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Kona 2013 Pro Men’s Preview

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Kona-Coverage

The 2013 Ironman World Championship has slightly more unknown quantities this year with the phenomenal bike strength of Sebastian Kienle coming in to play along with the unknown (at Kona) ability of Kiwi ITU great Bevan Docherty and the early year form of Eneko Llanos also looming large. Throw in Andreas Raelert, Dirk Bockel, and a host of other world class triathletes and as always this race, like the Melbourne Cup, is almost impossible to pick.

Our dark horse for a podium is this year is Bart Aernouts. He had the fastest run last year and has been very quiet this year. Too quiet. If he can come out of the swim close to the front then he will be someone to watch. The former duathlete has a very strong bike/run combo. We bumped in to Bart today and he is looking relaxed was very coy about being a dark horse. Trying to fly under the radar.

Sebastian Kienle

Sebastian Kienle

Speaking with a few of the top pros and there is no surprise that a lot of the money is on Kienle to take out this race with Jacobs second and Docherty a dark horse for third. Also mentioned in the same breath is Llanos and Andreas Raelert. This seems to be what their fellow pros are predicting. Frederik Van Leirde, Faris Al Sultan, Andy Potts and a host of others will all be fighting for one of the top ten spots. There are too many to go in to detail.  (2012 Top 20 finishers and splits below 2013 start list)

The recent Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast and Ironman 70.3 World Championship have shown that two of the race favourites, current Ironman World Champion Pete Jacobs and current 70.3 World Champion Sebastian Kienle are in scintillating form. Jacobs showed in Australia that he is quite possibly at the best form so far of his career and we know that he will be stronger, faster and more experienced than he was when he won the world title this time last year. This will have his competitors talking quietly behind closed doors about the race strategy they need to put together to try to nullify Jacob’s strengths. This could be hard as he is stronger than he has ever been.

Last year Jacobs chose to swim with the pack, ride with the lead pack then use his ‘best of class’ Ironman marathon run to win. His final run time last year did not show what he was capable of as he knew he had the race won with a few miles to go and chose to enjoy the atmosphere as he came back in to town. This wasn’t to show any disrespect to his fellow competitors. He simply wanted to enjoy his first ever Ironman World Champion title with the people who were there to watch this amazing race. This year however he will have the shadow of Kienle looming larger

Pete Jacobs at Kona in 2012

Pete Jacobs at Kona in 2012

on the bike. With Kienle’s bike power being one of the best in the game many are picking that Jacobs will swim harder than last year to try and put more time in to Kienle. We don’t think this will be the case. We saw a huge lift in Jacobs bike power recently at the Sunshine Coast 70.3 and there is no doubt that he will be even stronger now. He will swim conservatively (swimming hard uses a lot of energy), ride very strongly and trust his run to bring him home for his second world title. Don’t be surprised to see Jacobs compete strongly with Kienle on the bike if he feels it is the right thing to do. We think Jacobs could still give up to 10mins to Kienle and win but doubt that it will be as big a gap as that if any.

We have only seen the Kiwi Bevan Docherty race one Ironman and he did it with style. At Ironman New Zealand this year not only did he win in his first ever tilt at this distance he also broke the course record. His race was near text book perfect in New Zealand. Since then the Kiwi has been focusing 100% on Kona. With Docherty’s experience you can guarantee that he will have left no stone unturned, his homework would have been completed on time and his potential for receiving 100% in the exam this Saturday will be hard to match. As we said though, Docherty is unproven at Kona and as many before him have learnt this Saturday is a completely different ball game.

Clayton Fettell will be up against the best field he has ever faced over this distance. It will be interesting to see if he has the ability to swim with the chase pack and not surge ahead, ride strongly but not to the point where he leaves his run legs out on the bike and put in a solid run for a top finish. As we have seen in the past Fettell seems to know one way to race these big races. He impressed his fellow competitors in Melbourne this year with Craig Alexander commenting after the race that for a 26 year old Fettell showed incredible strength on the bike when he rode with Alexander, Llanos and Marino Van Hoenacker. He struggled in the run however as he did again at Ironman Cairns. It is early days for the 26 year old over the full distance and is only a matter of time before his run times drop and he becomes one of the world’s best over the distance. The one thing with Fettell is that he has stamped his name on the world stage by leading from the front and leaving few questions unanswered.

The one thing we hear about Fettell is that when training with stablemate Tim Berkel (one of the faster runners over the full distance) Fettell has no problem keeping up with Berkel and even raising the bar one level.

Craig Alexander showed during his USA season that there is still plenty of speed and strength left in him. Although Las Vegas saw him slightly off the pace on the bike. His power seemed to be down slightly but he still ran a world class half marathon. Crowie knows that his time at Kona at this level is nearing the end but this year he is more determined than ever to finish the race on a high. Last year we saw his class and respect for the race as he dug deep to run the marathon and finish the race after not having the ride he wanted. This is why people have so much respect for the three time Ironman World Champion.

It is hard to say too much else about Crowie that hasn’t already been said. He is one of the best known names in the game, is playing his cards very close to his chest and only himself and his team know where he is at.

Luke Bell is another Australian who will be here to run in to at least a top five position. As with everyone racing Bell is up against a massive field of potential top five finishers. Bell is one of the better swimmers in the game and after winning Ironman Australia and Ironman Mont-Tremblant this year is in some of the best form of his life.

Fellow Australian and Luke, Luke McKenzie won Ironman Cairns this year and will be once again one of the strongest riders in the field at Kona. With his turn around in form this year we should see a better performance than his 24th place last year. McKenzie has made some big changes this year and has seen the benefits as he races faster than he has in recent times.

Speaking to Chris Legh yesterday and also other pros the one thing we hear more and more from many of them is that there is more focus on simplifying racing and training with particular emphasis on quality over quantity.

 

BIB # Last Name  First Name  Country Category
1 Jacobs Pete AUS MPRO
2 Kienle Sebastian DEU MPRO
3 Llanos Eneko ESP MPRO
4 Raelert Andreas DEU MPRO
5 Alexander Craig AUS MPRO
6 Van Lierde Frederik BEL MPRO
7 O’Donnell Timothy USA MPRO
8 Potts Andy USA MPRO
9 Aernouts Bart BEL MPRO
10 Diederen Bas NLD MPRO
11 Bell Luke AUS MPRO
12 Johnsen Jimmy DNK MPRO
14 Docherty Bevan NZL MPRO
15 Al-sultan Faris DEU MPRO
17 Vabrousek Petr CZE MPRO
18 Marsh Brandon USA MPRO
19 Schildknecht Ronnie CHE MPRO
20 Russell Matthew USA MPRO
21 Jammaer Bert BEL MPRO
22 Raphael Jan DEU MPRO
23 Zeebroek Axel BEL MPRO
24 Schifferle Mike CHE MPRO
25 Bracht Timo DEU MPRO
26 Bittner Per DEU MPRO
27 Berger Dominik AUT MPRO
28 Schmid Stefan DEU MPRO
29 Rapp Jordan USA MPRO
30 Amey Paul GBR MPRO
31 Plese David SVN MPRO
32 Dellow David AUS MPRO
33 Rana Ivan ESP MPRO
34 Reichel Horst DEU MPRO
35 Halksworth Daniel GBR MPRO
36 Boecherer Andi DEU MPRO
37 Amorelli Igor BRA MPRO
38 Gomes Pedro PRT MPRO
39 Ritter Christian DEU MPRO
40 Kriat Maxim RUS MPRO
41 Viennot Cyril FRA MPRO
42 Hoffman Ben USA MPRO
43 Tollakson Tj USA MPRO
44 Butterfield Tyler BMU MPRO
45 Gerlach Thomas USA MPRO
46 Albert Marko EST MPRO
47 Bockel Dirk LUX MPRO
48 Csoke Balazs HUN MPRO
49 Mckenzie Luke AUS MPRO
50 Mikelson Ian USA MPRO
51 Legh Christopher AUS MPRO
52 Starykowicz Andrew USA MPRO
53 Fettell Clayton AUS MPRO
54 Cotter Ben CAN MPRO
55 Cunnama James ZAF MPRO

 

2012 Ironman World Championship top 20 results

Name Country Swim Bike Run Finish Div. Rank Overall Rank
Jacobs, Pete AUS 00:51:28 04:35:15 02:48:05 08:18:37 1 1
Raelert, Andreas GER 00:55:17 04:36:34 02:47:23 08:23:40 2 2
Van Lierde, Frederik BEL 00:51:36 04:35:25 02:52:49 08:24:09 3 3
Kienle, Sebastian GER 00:55:21 04:33:23 02:54:24 08:27:08 4 4
Al-Sultan, Faris ARE 00:51:39 04:35:53 02:56:49 08:28:33 5 5
Bracht, Timo GER 00:53:45 04:37:16 02:55:36 08:30:57 6 6
Potts, Andy USA 00:50:32 04:43:52 02:53:18 08:31:45 7 7
O’Donnell, Timothy USA 00:51:37 04:44:15 02:53:59 08:33:28 8 8
Dellow, David AUS 00:51:33 04:40:27 02:59:02 08:35:02 9 9
Bockel, Dirk LUX 00:52:30 04:34:17 03:05:47 08:36:21 10 10
Aernouts, Bart BEL 01:00:15 04:45:11 02:47:10 08:37:31 11 11
Alexander, Craig AUS 00:51:35 04:44:44 03:00:29 08:40:49 12 12
Rapp, Jordan USA 00:59:07 04:40:02 02:59:27 08:42:49 13 13
Jurkiewicz, Jeremy FRA 00:51:31 04:52:26 02:56:39 08:44:45 14 14
Zeebroek, Axel BEL 00:51:41 04:42:09 03:07:00 08:45:12 15 15
Clerbout, Bruno BEL 00:55:22 04:55:32 02:51:54 08:46:44 16 16
Guillaume, Romain FRA 00:51:41 04:36:10 03:15:32 08:47:54 17 17
Viennot, Cyril FRA 00:55:23 04:48:25 03:00:51 08:48:45 18 18
Schildknecht, Ronnie SWI 00:55:23 04:38:57 03:11:22 08:50:18 19 19
Russell, Matthew USA 01:08:01 04:46:35 02:51:23 08:50:21 20 20

 

 

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

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USA Triathlon Announces 2018 Splash & Dash Youth Aquathlon Series Calendar

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USA Triathlon today announced that its Splash & Dash Youth Aquathlon Series is set to return for the seventh consecutive year, with more than 55 swim-run events planned in cities across the United States this season.

The series, launched in 2012 with 30 events, is designed to introduce youth athletes between the ages of 7 and 15 to the multisport lifestyle through the fast-growing discipline of aquathlon. With a focus on participation and fun, rather than competition, many of the events are not timed.

At all Splash & Dash events, participants ages 7-10 will complete a 100-meter pool swim and a 1-kilometre run, while athletes ages 11-15 will complete a 200m pool swim and a 2k run. All participants receive a t-shirt, custom finisher’s medal and giveaways from the Boy Scouts of America and the USA Swimming Foundation, both partners of the series.

The 2018 season kicks off in mid-March and runs through October, with events hosted in each of USA Triathlon’s six Regions. USA Triathlon partnered with race directors, community centres, coaches, clubs, and parks and recreation departments to solidify the slate of more than 55 events, a record high for the series. USA Triathlon staff will also host the annual Colorado Springs, Colorado, event, which is presented by SafeSplash Swim School, on Aug. 19.

“With the seventh iteration of the USA Triathlon Splash & Dash Youth Aquathlon Series, we will introduce more kids than ever to multisport in a single season,” said Brian D’Amico, USA Triathlon Director of Events. “Increasing youth participation is a major focus not only for USA Triathlon but for the industry as a whole through the recently-launched Time to Tri initiative. We look forward to working with each of the hosts on this year’s Splash & Dash calendar to make the 2018 series the most successful yet.”

The Splash & Dash series saw record participation in 2017, with 2,250 youth athletes competing in 50 events nationwide.

Visit usatriathlon.org/splashanddash for the latest calendar and complete information on the series. The series calendar and locations are subject to change.

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St. Anthony’s Triathlon Announced as 2018 USAT Regional Championship

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USA Triathlon (USAT) has selected St. Anthony’s Triathlon as a 2018 Regional Championship Race. The 35th annual St. Anthony’s Triathlon will take place on April 29, 2018 with approximately 3,000 athlete participants competing over the race weekend.

As a USAT Regional Championship site, registered USAT athletes can qualify from the St. Anthony’s Triathlon for the 2018 Olympic-Distance National Championships in Cleveland, Ohio to be held on August 11, 2018. In order to qualify for the National Championships, competitors must finish in the top 33 percent or top five (whichever is greater) competitors per their respective age groups. In addition, this year’s St. Anthony’s Triathlon will also serve as the USAT Southeastern Regional Championship.

“We are proud to have been selected again as a USAT Regional Championship race,” said Susan Daniels, race director for St. Anthony’s Triathlon. “This event hosts some of the best athletes in the world, and we are honoured to offer triathletes the opportunity to qualify for the USAT National Championship on our St. Petersburg course.”

The St. Anthony’s Triathlon is also making some exciting changes to the event by extending the Sports and Fitness Expo from a two-day to three-day event and holding all Triathlon events in one park instead of two. The Sports and Fitness Expo will take place from April 27-29 St. Petersburg’s waterfront Vinoy Park. “Extending our sports and fitness expo gives our competitors more opportunities to check out the latest race gear and moving to one location, makes it more convenient for them,” said Daniels.

For kids and novice adults, the Meek & Mighty Triathlon occurs on April 28, and the main Triathlon, for both Olympic and Sprint distance races, runs on April 29.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Women’s results

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

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

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

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

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

 

Men’s results

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

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

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

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

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

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Bill Chaffey Throws Caution to the Wind in Commonwealth Games Countdown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Challenge Wanaka: Javier Gomez and Annabel Luxford crowned 2018 champions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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