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Mario Mola and Anne Haug head the fields at this weekend’s ITU Mooloolaba World Cup

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ITU Mooloolaba, World Cup, March 12: Australian triathletes with their eyes on the Commonwealth Games know they face a step up in class with a host of big name international’s sure to keep them honest in Saturday’s opening ITU World Cup race of the season in Mooloolaba.

Big performances in front of the selectors will be duly noted with the countdown to Glasgow on in earnest, even though it is a sprint distance (750m swim; 20km bike; 5km run) in what could well develop into a frantic finish.

The ITU Mooloolaba Elite Women will kick-start proceedings at 12:00 noon with the Elite Men at 3:00pm while on Sunday the Oceania Cup and Age Group race over the Olympic Distance will start at 6:35am.

Saturday’s men’s race will be headed by Spain’s world ranked number three and one of the real success stories of 2013, in Mario Mola and sees six of the top 11 in the world including Australia’s early Commonwealth Games nomination in Aaron Royle in the 70-strong field representing 28 countries.

The 24-year-old, Mola from Palma de Mallorca finished third in last year’s ITU World Triathlon Series (WTS) to fellow countryman and Olympic silver medallist Javier Gomez and 2012 World Champion, Olympic bronze medallist Jonathan Brownlee.

He will be joined by vastly improving South African Richard Murray, who finished fifth in last year’s WTS, Portugal’s Joao Silva (6th), New Zealand-based Frenchman Laurent Vidal (7th), Switzerland’s Sven Riederer (8th) and Australia’s highest ranked athlete in 2013 in Royle (11th).

Royle and Australia’s rejuvenated 23-year-old Ryan Fisher, who has made the successful move from Brisbane to Melbourne to join the Danielle Stefano squad at the VIS, staged a thrilling shoulder-to-shoulder tussle after an agonising 10km run in Devonport a fortnight ago over the Olympic Distance Oceania Championship.

Each trying to claim the inside running in the closing stages, it was the more experienced Royle who edged in front but Fisher heralded his arrival with an eye-catching performance, just two weeks after his impressive victory in the Oceania Sprint Championship in Elwood.

“I’m really happy with how I’m going,” said Fisher, who returns home to Queensland to race in front of his home crowd.

“I have certainly made some improvements from where I was last year and the race in Devonport would have seen me well back in previous years – but the move to Melbourne has given me a new direction in the sport.”

And although he tries not to focus on any other athletes, especially Australians, Fisher admitted if there’s someone you want to finish second to it’s Royle.

“He’s an Under 23 World Champion and all of last year he raced well above expectations; he’s a world class athlete, a young athlete to be inspired to compete with and to race hard with. That’s what it was like in Devonport and Mooloolaba will see the addition of a host of internationals – you want to come to races like Devonport and Mooloolaba and race the best there is.”

Others to keep an eye on will be Royle’s training partner Ryan Bailie and Fisher’s fellow VIS athlete, Peter Kerr, who was first out of the water in Devonport – expect him to be pushing towards the front in the Mooloolaba surf as well.

Meanwhile the women’s race will see five of the world’s top ten – led by world number three and 2013 Mooloolaba World Cup winner Anne Haug (Germany), Australian-based American Gwen Jorgensen, New Zealand Olympian Andrea Hewitt and Australia’s big two Emma Moffatt and Ashleigh Gentle.

Moffatt has not raced since her 70.3 success in Geelong but loves the Mooloolaba course which will see a 750m surf swim; 4 x 5km laps on the bike out and back along Mooloolaba Esplanade and 4 x 1.25km run laps out and back, also along Mooloolaba Esplanade.

But like Royle, she too has secured her early nomination onto her first Commonwealth Games team to go with her two Olympic Games in Beijing and London.

“It is so good to have that Commonwealth Games nomination sewn up which allows me to map out my season leading up to the Commonwealth Games which is a major focus for me,” said Moffatt, who will attempt to become the first Australian triathlete to contest three Olympics in Rio in 2016.

And Moffatt will relish the opportunity for a hit-out against some of the sport’s biggest names in Haug, Jorgensen, Hewitt and Australian team mate Gentle, who knows that a good race in Mooloolaba could well go a long way to securing her place on the team for Glasgow.

Other Australians in the field are ITU Under 23 World Champion Charlotte McShane, who said she was happy to get a race under her belt in Devonport a fortnight ago – the Oceania Championship over the Olympic distance.

“I’m glad that’s out of the way – always good to get that first race of the season done,” said McShane.

“I definitely found it very tough, but it was a good wake up for the body. It was nice to be back racing again and it helped me find that extra bit of motivation that I think only racing can do – next stop Mooloolaba.”

Moffatt, Gentle and McShane will be joined by two of Australia’s rising stars in Gillian Backhouse and Jaz Hedgeland – who have been two headline acts in the early season domestic races – particularly in Elwood, Brighton and Devonport.

Backhouse, who is now firmly entrenched in the Stephen Moss QAS program in Brisbane, notched wins over the Oceania and Australian Championship Sprint Distance Championship in atrocious conditions in Elwood and backed up a fortnight later to take the Oceania OTU Olympic distance Championship in perfect conditions in Devonport.

She joined team Moss to train alongside London Olympian Emma Jackson and the move has benefitted both athletes, with Backhouse adding an improved run leg to her already established swim-bike.

WA wunderkind Jaz Hedgeland is the older of the Hedgeland’s “Sister Act” who along with younger sibling Kira, have notched two quinellas at Brighton in the Australian Championship and Devonport against the Kiwis in the race for the Oceania title

But for Jaz, this race is a major step up in her career, which will again see her named on the Australian Junior Team for this year’s ITU World Championships in Edmonton.

Sunday morning’s Oceania Cup will see the likes of leading Australian juniors and Under23s Jake Birtwhistle and Matt Baker tackle their second Olympic Distance in two weeks in the Men’s Field of 35 while former Surf Lifesaving Ironwoman Kelly Ann Perkins – second Australian home behind Backhouse in Elwood – step up for her Olympic Distance debut in the Women’s Field of 11

COURSE

SWIM: (Number of laps: 1 lap)
Beach mass start – Ocean; (Water temperature: Average 26.5)

BIKE: (Number of laps: 4 laps at 5km per lap)
Out and back clockwise ride along Mooloolaba Esplanade and Alexandra Parade. Gradual climb along Mooloolaba Esplanade from transition to Buderim Avenue intersection before descent onto Alexandra Parade. Sharp turn point at the corner of Maroubra Street before inbound journey along Alexandra Parade. Sharp technical dog leg turn before downhill descent onto Beach Terrace to transition.

RUN: (Number of laps:4 Laps at approximately 1.25km per lap)
Out and back clockwise run along Mooloolaba Esplanade and Alexandra Parade. Gradual climb along Mooloolaba Esplanade from transition to Meta Street intersection avoiding the steep climb on Alexandra Parade. Water station is located approximately 30 meters after the run turn at approximately 800 meters from transition. Athletes will pass this location 4 times.

Follow the ITU Mooloolaba World Cup race live on twitter @triathlonlive.

 

 

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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Major League Triathlon Releases World Class 2018 Rosters

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Major League Triathlon is proud to unveil their 2018 rosters for the 8 Pro teams competing in the league.  MLT rosters consist of 65+ of the World’s best professional triathletes for the 2018 season. MLT released the full list of athletes on their website this morning: https://majorleaguetri.com/teams/

“Mixed Team Relay (the format of racing that MLT specializes in) getting into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has certainly been a game changer for Major League Triathlon.” Said Daniel Cassidy, Chief Executive Officer of MLT. “We will have some of the top athletes from the USA, Canada, Mexico and Australia competing with us this year and our host cities will be treated to some of the best racing in the sport.”

The third-year Professional league will make stops in:

  • MLT AC: Atlantic City, NJ – July 21st
  • MLT Vail Valley: Avon, CO – August 4th
  • MLT Tempe: Tempe, AZ – September 22nd
  • MLT Charlotte: Charlotte, NC – October 6th

Below is just a small snapshot of the incredible talent joining MLT in 2018. A full list of athletes and teams can be found here: https://majorleaguetri.com/teams/

  • Ben Kanute – Carolina Gliders
  • Lindsey Jerdonek –Carolina Gliders
  • Charlotte McShane – Gold Coast Tritons
  • Aaron Royle – Gold Coast Tritons
  • Eric Lagerstrom– San Diego Stingrays
  • Taylor Spivey – San Diego Stingrays
  • Dominika Jamnicky – Toronto Freeze
  • Jason Wilson – Toronto Freeze
  • Tyler Mislawchuk –Arizona Kingsnakes
  • Joanna Brown – Arizona Kingsnakes
  • Eli Hemming – Atlantic City Waves
  • Vittoria Lopes – Atlantic City Waves
  • Paula Findlay – Colorado Peaks
  • Cam Dye – Colorado Peaks
  • Rene Tomlin – Florida Sun
  • John O’Neill – Florida Sun

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Commonwealth Games Duo Matt Hauser and Luke Willian Up the Pace at the Gold Coast Triathlon

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Australian Commonwealth Games team members Luke Willian and Matt Hauser put on a display of speed and power running and riding, thrilling the crowd and letting everyone know they are on track for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April.

The pair didn’t have it all their own way with Brisbane athlete (and Willian’s training partner) Luke Burns keeping them honest and announcing himself as a talent to watch in 2018.

The Luke Harrop Memorial has always been a favourite race for Willian and his passion for racing on the Gold Coast hasn’t diminished, stamping his authority from the gun.

“I am really happy and it is nice to get the win for sure, especially in such a hot field. They pushed me all day but I was happy to get over the top in the end and get the win. When I found out it was a duathlon nothing really changed. The processes are exactly the same and we train for all these occasions. I knew I could do it and I ran well here last year so I was confident. It didn’t really change much about the race. The best guys were still at the front.”

“I probably went out a little too hard but I wanted to test the waters and see if anyone wanted to come with me. Sometimes in a duathlon it all just stays together on the first run, so I just wanted to string them out and put a bit more pressure on, so it didn’t just come down to a big bunch on the bike. I wanted to make it a bit more like a triathlon, where the swim strings things out.”

“There was a group of about 10-12 on the bike rolling around in good pace and we kept the chase pack away. Onto the run I was second out of transition. Matt had a go at the first turn around and made it three guys and I had a crack at the half way turn around and it was pretty much just me from then on,” he said.

Willian said he has pulled up really well after what was the first run, in a race situation, this season.

“There was pressure in the run and the pressure of a National Championship but I am feeling great. It was good to be starting to feel fast and it is a nice confidence booster moving into the next block of training, where we will really wind it up. I was delighted how many people came out and watched, the crowd was deep and come Games time it’s going to be massive and it is really exciting to see and have the spotlight on our sport,” he said.

Matt Hauser didn’t let the change of format phase him and the World Junior champion turned in another impressive performance justifying his Commonwealth Games selection.

“We found out the night before it was going to be a duathlon and my roommate and I looked at each other and it was ‘Oh well, stuff happens, move on and get on with it’. That is what we did. Had an early wake up at about 3.30am, headed down to race site. I was feeling confident in my run and I ended up having a good race.”

“The pace was on from the get-go. Luke Willian sprinted from the start and everyone was chasing him for a while and then a group of about 10 of us solidified at the front. I tried to get out of T1 quickly and had a gap for a while but got pulled back. That was just me trying to test the legs out. Even if it was a triathlon I still would have tried to get out early and see what everyone had.”

“We worked together on the bike and I got off the bike and was running with a few boys that I train with and the Brisbane boys Luke Willian and Luke Burns. Out of the top turn, I accelerated but the two Lukes were both with me but eventually, Luke Willian split us both up.”

“The way my training volume has been with the niggles that I have had, I am okay to come second in a quality field like that. I am really happy and it is a good step forward for me. The legs are sorer than if I had done a triathlon, but it was a very positive race for me. I think I executed the processes well, ran well and certainly felt strong on the bike. So they are all good signs heading into April and my next few races.”

“It is only onwards and upwards from here and I will start to increase the volume and intensity. ITU Mooloolaba will be a great hit out and the field that is assembling is world class and will be similar to the Comm Games field. I won’t leave Queensland until the Games now, so I will be right at home and ready to go. It was an amazing atmosphere out here and it will only be tenfold come April,” Hauser said.

Emma Jeffcoat winner of the 2018 Gold Coast Triathlon.

In the women’s race Emma Jeffcoat scored a welcome National title despite losing her favourite swim leg with the change to the duathlon format. Backing up from her win at the Oceania Cup, the Sydney based former surf lifesaver didn’t have it all her own way. Pushed to the limit from the gun, Emma hung tough and scored a welcome victory setting her up for good training block in preparation for her tilt at ITU Mooloolaba in March.

“It was good to go back to back. I wanted to show that I could back up and even without the swim, my favourite part. That is racing. It could happen at any level, the same rules apply, you’ve got to be adaptable and get on with it.”

“Some really strong competition, in the U23’s, which is really exciting. Great to have those girls push me along. But there is no rest for the wicked, straight back into training. I will have next weekend off racing and then get ready for Mooloolaba World Cup,” she said.

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Dylan Rock Lost a Bet but Gained So Much More

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There are a million and one reasons for starting your triathlon career and every one of them is totally valid and makes perfect sense (at the time). But former cyclist Dylan Rock has one of the most interesting reasons for turning to the world of swim/ride and run.

Fourteen years ago, he lost a bet.

“It all happened because many years ago I lost a bet to a friend of mine Lisa Flint that I could beat her over a 1km time trial. I was an elite cyclist and she was an open/pro triathlete and a runner but little did I know that eventually, Lisa would go on to represent Australia in the marathon in the New Delhi Commonwealth Games.”

Lisa’s sub-three minute kilometre was just too quick for Dylan so, she won and he had to enter his first ever triathlon.

“Ironically my first race was the Luke Harrop Memorial triathlon and being a cyclist I thought it would be easy, just turn up and do it. I didn’t even think to take goggles. Lucky for me triathletes are amazing people. A man on the start line took pity on me and had his wife run to the car and get his spare pair for me, just to make sure my day went well.”

“I was fourth last in my age group out of the water and first off the bike and I ran home in fifth place. I immediately I knew that these where my people and that kind stranger and his family are still good friends now.”

“From there I was hooked and I changed sports but still love the bike leg the most,” he reflected.

Since that fateful day on the Gold Coast, Dylan has gotten a touch more serious in his approach to his triathlon and over the years has competed in every distance, including six IRONMAN, and 29 IRONMAN 70.3 plus countless standard distance races and sprints.

Dylan’s involvement in triathlon got even more serious eight years ago after he took up coaching and established a triathlon and cycling speciality shop on the Gold Coast called Vital Cycles with a full indoor training centre for cycling and running.

Dylan is looking forward to getting back into racing after a tough few years away from the sport and the Luke Harrop Memorial is a nice warm-up for his plans to do IRONMAN 70.3 Port Macquarie in May.

“In 2015-2016 I lost five friends to suicide and it was a very hard time for friends and family. I fell into depression and stopped training for a while but with the help of my wife, my close friends, family and my physiologist I regained my drive for life.”

“Having gone through that period I felt like had to try and do something to help raise awareness for this very important but prickly subject. So with help from some friends, we started a charity ride called Chapter 10. We rode from Southport on the Gold Coast to Coolum on the Sunshine Coast in a day, 240kms to help raise money and awareness for Beyond Blue.”

“This year on 4 August, ‘Chapter 10’ will be riding again for the local charity Head Space that deals with youth mental health issues and TYPO (Take Your Pineapples Out) a suicide awareness charity that main goal is to get people talking about suicide and reaching out to each other for help.”

“We will be riding from Vital Cycles in Labrador to Mooloolaba which is about 200kms in a day and we are opening up spots for riders to join us again. All the info will be available on the ‘Chapter 10 the ride home’ Facebook page or people can just come in store to find out more.”

Dylan said the ‘Chapter 10’ rides and the amazing people he keeps meeting in the sport of triathlon have given him back the motivation to train again.

“The Luke Harrop Memorial is one race really looking forward to and I am hoping to get the kick I need to get back to IRONMAN racing. I know the amazing atmosphere at the Gold Coast Triathlon and other competitors will help me remember why I love racing and training,” he said.

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Commonwealth Games Pair return for Luke Harrop Memorial

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Queensland Commonwealth Games representatives Matt Hauser and Luke Willian and inform Sydney nursing graduate Emma Jeffcoat will headline Sunday’s Gold Coast Triathlon/Luke Harrop Memorial and Australian Sprint Championships at Southport.

The biggest domestic race on the Gold Coast is dedicated to the life and times of one of the Coast’s most talented and popular athletes, Luke Harrop, who, at just 23 on January 12, 2002, lost his life as the result of a traffic incident while on a warm-up ride in preparation for the second race of the 2002 Accenture Triathlon Series.

It will be a fitting return to racing for both Hauser and Willian, who along with Jake Birtwhistle (Tasmania) will make up an exciting, new-look Games men’s team for the Games April 5 opening event.

Sydney’s Jeffcoat, the former champion surf lifesaver, showed she is ready to tackle all comers after her impressive win to conquer last week’s Oceania Championships in Devonport, beating noted pair Natalie Van Coevorden (NSW) and Games girl Charlotte McShane (Victoria.)

Jeffcoat will be up against a host of emerging talent, including WA pair Jessica Claxton and Gold Coast-based Kira Hedgeland, 2014 Youth Olympic champion Brittany Dutton (QLD) and the talented Sophie Malowiecki (QLD).

The cream of Australia’s paratriathletes will also be in action, led by Paralympic gold medallist Katie Kelly (NSW) and fellow Rio team mates Bill Chaffey (NSW), Nic Beveridge (QLD) and Brant Garvey (WA), who all contested last week’s inaugural Paratriathlon World Cup in Devonport.

Sunday will also see the official announcement of the Australian paratriathlon team for the Commonwealth Games – all in the PTWC (Wheelchair) class.

Gold Coast-based Triathlon Australia High Performance and Paratriathlon coach Dan Atkins is excited about Sunday’s racing, that will also see the cream of Australia’s Age Groupers, chasing double points setting their sights on qualifying for the 2018 ITU World Championships, to be hosted on the Gold Coast in September.

Atkins said many of the athletes who competed in Devonport last weekend had recovered from the racing and travel and those who didn’t race can’t wait to join in the action.

“I know as far as Matt (Hauser) is concerned he is chomping at the bit to get into Sunday’s race,” said Atkins.

“He hasn’t raced since last September and with the countdown on for the Games, he is getting ready to rock.

“And I know from talking to coach Warwick Dalziel, that Luke (Willian) will be in the same boat.

“It will be a good benchmark with both the boys in the Luke Harrop as well as a host of the other boy’s keen to push it.

“Matt loves getting out and training with his mates every day and that’s what keeps him going and as for me I have to protect that youth and enthusiasm; that excitement of a boy who is still only 19.

“We have a great group and they are all doing it together and for each other.”

Hauser, originally from Hervey Bay, had a stellar year in 2017, winning the ITU World Junior Championship in Rotterdam and combining with Birtwhistle, McShane and Gold Coaster Ashleigh Gentle to win Australia’s first ever Mixed Teams Relay World Championship in Hamburg.

Willian, the Under 23 ITU World Championship bronze medallist in Rotterdam, had a hit out at the recent Burleigh-Swim-Run, winning the event for the second time on Australia Day and coach Dalziel couldn’t be happier with his progress.

“Luke has been working well on a lot of specific stuff and we’re looking forward to getting into race mode again,” said Dalziel.

“He had a good hit out at Burleigh and it was just at the right time but now it’s time to focus on putting his first race together.”

The 750m swim; 20-kilometre bike and five-kilometre run is the same Sprint Distance as the Games – for both the Elites and Paratriathletes.

This weekend will also feature the 2018 Australian National Cross Triathlon and Aquathlon Championships at Lake Crackenback on Saturday.

Australia’s number one Cross Triathlete Ben Allen and his wife Jacqui Allen (Great Britain) are the headline acts in the Elite fields.

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Apply to Join the Amateur Specialized Zwift Academy Triathlon Team

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Zwift, the virtual turbo trainer cycling tool that doubles as a massively multiplayer online game, has partnered with Specialized to create a new elite amateur triathlon team. The recruiting focus is on amateur age-group triathletes, and they plan to make the new team “the best supported amateur team in the sport.” Four finalists will compete in Kona during the 2018 Ironman World Championship. Applications to join the Specialized Zwift Academy Tri Team are due by 18th March.

Zwift, and Zwift Academy have recently been focusing more attention on triathlon. Zwift created the brand new Zwift Run with triathletes in mind, and Zwift Academy is now scouting to identify the next generation of world-class triathletes.

The two companies are offering some amazing perks to the four finalists who make the team.

Perks for Tri Team Members Include:

  • Pro level outdoor and Zwift virtual training with the 2017 women’s Kona runner-up Lucy Charles and world record holder Tim Don
  • Free smart trainer & treadmill
  • Specialized bike, shoes and gear
  • Wind tunnel optimization & Retul fitting sessions at the Specialized Headquarters in California
  • $1,500 USD toward expenses for a 2018 Ironman qualifying event
  • Flights, lodging and entry fees for the 2018 Ironman World Championship

To apply for the Tri Team, you must be in Zwift cycling level 10 or higher. Final selections will be announced on 5th April. The online application is available at http://www.zwift.com/academy.

Have you heard of the new Zwift Run yet? If not, read Trizone’s recent article, Zwift Set to Revolutionise Indoor Running.

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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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