AUS 02:05:13 00:20:24 00:00:29 01:10:55 00:00:24 00:33:00
2 Mateja Simic SLO 02:06:01 00:20:16 00:00:33 01:10:57 00:00:24 00:33:51
3 Charlotte Morel FRA 02:06:12 00:20:17 00:00:35 01:10:50 00:00:27 00:34:01
4 Jolanda Annen SUI 02:06:53 00:20:14 00:00:29 01:11:04 00:00:26 00:34:39
5 Paulina Kotfica POL 02:07:55 00:20:19 00:00:32 01:10:58 00:00:28 00:35:37
6 Alessia Orla ITA 02:08:30 00:20:10 00:00:26 01:11:09 00:00:27 00:36:16
7 Lisa Schanung ITA 02:08:49 00:20:28 00:00:29 01:10:46 00:00:26 00:36:38
8 Vendula Frintova CZE 02:09:05 00:20:20 00:00:27 01:12:28 00:00:21 00:35:27
9 Romana Slavinec AUT 02:09:51 00:21:57 00:00:31 01:10:49 00:00:30 00:36:03
10 Petra Kurikova CZE 02:09:57 00:20:20 00:00:35 01:12:23 00:00:32 00:36:05

 

 

 

2013 Karlovy Vary, ITU Triathlon European Cup, Men

 

 

1 Yegor Martynenko UKR 01:53:57 00:18:21 00:00:26 01:04:37 00:00:22 00:30:09
2 Stefan Zachaeus GER 01:54:16 00:17:50 00:00:33 01:05:00 00:00:23 00:30:29
3 Alberto Casadei ITA 01:55:01 00:18:02 00:00:29 01:04:54 00:00:29 00:31:05
4 Jan Celustka CZE 01:55:08 00:18:00 00:00:28 01:04:54 00:00:26 00:31:18
5 Riccardo De Palma ITA 01:55:10 00:17:50 00:00:31 01:05:04 00:00:29 00:31:14
6 Kenji Nener AUS 01:55:17 00:17:57 00:00:27 01:05:08 00:00:23 00:31:21
7 Cédric Oesterle FRA 01:55:25 00:18:32 00:00:27 01:05:36 00:00:29 00:30:20
8 Matthew Sharpe CAN 01:55:47 00:17:54 00:00:31 01:05:05 00:00:25 00:31:49
9 Frantisek Kubinek CZE 01:55:47 00:18:17 00:00:26 01:04:36 00:00:23 00:32:03
10 Marcel Walkington AUS 01:56:06 00:17:47 00:00:32 01:05:56 00:00:26 00:31:24
20 Dylan Evans AUS 01:58:18 00:19:11 00:00:27 01:06:35 00:00:24 00:31:39
24 Tim George AUS 01:59:42 00:19:39 00:00:28 01:07:17 00:00:24 00:31:52
38 Chris Wigell AUS 02:05:25 00:19:30 00:00:28 01:10:04 00:00:28 00:34:54

A cyclist and tech geek at heart with a passion for new shiny things and a huge appetite for triathlon. I spend most of my time between managing two of Australia's best triathletes and a traditional corporate life.

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Interview: A Look At What it Takes to Train Luke Willian

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Luke Willian’s coach Warwick Dalziel has some serious insight into motivating young athletes. After Luke placed 3rd in the U23 ITU World Championships in Rotterdam, Trizone caught up with Dalziel to uncover his coaching secrets.

About Luke

“Luke was always a fairly uncoordinated kid,” said Dalziel laughing, “but he was always really talented. When he was 13, he already had a talent for endurance sports, and he was naturally good.” When Willian started training with Dalziel, his talent was overshadowed by his inexperience with racing. “We did skills work with him and raced the national series races. He’d never swum in proper races before, so he had to learn how to swim. Yep, really learn how to swim from scratch” said Dalziel.

“There’s plenty of natural strength and some natural development to come.”

Now though, Luke is an impressive athlete, and he still has plenty of room to grow. “Luke grew over one centimetre in Europe,” said Dalziel, “that’s what makes it exciting. There’s lots of scope for him to get faster.

Luke’s brother and his entrance into triathlon

“Luke started triathlon because his younger brother wanted to try it,” said Dalziel. “Even now, they’re very close and very supportive of each other’s goals,” said Dalziel. “When he was waiting for drug test results, Luke called his brother for half an hour. That’s just what they do, and they’re always chatting.”

Luke Willian and his family are very close, and it’s this support that resonates into his training. “The family aspect of Luke’s training resonates through the family. His loyalty to them also goes through the relationship with me,” said Dalziel.

Exposing Luke to overseas triathlon creates a champion

Exposing a young athlete to the glitter of overseas racing is essential, but it needs to be at the right level and right times. “It was a matter of being slow and steady, and exposing him to European racing slowly,” said Dalziel. “It’s such a different level to Australian racing. There are so many countries and so many people. Exposing young athletes to lots of teaching techniques, race skills and how good and desperate to be good you need to be to have a shot at being an elite triathlete,” said Dalziel.

When Luke was only 16, Dalziel was training Ron Darmon, an Israeli Olympic triathlete in his squad. “Luke saw what Ron was doing, and saw what it takes to be a top athlete. He spent a lot of time learning what it takes to be a top athlete.

“When Courtney Atkinson made his comeback, he did some sessions with our squad and learned of him. He spent time with a French team with Laurent Vidal and also with the Wollongong Wizards and Jamie Turner’s squad exposing to lots of different triathletes,” said Dalziel.

“I just wanted to make sure he had a full-spectrum, worldly view, more than just an Australian view. Not that there’s anything wrong with Australian triathlon,” added Dalziel quickly, “it’s just good to have that international view.”

Seeing the way others train helps young athletes gain an open mind, however, Dalziel is clear not everything in his method can be changed. “There are some non-negotiable things we do,” said Dalziel, “but I want him to learn there is a whole world out there, so he’s not stuck.”

Willian is an incredibly keen athlete

Luke Willian’s motivation to power through a tough training session is impressive. “When I’d decided the guys in the squad could do an easy ride, they all wanted to do a crit [criterium] race instead. So they did!” said Dalziel, “they didn’t even want to have an easy session.”

“It’s so much better that training sessions are athlete-driven rather than coach-imposed.”

Dalziel is still sometimes surprised by how keen Willian can be. “Before Mooloolabah, I was away on holiday with my wife, and Willian was at home training. He had a few 120km hill rides to do,” said Dalziel. “He’d done four of them in just ten days. I was away, so I wasn’t even driving it. I knew we were in for a good season.”

Penalties not enough to ruin on Montreal

Getting stuck with a penalty is frustrating for any athlete, but the experienced junior athlete Willian powered through. “He got a bit tensed and stressed. He took the penalty early on lap three, then recovered. He raced really well. Knowing he raced really well in Montreal was great mentally, even though he finished 17th he was not far off the day .”

How good was Willian’s race in Montreal? It was his first Olympic distance WTS race, he had the 10th fastest 10 km in 32.00 – so he was within 1 min of the best guys in the world on his first go,” Dalziel told Trizone beaming.

Recovery is key to young athlete

After our chat to Matt Dixon of Purple Patch, it’s evident recovery is one of an essentially modern aspect of triathlon training, and Dalziel knows it too. “We’re always adapting our recovery process,” said Dalziel. “Luke is outstanding like that. If work goes up, recovery goes up.”

Instilling the importance of recovery is vital for young athletes, said Dalziel. “Luke was exposed to water running, ice baths and recovery from a young age, so it becomes natural.”

Physical recovery has its place, but mental recovery is just as significant to young athletes. “A lot of young athletes, especially junior guys, find it really hard to turn off,” said Dalziel. “We try and make sure they do something else. We play half-court basketball or bocce. Anything that’s not triathlon. Some of the athletes are studying business, so they study to switch off.”

Some athletes can be switched on 24/7, but some can’t. “Luke needs breaks. He schedules in time to see his girlfriend, to go to the movies and make sure there’s a plan around rest, and a routine.”

“We never train Sunday afternoon so there’s family time,” said Dalziel, “it’s important to do it young so when you’re older it’s part of your daily practice.”

Reserving time for fun and family at a young age helps solidify good habits.

Rotterdam and finishing third

After finishing preparation for Hamburg, Luke Willian moved from 50 small sprints, towards 100. “We zoned in on it after Hamburg,” said Dalziel, “running work went from shorter to longer intervals. Rather than 5km pace, we were running at 10km endurance speed.”

Montreal had been a great result mentally, and Dalziel was encouraging Willian to transition from intensity and to come back to volume. “We said – OK, where do we want to be and where do we need to go?”

Willian had a few more rest days leading into his taper for Rotterdam. “We went back into constant pace, had some extra massage, and trained one session a day rather than three. Luke got a few sleep-ins” laughed Dalziel. “We went to our run sets; standard long pace run sets. That’s 14-15km of running. We did them off distance markers, and then we just tried to shut it down.”

After flying up to Rotterdam on Tuesday, the coach and athlete duo snuck out of their hotel and had a look around the course in the middle of the night. “The next day we had lunch with squadmate and fellow U/23 athlete Matt Roberts (trains with us in Warwick Dalziel triathlon coaching) and Mick Delamotte. We laughed. We talked about baseball, state or origin [rugby] just nothing to do with triathlon. Then he went out and raced,” said Dalziel.

“For Luke, if he’s too focused and not relaxed enough it doesn’t work. He knows what he has to do.”

Dalziel’s strategy works, as Willian stormed to the finish of the U23 ITU World Championship. Finishing in third place in 1:51:48, Willian was just 20 seconds behind the leader Rachael Montoya.

Third place is a great result, but when you take away the penalty, it’s world class. “Luke took at 15s time penalty at world championships when his cap was lost off his head – so he would have been much closer,” said Dalziel.

“A 1.51.48 would have been good enough to get into the top 5 of senior men the next day (different conditions but same course), and a 31.25 (no penalty) would have been a top 10 senior men, so his times are already up there,” said Dalziel.

What young athletes do the hour before a big race

Food. Yes, it’s that’s simple, almost. “For Luke, it’s all about the food after the briefing,” said his coach. “As far as what we talk about, we keep it simple. If we’re not clear one month or one week out, I think you get distracted and you panic, so we’re always clear.”

“Some athletes need that rev up before the race – some athletes respond to that. That’s not what works for Luke.”

Dalziel customises his approach to each athlete. “If the athletes need to listen to Eye of the Tiger before the race – that’s what they do. If they need to be quiet and calm before the race, that’s what they do,” said Dalziel.

Noosa and Bribie Island to be Willian’s final 2017 races

“He’s done Noosa twice, and he’s keen to go with the big boys like Aaron, Ryan and Dan,” said Dalziel. “It’s an iconic race and has a lot of prestige. It’s one of the races Luke has on his bucket list that he’d like to do well in.”

To prepare for the infamous Aussie race, Willian will be going over the course details with Dalziel, preparing for the temperatures on the day, and getting ready for the U-turns and technical elements on the bike. “Triathlon Australia with Jamie Turner ran some bike sessions and we did some of those with fellow Waz squad member and U/23 rep Matt Roberts, Matt Hauser, Ryan Bailie, Brandon Copeland and a team of athletes to get used to the course,” said Dalziel.

Two weeks before Noosa, Willian will race at Bribie Island, a fun Queensland race. “He likes local races where he can have a good meal before, and get out there,” said Dalziel.

After Noosa, there’s not a tremendous amount of rest time for Willian. “We don’t have a huge offseason,” said Dalziel, “some sessions might be easy though, like going to Burleigh Beach and having a run and a swim, without me there.”

Once the squad is mentally recovered, it will be back to work for 2018.

“With young athletes, I find if they have a big off season, they go back into load too quickly,” said Dalziel. “They end up injured, it doesn’t work.”

With incredible insight into the psyche and needs of young, developing athletes, it’s clear Luke Willian and coach Warwick Dalziel are a fierce team. All eyes will be on Willian at Noosa to see how he does in a strong field, with fingers crossed for a solid 2018.

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Noosa: Jake Montgomery Finally Makes His Debut

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Celebrating its 35th birthday the Noosa Triathlon will be in party mode, but the very courageous Gold Coast based professional Jake Montgomery will be the one with the biggest smile, as he finally celebrates his long-awaited debut in Australia’s greatest triathlon.

“I planned on doing Noosa for the past four years, but unfortunately I have never made it to the start line,” Jake said with a casual comment that masks several horror years of extreme courage, immense pain, hardship and the rebuilding of both body and mind.

A handy runner and swimmer at school it was his first swim coach, Mick Maroney that convinced him to have a crack at triathlon. With year 12 behind him, young Jake headed over to Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain with Jamie Turner’s squad to learn about the draft legal world of ITU Continental Cup, before eventually finding long course racing. With the help of Aussie IRONMAN legend Craig Alexander, in 2015 Jake threw himself in the deep end and headed to Boulder to continue his triathlon education on the US circuit.

“I spent three months in the US. I did a lot of training with Crowie, and he taught me the ins and outs of 70.3. He knows every aspect of it, and I was surprised how much he taught me and all the tips and tricks he gave me.”

A fifth at IRONMAN 70.3 Port Macquarie, second in 70.3 Mandurah and Western Sydney proved that the hard work was paying off, but it was IRONMAN 70.3 in Geelong where Jake finally got the result he was looking really.

“I was getting closer, and I was pretty determined to break through, and that is when I raced Geelong in February 2016 and had my first win at the National Championship. With the win at Geelong being at the National titles a lot of the sponsors came onboard, and it got pretty full on.”

Only Slowing Jake Down

Two weeks later Jake’s world was flipped upside down when he was hit by a garbage truck only 500m from home while riding back from the pool. His bike and right foot went underneath the rear wheels, and he ruptured two ligaments in his right ankle. With the pain, Jake thought he had broken his shin and that it was snapped in half and remembers picking up his leg to see if it was still straight.

Four weeks in a hospital, two weeks in a boot and Jake was given the okay to start back again…slowly. Following the doctor’s orders to the letter by May 2016, he was again headed Stateside and trying to make up lost ground in his quest to race the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships on the Sunshine Coast. Returning to Australia Jake was in the form of his life, but in a cruel twist of fate, only 16 hours before the event his world was again thrown into chaos.

“I was doing the final spin to see that the bike was ready to race in the morning. I remember every minute of the morning, lunch and getting the bike ready and then rolling out over Alexandra Headland and that is about it. I remember the first minutes of the ride, and then I got hit by the car and things flipped upside down. I have a month missing after that. It wasn’t until weeks later that I looked at my Garmin to see that the incident happened about 20 minutes into the ride. When I went from 40kmh to zero km/h.”

“I don’t have any recollection of hospital time, and when I got back home, I was just sitting in the lounge. It was all I was doing through the day. I had a fractured sternum and shoulder and several muscle tears through the neck and shoulders, and there was also brain bleeding and swelling in three different spots. The fractures are a six-week heal, but the Neurologist said he didn’t think I would be running again. He said we would give it four months, and you can try if you are desperate, but he wasn’t recommending that I try again. That wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear, and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else at that stage of my life, so I was going to try my hardest to get back to running or at least give it a go.”

“I was seeing speech therapists and occupational therapists and all the doctors. In the first session with the speech therapist, she came in, and she was quite shocked. She said, ‘Oh, you can talk.’ My speech wasn’t great, and my sentences were really jumbled and stop-start for the first couple of months. She said from what I have read happened to your brain, on paper, you shouldn’t be able to talk. So that was pretty scary to hear that I got that lucky.”

“I went through some pretty dark spots early on, where going to the kitchen was the most I could do all day. Going from 25 hours of training a week to zero was a bit of a shock and knowing that running might never happen again, I was pretty depressed at that stage and had pretty bad thoughts. I was lucky that I had my parents by my side the whole time, looking after me and helping me through it all. Without them, things would have been a lot different.”

For eight weeks Jake did nothing but then he embarked on another program to rebuild his body and confidence in the hope that he would one day get back to competing in the sport that he loved. Initially, it was the hydro pool to rebuild his strength, then a five-minute walk became a two and a half hour walk and eventually he was on a stationary trainer building up week by week. Four months after the incident his training miraculously started in earnest when he was able to run, ride and swim properly again.

Back racing in Geelong

IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong in February 2017 was his comeback race, and a fifth place in a strong field was the boost he needed. Similar results at IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder and Santa Cruz have helped rebuild his confidence and reboot his career and now Jake is determined to use the Noosa Triathlon as final hit out before IRONMAN 70.3 Western Sydney Asia Pacific Championships in November.

“After Santa Cruz, I made it to Vegas for a sponsorship commitment for Cervelo then took two weeks recovery and let the body reset. As soon as I got home, I got back into training and now have my eyes set on Noosa. I am looking forward to the draft free bike. Racing for half the time as a 70.3 I will be able to push 100 percent and see how long the body can last for. It will be a bit of fun.”

“Noosa is probably the most stacked race in Australia and the organisers put up a good prizemoney, so it encourages all the professionals in Australia to toe the line and have a crack. It is only a two and half hour drive for me so that is just nice and no plane flight required which is a bonus. Noosa will be a nice hit out and the perfect opportunity to use a bit of speed and see how the body comes down from the altitude.”

“I have spoken to plenty of people who have done it before and they love the race and the whole atmosphere of the weekend. I have heard that it is crazy busy but pretty good at the same time. So, I am looking forward to getting up there and getting amongst it,” he said with anticipation.

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Noosa Triathlon: The Big Guns Will Be In Town To Celebrate

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The 35th Noosa Triathlon Multi Sport Festival is shaping up to be the biggest yet, with the who’s who of Australian sport and some of the nation’s most recognisable faces heading to the Sunshine Coast to join in the birthday celebrations.

The five-day festival (1-5 November) features an ocean swim, a fun run, the Charity Golf Day and elite cycling and running events and culminates on Sunday 5 November with the Noosa Triathlon hosting more than 8,500 competitors, making it the world’s largest standard distance triathlon.

Headlining the Noosa Triathlon are key athletes from Australia’s Commonwealth Games triathlon team for 2018, Ashleigh Gentle and Jake Birtwhistle, defending champion Dan Wilson, plus Commonwealth Games hopefuls Aaron Royle, Ryan Bailie, Gillian Backhouse and Luke Willian.

The long-distance world is also well represented with Sarah Crowley fresh from her podium at the IRONMAN World Championships, IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Champion Josh Amberger, Jake Montgomery making his long-awaited Noosa debut, Liz Blatchford in her first race back as a new mum and two time World Duathlon Champion Felicity Sheedy-Ryan mixing it up with a swim.

Defending champ Ashleigh Gentle is shooting for Noosa title #5, and Dan Wilson is hoping to go back to back this year, but they are fully aware of the strength of the field assembled for the 35th anniversary year.

Four-time champ, Ashleigh Gentle has developed a real affinity with the Noosa over many years, and she can’t wait to get back this year.

“I’ve raced six times, and been up a couple more on top of that to watch and be part of the festival. I love the atmosphere. I love Queensland, and it is very special to come back to the race each year after spending so much time abroad. I love seeing familiar faces and being surrounded by so many other people who love triathlon. Noosa has always been really important to me. It’s the one I look forward to the most. I obviously want to do well, but there is a lot less pressure than the intensity of World Series races.”

“I would love to defend my title. I’m sure as always it will be a competitive field, but I’m looking forward to getting out there and going hard. Noosa Triathlon has been a big part of my career, and I am thrilled I can be a part of this milestone, although it only feels like yesterday we were celebrating the 30th year of Noosa,” she recalled.

Dan Wilson is a Noosa veteran, and he is hoping he can revisit the form that saw him dominate in 2016 and go out on a high note.

“I think this is around my 10th Noosa. I first came here in 2003 as a little junior. I’ve missed a few through injuries along the way, but always come back when I’m able. It is a bastion of Australia triathlon, and it is a ripping location, it is one of the ‘funnest’ races on tour. What more could you need?”

“I would obviously love to repeat last year’s result, but it also looks like it will probably be the best field we’ve ever seen at Noosa, so it’s going to be a tough ask. Noosa is always a special race, it is usually at or near the end of the season, so everyone is looking to finish the season strong at a fun race.”

“This year, Noosa will be even more special, I’m hanging up the suit at the end of this year, so it’ll be the last chance to go round at Noosa, and one of my last races ever, so I’m looking forward to really savouring the weekend,” Wilson said.

Aussie Olympian and two time Noosa champ Aaron Royle is pumped up and glad to back in Noosa looking attempting to keep his perfect Noosa record intact.

“I’ve raced Noosa twice and had two good wins there, which has been fantastic for myself in my career. I guess because of that, and the expectation to go there and win is greater with each year. I want to win again to make it three from three races, but that is always easier said than done. I’m sure there will be a handful of others saying that they also want to win.”

“I knew of the Noosa triathlon before I knew what triathlon really was, and certainly before I followed the sport. I think it was Channel 7 showing it back in the day and I remember thinking this looks pretty cool (before I even contemplated doing one myself).”

“For me, Noosa always signifies the end of my racing season, but with a race of this significances, I’ve never struggled to find motivation for this race. It’s the biggest domestic race on the calendar with so many legendary winners that have gone before, so it is easy to see why so many top-level athletes turn up each year,” Aaron said.

IRONMAN 70.3 specialist Jake Montgomery might be a Noosa debutante this year, but he is well aware of Noosa’s legendary status.

“I’ve been meaning to race Noosa for a few year’s now but have never been able to toe the line. I went there once a few years back for surfing but have never experienced the triathlon weekend.”

“Noosa is definitely the pinnacle race in Australia and one that everyone loves to put on their calendar. Not necessarily just the race but the whole weekend of event and atmosphere make it a must for many. Having not raced anything shorter than a 70.3 for the past three years it will be interesting to see how my body handles the faster racing and pushing myself over the shorter distance. I am mostly looking forward to the swim, any race with a beach start and ocean swim is a must for me.”

“Nearing the end of a hard year it will be a good hit out to finish off. While it’s still a competitive race, it will also be a lot of fun catching up with friends, sponsors and watching the other events before the triathlon. Being one of Australia’s oldest triathlons, it is now also the biggest in the country with sold out entries and days of multisport events. It attracts some of the best athletes in the world and organisers of the event have the weekend dialled in,” Jake said.

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Ironman World Championship: Europeans Dominate and Records Fall

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Daniela Ryf of Switzerland celebrates after winning the IRONMAN World Championship on October 14, 2017 in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

European dominance of the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona has continued but not as the pre-race script had been written.

While Switzerland’s “Angry Bird” Daniela Ryf made it three Kona victories, it was not defending champion Jan Frodeno’s day, with the men’s championship title transferring to fellow countryman Patrick Lange.

Coming from a nine-minute deficit off the bike, Lange revelled in near perfect conditions to write himself into the IRONMAN history books to destroy the course record set in 2011 by Australian Craig Alexander, with a 2:39:59 marathon that helped deliver a total race time of 8:01:40.

In a record-breaking day, Aussie Cameron Wurf won the battle of the bikers taking control of the race at the 110km mark and leading into the bike/run transition to set a new bike course record of 4:12:54, more than five minutes faster than Normann Stadler’s 2006 record.

Wurf surrendered his lead early on in the run, as Lionel Sanders (CAN and Sebastian Kienle (GER) made their presence felt, but very quickly all eyes turned to a charging Patrick Lange who had moved into third at 21km of the marathon intent on reducing the six-minute deficit to the leading Sanders.

Lange was on a mission and keen to improve on his third place last year and with 5km to go on the run he flew past Sanders, heading for town and the adoring crowd lining the run course and the finish line on Ali’i Drive.

“It’s everything I ever dreamed of. Oh, my god, I cannot believe it,” Lange said. “I always, always, always since I was a child dreamed of having this crown. From time to time you think someone is hitting with a baseball beneath your knees and you just want to drop out. I had to fight, I had to fight so hard,” Lange said at the finish line.

A fading Sanders managed to hold off the hard-charging David McNamee (GBR) for second with Kienle and James Cunnama (ZAF) crossing the finish to take fourth and fifth.

Swiss miss Daniela Ryf joined an exclusive club at the IRONMAN World Championships, recording her third win in Kona with a very skilful and strategic victory that while remarkably effective, lacked her usual flair and total dominance.

Ryf didn’t have it all her way, with Lucy Charles dominating the swim and majority of the bike before Ryf decided that enough was enough. Ryf wrestled the lead off the Brit and charged home with the fastest run of the day, putting a nine-minute gap to her chasers by the end of the 42.2km run.

“It was the hardest I had to ever fight for the win. I’m so happy to turn it around today,” a more emotional than usual Ryf said at the finish line.

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Ironman World Championship: Patrick Lange Smashes Course Record and Daniela Ryf Earns Third Straight Win

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Daniela Ryf of Switzerland celebrates after winning the IRONMAN World Championship. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Patrick Lange (DEU) and Daniela Ryf (CHE) earned championship titles with momentous performances today at the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i. Lange passed Lionel Sanders (CAN) in the final three miles, clocking in at 8:01:40 and establishing a new course record (formerly 8:03:56 by Craig Alexander, 2011). Ryf earned her third consecutive crown with a time of 8:50:47, joining an exclusive “three-peat” winners’ circle alongside the newest IRONMAN Hall of Fame inductee Chrissie Wellington and Natascha Badmann, Dave Scott, Paula Newby-Fraser and Mark Allen. Over 2,350 athletes from 66 countries, regions and territories on six continents started the IRONMAN World Championship race on the Island of Hawai`i in the toughest one-day endurance event in the world.

Patrick Lange of Germany putting the hurt on as he runs to victory and a new course record during the IRONMAN World Championship. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Lange, who raced in only his fourth IRONMAN to-date, had an incredible ascension after having been 17th out of the swim in today’s race. Shortly after the swim, a pack of strong cyclists including Sanders, Sebastian Kienle (GER) and Cameron Wurf (AUS) broke away from the group. Wurf would sail into T2, shattering the 2006 bike course record held by Normann Stadler (4:18:23) with a 4:12:54 split. Sanders and Kienle also smashed the record with 4:14:19 and 4:14:57 split times, respectively. On the run, Sanders took a quick lead as Kienle fell into second. Meanwhile, Lange moved from 11th place to a steady third-place position by the half-marathon marker. Lange then made a decisive pass at mile 23 on the run, as he moved ahead of Sanders to take a hold of the lead, finishing strong in first place. With a 2:39:59 run split, he was only 14 seconds away from breaking the run course record he set last year (2:39:45).

Sanders hung on for second place, ultimately concluding his race with a time of 8:04:07. David McNamee (GBR), Kienle and James Cunnama (ZAF) rounded out the top five.

McNamee had the second fastest run split of the race with 2:45:30, helping him clinch a third-place podium finish by more than two minutes ahead of Kienle.

Defending champion and Olympic Gold Medalist Jan Frodeno dug deep after back spasms slowed him first to a complete stop and then run/walk pace, mustering enough strength to finish the race.

Lucy Charles (GBR) led the professional women out of the water with a 48:48 split, missing the course record by only five seconds. After a speedy transition, Charles took the lead on the bike and had an approximately a five-and-a-half-minute lead over defending champ Daniela Ryf (CHE), Sarah Crowley (AUS) and Annabel Luxford (AUS). This pace remained consistent down the Queen Ka`ahumanu Highway until Ryf attacked, making up over five minutes over the final 25 miles of the bike, which positioned her at the front of the pack. Ryf then greatly extended her lead on the run, with Charles, Crowley and Heather Jackson (USA), fighting for the remaining podium positions.

Lucy Charles of Great Britain cools down during the IRONMAN World Championship on October 14, 2017 in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Ryf took first at 8:50:47, almost exactly four minutes off of her own 2016 course record time of 8:46:46. Calling on her epic running abilities, the Swiss star claimed her third successive IRONMAN World Championship victory.

Charles, a Kona rookie, maintained her second-place position throughout most of the run and ultimately to the finish. Crowley rounded out the top three in her second-ever appearance at the IRONMAN World Championship, finishing her race exactly two minutes behind Charles. Jackson and Kaisa Sali (FIN) rounded out the top five women.

 

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Ironman World Championship: The Best Run Images from Kona 2017

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It’s never an easy day out when racing any Ironman race let alone the World Championship. Then add in some hot and humid weather and you really have a very tough set of conditions.

Here are some of the amazing images that were captured during today’s race.

Lucy Charles trying to remain as cool as possible during the run leg. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Lionel Sanders of Canada runs through an aid station and takes on extra fluids and also trying to cool himself. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Patrick Lange of Germany celebrates before crossing the finish line to win the IRONMAN World Championship and setting a course record of 8:01.39 beating Craig Alexander’s 2011 record of 8:03.56. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Age group athletes out on the run course. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

John Joseph McGowan of the United States showing us his guns and ink work. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Unfortunately Jan Frodeno of Germany wasn’t able to really defend his title today due to an injury. He eventually finishes 35th. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

The sun sets on Kailua Kona, Hawaii and competitors continue their journey for their personal success. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Daniela Ryf nearly the final few kilometres during the Ironman World Championship 2017, (Photo: Jesper Gronnemark/Red Bull Content Pool)

Kaisa Sali of Finland celebrates in the finish chute after finishing fifth during the IRONMAN World Championship. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Patrick Lange of Germany putting the hurt on as he runs to victory and a new course record during the IRONMAN World Championship. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Runners compete as the sun sets in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Lucy Charles of Great Britain runs through the barren landscape and eventually to coming 2nd. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

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