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Dan Hugo and Flora Duffy capture inaugural XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship

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April 26, 2014 (Callala Beach, NSW, Australia) – Dan Hugo and Flora Duffy captured the inaugural XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship on a beautiful day at Callala Bay in Jervis Bay, New South Wales, Australia on Saturday afternoon.

Dan Hugo jubliant at Xterra Asia Pacific

Dan Hugo jubliant at Xterra Asia Pacific

“It was a great win for Dan Hugo and perhaps his coming of age as a bona fide international superstar,” said XTERRA managing director Dave Nicholas.  “He has had 2nd-place finishes at XTERRA Worlds, wins at various places around the globe, but he broke the back of a stellar field today in Australia that marks his first big win.”

The 28-year-old from Stellenbosch, South Africa is quick to agree…“Great to win a championship, probably my first of this stature, it’s been a while coming.  I grew up knowing Australia as the pinnacle of triathlon, where are all the legends are from, so to win in my first race here is special.” said Hugo, who has now won four XTERRA majors this season.  “It’s beautiful when it all clicks, and make no mistake this course suits me down to the ground. It was super technical to ride this course quick and it had some power climbing. I loved the bike course, it was so fun, and you just don’t get to see Kangaroos very often.

“Everybody agreed on that point, that the course was epic, even four-time XTERRA World Champ Conrad Stoltz.

“The whole race is phenomenal and very well designed. There is a lot of really good single track and it’s well balanced.  I loved this course and was super excited to race here.  Even the run is great,” said Stoltz, who pulled out of the race at the bike-to-run transition while in 2nd place due to fatigue from a lingering cold that didn’t shake.

“I’m super disappointed I couldn’t put in a proper performance because I would love to do this race justice. It’s a big race, has a TV show, big money, just look how the Aussies crawled out of the woodwork, that’s good for the sport.  But when you’re racing at the level we’re racing at if you’re not 100%, well…”

Indeed, the inaugural XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship featured a $50,000 pro purse, two internationally distributed TV shows, and a big-time field worthy of the attention.

“Biggest championship until Maui, really, and for us as professional athletes we so appreciate New South Wales for putting up the incredible pro purse, so to come out here to show gratitude and elevate the sport was super important, and to be on the top step is really special,” said Hugo.

The day started with two-time Olympian Courtney Atkinson from Australia putting a minute into the field in the water, but that lead was quickly taken away…

“Straight in, first mud hole, I got the first big crash done,” laughed Atkinson. “I thought I’d be able to hold a lead but it seems the fire tracks are as hard as the single track here.”

A group of riders with Hugo, Ben Allen, and Roger Serrano bridged the gap to Atkinson within the first few kilometers of the bike, then Hugo “chose a line through a mud section and that was it.”  He got some daylight and drove a wedge between himself and the rest of the field from there.

By the bike-to-run transition Hugo had three minutes on Serrano and Allen, and roughly six minutes to Braden Currie, Bradley Weiss, and Courtney Atkinson.  Atkinson showed off some amazing foot speed by picking off everyone in front of him but Hugo with the fastest run split of the day by far.

“When I heard I was six minutes down I didn’t think I could bridge that no matter how well I ran but I heard that Benny (Allen) was two minutes up so starting thinking about winning the XTERRA Australia title and pushed,” said Atkinson, who finished three minutes, 48 seconds behind Hugo for 2nd place.

Currie, who finished 5th at XTERRA Worlds last year, stayed with Atkinson for about 8K “but just couldn’t hang in there at the end.”  Still a great effort, especially considering he competed in an adventure race in China last weekend.

Hugo’s mate and fellow South African, Bradley Weiss, had another under-the-radar amazing performance by placing 4th overall – his sixth top four finish this year (which include three runner-up showings).

Hometown hero Ben Allen held on for fifth to a rousing applause at the finish line.  Allen is beloved in this part of the world (he grew up about an hour away in Wollongong) and he put a ton of effort into hosting and pre-race promotion.

“It’s a win, even though I didn’t win,” said Allen.  “It’s so great to see the race go off so well, and the community get involved, and everybody is happy.  Jacqui and I, my family, we love the sport and the people and wanted to do our best to welcome the XTERRA Tribe to Australia.  The day came out amazing.”

Allen also made special effort to tell of how Weiss kept him moving after he passed him towards the end of the run.  “He just told me keep going and kept my spirits up.  It’s just classy to have guys like that in the sport.”

Brendan Sexton, an Aussie Olympian making his XTERRA debut, finished sixth on the day and came away with some stories for sure.

“It was an experience, definitely different from anything I’ve done before but I had a great time, it was a lot of fun,” said Sexton, who took a spill that took some skin off his arm.  “Those boys are in a different league, so I just kind of let them go and did my own thing.  I tried to stay upright but was unsuccessful.  I got through it though. You could say I’m hooked, I definitely would like to prepare better next time but certainly enjoyed it enough to come back again.”

Pos Name, Country Time Swim Bike Run
1 Dan HUGO, RSA 2:19:01 0:18:35 1:11:24 0:47:26
2 Courtney ATKINSON, AUS 2:22:49 0:17:45 1:18:11 0:45:25
3 Braden CURRIE, NZL 2:23:46 0:19:17 1:16:12 0:46:40
4 Bradley WEISS, RSA 2:24:09 0:19:06 1:16:18 0:46:52
5 Ben ALLEN, AUS 2:25:35 0:18:29 1:15:02 0:50:53
6 Brendan SEXTON, AUS 2:25:57 2:25:57
7 Oliver SHAW, NZL 2:30:30 0:21:00 1:18:33 0:49:11
8 Alex REITHMEIER, AUS 2:31:45 0:18:40 1:23:01 0:48:16
9 Jarad KOHLAR, AUS 2:35:01 0:22:35 1:17:41 0:53:04
10 Craig EVANS, USA 2:36:39 0:18:53 1:19:30 0:56:52
Also: Joshua Kenyon, Joseph Miller

DUFFY DOMINATES THE WOMEN’S RACE, WINS BY SEVEN MINUTES

For the women it was another amazing performance by Bermudian Flora Duffy who finished far ahead of XTERRA World Champ Nicky Samuels and placed 9th overall.  Samuels was first woman out of the water and an equally amazing 2nd overall out of the swim.  Jacqui Slack put together three solid legs of swim/bike/run that netted her 3rd woman.  XTERRA Saipan winner Carina Wasle 4th and the “Swiss Miss” Renata Bucher 5th.

Flora Duffy was on fire at Callala

Flora Duffy was on fire at Callala

“It all came together,” said Duffy, who won the XTERRA West Championship two weeks ago and has clearly solidified herself as the woman to beat this year.  “I felt great coming into T2 after a really tough bike course and just hammered the first 2K of the run.  I just focused on my turnover because I knew Nicky is a strong runner and I wasn’t sure how far behind she was.”

Samuels was just about four minutes back at the bike-to-run transition, but coming off a cold and without the power she had hoped to put up a worthy fight.

“Having been sick for a week, to finish in 2nd is a great result,” said Samuels.  “I’m not so good on the single track and this race was fast, and a bit technical through the bush and over trees.  Having been racing World Series for nine years I can’t expect to be riding a mountain bike that well, so am justly happy for the result.”

Slack was the third woman out of the swim more than two minutes back and hoping to catch Duffy and Samuels by T2 but it wasn’t in the cards.

“I couldn’t have done much better so really happy with the effort,” said Slack.  “It’s great to have such talent in the field and keeps the drive going to get faster and stronger.”

Renata Bucher had the second-best bike split of the day behind Duffy but Wasle was able to catch her on the run to take the fourth spot.

The entire field echoed the same sentiment, that New South Wales is a special place.

“This area is gorgeous,” said Duffy. “Growing up in Bermuda I’m kind of a beach snob, so it takes a lot for a beach to impress me and I can tell you it’s gorgeous here, that white sand and water is beautiful.  I really enjoyed the swim and seeing Kangaroos, it definitely felt like Australia.”

Pos Name, Country Time Swim Bike Run
1 Flora DUFFY, BER 2:33:07 0:18:28 1:22:28 0:50:24
2 Nicky SAMUELS, NZL 2:40:07 0:18:26 1:26:14 0:53:49
3 Jacqui SLACK, GBR 2:44:29 0:20:53 1:25:56 0:56:01
4 Carina WASLE, AUT 2:46:58 0:22:56 1:27:46 0:54:12
5 Renata BUCHER, SUI 2:51:19 0:22:52 1:23:49 1:03:08
6 Lizzie ORCHARD, NZL 2:56:24 0:23:21 1:34:59 0:56:10
7 Mieko CAREY, JPN 2:57:27 0:22:57 1:30:21 1:02:20
8 Dimity-Lee DUKE, AUS 2:58:13 0:23:07 1:34:42 0:57:46
9 Jody MIELKE, AUS 3:20:49 0:22:49 1:40:55 1:13:55

 

 

NEILSON, SIMPSON WIN AMATEUR CROWNS

Daniel Neilson and Jessica Simpson were the top overall amateur finishers, and they (along with the fastest amateurs in each division) were named XTERRA Australia National Champs and awarded a qualifying spot into XTERRA Worlds for their efforts.
“Altogether a fabulous first XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race,” said Dave Nicholas.  “The location is superb, the trails got high marks for great riding and fun and the organization was excellent.  Toss in a few dozen Kangaroos, big, loud Cockatoo’s flying all over, Kookabura’s cooing in the woods, spicy meat pies and strong beer and you have the start of a classic event for years to come.”
As always there were stories galore, said Nicholas…Yank Craig Evans got confused on the bike; “there were two small lakes on the bike.  The first you rode around and the second you blasted straight through.  I got to the first one and slammed in then saw the side trail out of the corner of my eye and said Oh S * * T.  Next thing I knew I was totally underwater when the front wheel sank and I went over the bars.  Never unclipped and on my back in 2′ of water with the bike on top of me.”
There’s more to a great event than just the racing.  A great pasta party the night before and a better after party at the Callala RSL. Sunny but cool weather and a race start at 11am add to the pleasure. Just a few hours south of Sydney, you really need to think about coming Down Under to see the sights and have a great race to cap it off.

 

 

Results

 

Photo Gallery

 

2014 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING EVENTS

The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship was the 10th of 37 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the globe could qualify to race at the 19th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on October 26, 2014.  Up next, XTERRA Malaysia next weekend.

Date Race Location / Pro Winners
23-Feb XTERRA South Africa Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy
8-Mar XTERRA Motatapu Braden Currie / Nicky Samuels
15-Mar XTERRA Philippines Championship Dan Hugo / Renata Bucher
29-Mar XTERRA Guam Championship Dan Hugo / Renata Bucher
29-Mar XTERRA Costa Rica Leonardo Chacon / Vanlandingham
30-Mar XTERRA Great Ocean Road
Ben Allen / Jacqui Slack
5-Apr XTERRA Saipan Championship Ben Allen / Carina Wasle
12-Apr XTERRA New Zealand Championship Conrad Stoltz / Barbara Riveros
13-Apr XTERRA West Championship Josiah Middaugh / Flora Duffy
26-Apr XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy
3-May XTERRA Malaysia Putrajaya
17-May XTERRA Southeast Championship Pelham, Alabama
24-May XTERRA Mauritius Bois Cheri
25-May XTERRA Spain Championship Cieza, Murcia
1-Jun XTERRA Portugal Golega
8-Jun XTERRA Brazil Championship Ilhabela, Sao Paulo
15-Jun XTERRA East Championship Richmond, Virginia
21-Jun XTERRA Greece Lake Plastira
28-Jun XTERRA Switzerland Championship Vallee de Joux
29-Jun XTERRA Norway Horten
5-Jul XTERRA Ontario – Canadian Cross Tri Championship Milton, Ontario, Canada
6-Jul XTERRA France Championship Xonrupt, Gerardmer
6-Jul XTERRA Victoria British Columbia, Canada
6-Jul XTERRA Freedom Fest Kualoa Ranch, Oahu, Hawaii
13-Jul XTERRA Sweden Hellasgaarten
19-Jul XTERRA Mountain Championship Beaver Creek Resort, Avon, Colorado
20-Jul XTERRA Ireland Killaloe, County Clare
26-Jul XTERRA Italy Championship Abruzzo, Scanno
2-Aug XTERRA Mexico Championship Tapalpa, Jalisco
9-Aug XTERRA Czech Championship Prachatice
16-Aug XTERRA Germany Championship Zittau
17-Aug XTERRA Canmore Alberta, Canada
24-Aug XTERRA England Cranleigh, Surrey
31-Aug XTERRA Denmark Tisvilde
31-Aug XTERRA Quebec Lac Delage, Quebec, Canada
7-Sep XTERRA Sleeping Giant Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
20-Sep XTERRA USA Championship Ogden/Snowbasin, UT
26-Oct XTERRA World Championship Maui, Hawaii

The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship is proudly supported by the NSW Government through
its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.  Presenting sponsors include John Paul Mitchell Systems, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts, Flight Centre Active Travel and XTERRA Wetsuits & Boards Australia

About TEAM Unlimited/XTERRA
TEAM Unlimited is a Hawaii-based television events and marketing company, founded in 1988.  It owns and produces XTERRA and in 2014 will offer more than 300 XTERRA off-road triathlon and trail running races in 25+ countries worldwide. In addition, TEAM TV has produced more than 300 adventure television shows resulting in three Emmy’s and 42 Telly Awards for production excellence since 1990.  View samples at www.xterra.tv, and learn more at www.xterraplanet.com and www.xterratrailrun.com.

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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