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Jacob Birtwhistle and Ryan Bailie deliver on WTS world stage in Yokohama

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Tasmania’s Jacob Birtwhistle produced his best performance yet on the international stage with a brilliant top ten finish, while Ryan Bailie continued his great form at the ITU World Triathlon Series in Yokohama today.

The 20-year-old “Tassie tiger” has just emerged from the junior ranks, where he won a silver medial at the 2014 ITU Junior World Championships and now targeting the Under 23 title.

Last year Birtwhistle claimed a clean sweep of Triathlon Australia’s major National Championships in 2015 winning the Elite and Under 23 Australian Standard (Olympic) Distance and Elite and Under 23 Sprint Distance Championships in one season.

Further signs of his potential were seen when he then went on to finish second at the ITU World Cup in Mooloolaba earlier this year.

After finishing 38th in the Auckland round earlier this year his ninth place today augurs well for the youngster and drew big wraps from the voice of ITU commentary, Barrie Shepley.

Praise also from Triathlon Australia’s National Performance Director Bernard Savage.

“Auckland was all about exposing him to that level of competition, he went away learning valuable lessons. His coach Jamie Turner has worked hard on improving these and the results were on display today,” said Savage, who praised his team for a good day all round with some very pleasing results for the program.

“It’s been a fantastic day all round with some great results, from the Paratri team firstly, the competitiveness of the performances is a world landscape for that program.

“It was great to see Australians back on the path to where the team has previously been and encouraging to have two girls (Ashleigh Gentle second and Emma Moffatt third) and on the podium in a really important season for everyone with Rio being the Test event.

“I’m so pleased for Ashleigh, she has always been a threat but today it all came together, while Emma was again consistent, professional and raced aggressive. We cant’ read anything into Emma or Gillian’s performances being first races back.

“The men produced solid results, Jacob to breakthrough for a top ten win at his second WTS is exciting and another consistent performance from Ryan.”

Ryan Bailie was never far from the front - Photo Credit: Delly Carr / Triathlon.org

Ryan Bailie was never far from the front – Photo Credit: Delly Carr / Triathlon.org

Ryan Bailie was the next best of the Australian’s finishing in 11th place today adding to his impressive performances in the WTS rounds at Abu Dhabi (14th), Auckland (5th) and on the Gold Coast (9th).

The pair both from the mighty Wollongong Wizard squad positioned themselves well all day and then executed slick run splits to secure their results.

Aaron Royal was in the lead group from the start today but that didn’t last long as the packs merged to form a group of 52 in the huge train on the bike.

Australia’s Commonwealth Games representative Dan Wilson was also active and up front on the bike, staying out of any trouble.

Bad luck again struck for Cameron Goode with a second puncture in two races.

Dual Olympian Courtney Atkinson, trying to make his third Olympic team remained vigilant at the back of the group but not in his best form today, withdrawing in the closing stages of the bike.

Royal and Wilson didn’t have the running legs today eventually finishing 26th and 27th respectively.

But the battle of the giants once again captivated the triathlon world as the cream rose to the top at the pointy end of the race.

A brave solo breakaway on the bike by young Belgium Marten Van Riel was not rewarded, crashing on the final turn into transition.

The foot race eventually came down to three – four-time world champion Javier Gomez (ESP), Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee (GBR) and the man most likely Mario Mola (ESP).

After stepping on the gas in the final stages and dropping Mola, Gomez and Brownlee duked it out over the final 1000m of the run and ending in another dramatic sprint finish.

Gomez was delighted to pick up his first win of the season and consolidate his number one position on the Columbia Threadneedle rankings.

“I was probably running against the best runners in the sport in Mario and Alistair, I was feeling good and had something left, I tried with two k to go and dropped Mario but Alistair stayed and then surged,”said Gomez.

“It reminded me a little of Cape Town but this time I kept up and it came to the last 200 meters and at that point anything can happen because we are both very tired and lucky I had a bit more than him and took the win which is great, the first one of the year.

“I have had good races in Cape Town, Gold Coast and Auckland. Being on the podium is great but winning is better.  For my confidence as well to know I can run faster than anyone else, it was a great race and this is a great series, getting very exciting with a few guys with some victories, let’s see what happens.”

Elite Men

1. Javier Gomez Noya ESP 01:47:00
2. Alistair Brownlee GBR 01:47:02
3. Mario Mola ESP 01:47:20
4. Mark Buckingham GBR 01:47:48
5. Crisanto Grajales MEX 01:47:52
6. Sven Riederer SUI 01:48:00
7. Adam Bowden GBR 01:48:04
8. Fernando Alarza ESP 01:48:14
9. Jacob Birtwhistle AUS 01:48:17
10. Alexander Bryukhankov RUS 01:48:28

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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