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When You May Lose But Then Win – Predictions for the Commonwealth Games

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We sometimes prepare for the worst and hope for the best, especially in this type of scenario. You spend all this time developing yourself, and you know it might not work out. You hope to be selected, but you might also be preparing yourself for nothing. You’re protecting yourself for when that happens so you can almost be accepting of the outcome. You’d love to be on the start line, especially when you’re up here on the Gold Coast and hearing all the hype around it.

I had a long recovery due to my plantar fasciitis over 12 months ago which had put me back a lot. We found out November last year that Jake had already qualified and four realistic chances had to fit into two. I gave myself a 50/50 chance.

When I got the call, I knew there was a high chance I wasn’t selected. I wasn’t.

What’s next?

Things shifted slightly from there. I came up with an idea. I thought, “Hang on a second. Maybe there’s an opportunity to be part of the Commonwealth Games on the other side of the fence.”

I contacted Ian Hansen, our media liaison, about becoming a commentator, and he loved the idea. So from here on, I’d be looking through the lens of a commentator and not a racer. It feels strange that I’m not out there and believe me, I want to be there.

After a few months, Channel 7 got back to me and said they potentially wanted to work with me. This was when my mind shifted from athlete mode to the other side of the fence.

It’s study time

To prepare, I had to study the competitors more thoroughly than I would as an athlete. As a commentator, you need a lot of details like bios, past race results, and lots of stats. David, the lead commentator, and others call me an expert, even though it’s my first time. I provide insights into personalities. David is the stats guy, which relieves some of the pressure.

I need to create a narrative that will guide the audience toward cheering or not cheering for particular athletes. Like a heroes and villains stories.

I already know Jake and Richard are some of the best runners, so I didn’t need to study them. I need to know how they race, and why they do particular things as well. It’s a tactical analysis of how the race will unfold.

The Commonwealth Games Triathlon Course

The ride and run are neither hilly nor technical. There is nothing special about them. The swim is standard, too. There’s an active current pushing the athletes out to the first buoy, and it’s against them on the way back. They want to align toward the middle or right, so the current is stronger pushing them out. They might want to be closer to shore on the way back. If the wind is typical, it’ll be a tailwind out to the U-turn.

They’ll likely have a briefing about it tonight and get to choose their pontoons.

There is a solid group of people for the men’s and women’s races. Sometimes it’s the course that makes the race interesting, and sometimes it’s the athletes. I believe the athletes will make the race this time.

Men’s Race Predictions

Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee and Henri Schoeman will be the stars this year. Jonathan, Henri, and Alistair, in that order. It will be decided in the first 2-3 minutes of the bike ride. By then, we’ll know how the race will go. You’ll have Jake and Richard and others trying to chase them down.

If it doesn’t go down that way in the first 2-3 minutes of the bike, then Jake, Richard and others could change the podium if they’re close enough by then.

I predict honourable mentions for Richard Murray and Matthew Hauser. However, if they’re within touching distance out of the swim, that could change the race.

For Jake, it comes down to the swim. If he gets off the bike in the lead group, I’m betting on him to win. It’s going to come down to him and Richard, and I think Jake will outrun Richard.

I haven’t put Luke Willian in my top 3, but he’s on the rise with the swim. He had a good year last year. He’s almost a dark horse. He could do a race like Belfast the previous year where he pushed Jake to the line. What are his weaknesses and strengths? He’s a little younger, and a little inconsistent. People can’t predict his performance well. He has the potential to be in the top group of the start list.

Women’s Race Predictions

Flora Duffy, Vicki Holland, and Non Stanford will be on top. Honourable mentions to Ash Gentle, Andrea Hewitt and Jess Learmonth.

Obviously, Flora and Jess won’t want to be anywhere near Ash Gentle, Vicki Holland, and Non Stanford onto the bike and starting the run.

Flora has improved her run tenfold since Rio. Vicki, Ash, and Non won’t want to give her anything, maybe a few years ago they might have but not now. They may be thinking they can run her down in 20 or 30 seconds lead in a sprint distance. They know she’s good on the swim and bike, and it may be unrealistic to plan to be with her off the bike. It might just be damage limitation, and then having to run like hell. If they have 25 seconds, we’ve got a race on our hands, to Ash, Vicki and Non. Anything over 25, then Flora has a good chance of winning. Otherwise, it swings back to the other girls’ favour.

Ash is probably the best runner in the field. We’ll know more within a minute out of the swim where Ash is. She could win gold. She has that calibre in her run. Everyone else will make sure they’ll do everything they can to not be with her off the bike.

Charlotte McShane finished on the podium in Cozumel. If she does as well as then, then she has a shot at making the podium. If she gets off the bike in touch with the leaders, she’ll show she’s capable with the best of those girls.

Gillian Backhouse has the swimming ability, and she’s strong on the bike. It will depend on what the chase group does and if they get too far away. If that chase group doesn’t organise themselves quickly, then she may see the lead women get away. If all her cards are played well, I suspect she will be fighting for a medal alongside Coldwell and Learmonth.

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Who’s Who on the 2018 Challenge Roth Start list?

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Challenge Roth is one of more popular full Ironman distance triathlons of the year, and the men’s and women’s pro races are coming up on Sunday in Germany’s time zone (UTC+2).

Will this be a boring triathlon with expected winners leading by more than five minutes?

Anything Can Happen on Full-Distance Courses

The great thing about Ironman distance, and Challenge Roth used to be an Ironman race, is that anything can happen on a course with a 3.86km swim, 180.25km bike (or slightly less in this case), and a marathon-length run. Your favorite star may blow a tire, discover a new stress injury in the foot, catch a cold, or overheat under the 25 degree Celsius sun.

To make serious predictions, you have to rule out the above possibilities. Then it comes down to records on various courses, especially Challenge Roths, if they even have have a record there. Other factors include recent progress in swim, bike, or run times, whether they made second-place a couple times in a row and vow to get revenge, whether all their training and passion is aimed at some other triathlon this year, and the list goes on.

Past Winners & Losers

The past few years of Challenge Roth winners and start lists look similar to a Who’s Who of Ironman’s World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. That’s no surprise, because both events attract full-distance pro athletes.

Germany’s Jan Frodeno holds the course record and bike split record. He’s the 2016 Challenge Roth winner and the 2015 and 2016 Ironman World Champion. German Sebastian Kienle, who was the Kona runner-up behind Frodeno in 2016, has a couple Challenge Roth runner-up titles in 2010-2011.

Swiss triathlete Daniela Ryf won the past two years plus the past three Ironman World Championships. The wins were all by large margins. Her runners-up in Roth were Australia’s Carrie Lester and Britain’s Laura Siddall and Australia’s Carrie Lester. Lester trailed her by more than 20 minutes. Siddall lost by 11.5 minutes the following year.

USA’s Lisa Roberts was behind Siddall by more than five minutes and got disqualified for not following the paperwork rules for doping. This handed third-place to Netherlander Yvonne van Klerken, who was a few minutes behind Roberts.

2017 Kona runner-up Lucy Charles, who amazed the triathlon world during her first Ironman pro year, will be debuting on the Roth start line this weekend.

Australia’s Mirinda Carfrae and the UK’s Rachel Joyce did well in 2014 with first and second-place finishes.

Who Won’t Be at Challenge Roth?

Ryf won’t be around this year. Neither will Frodeno. Others who are out are Lester, Carfrae, Joyce, and Roberts. Last year’s men’s champion, Belgium’s Bart Aernouts, won’t be a defending champion this time.

Serious female competitors for the podium this year are Charles, Siddall, Van Klerken, and Finland’s Kaisa Sali.

Serious male competitors include Joe Skipper, who placed second for the past two years behind Aernouts and Frodeno. Other likely podium finishers are Kienle, Germany’s Andreas Dreitz, and Australia’s Cameron Wurf.

Who Will Win?

With Ryf out of the race, Lucy Charles may take over as champion. Her amazing performance in Kona last year surprised many. She’s the faster swimmer of Ironman. Her run has been making remarkable progress this year, so her improvement didn’t stop in Kona. This year’s credits include first-place in Ironman South Africa and Challenge Samorin.

Trizone also got to know Charles’ training strategies, both for physical conditioning and mental prep. She knows just how to challenge herself to propel toward victories with no problems.

For the men, either Kienle or Skipper is the likely winner, or maybe they’ll get thrown from their bikes when their tires blow out, handing the victory to Wurf to the delight of Australia. We used to win this race, a lot. Even without considering uncontrollable misfortunes, it’s a tough call this year.

What do YOU think?

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Major League Triathlon Adds 3rd International Team

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Major League Triathlon, the first and only professional triathlon league in North America, has announced a 9th team (3rd International franchise) for the 2018 season. For the first time in the league’s history, a National team from Mexico will participate in MLT.

The new franchise, dubbed, Guardianes de Guadalajara (Guadalajara Guardians), will consist of many of the top Mexican National Team athletes. The team will include:

Pro Men

  • Crisanto Grajales
  • Irving Perez
  • Abraham Rodriguez
  • Aram Peñaflor
  • Leonardo Saucedo

Pro Women

  • Cecilia Perez
  • Vanesa de La Torre
  • Adriana Carreño
  • Andrea Gutierrez
  • Lizeth Rueda

“We are thrilled to welcome this team to Major League Triathlon.” Said Daniel Cassidy, CEO of Major League Triathlon. “Triathlon Mexico and their athletes have established themselves as one of the world’s top federations leading up to Tokyo 2020. We are extremely excited to continue to increase the level of competition and give our athletes the opportunity to race Mixed Team Relay at the highest level possible. “

Major League Triathlon will host nine professional teams and will host many of the World’s best elite triathletes including international teams from Australia, Canada, and Mexico. MLT will host four events, making stops in: Atlantic City, Vail Valley, Tempe and Charlotte. The third year league specializes in the Mixed Team Relay format of racing, which will make its debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. At every event, each athlete will swim 300 meters, bike four miles and run one mile, one at a time, before tagging their next teammate. The first team to have all four athletes cross the finish line will win.

Guardianes de Guadalajara

Guardianes de Guadalajara is the only Mexican/Latin-American Team competing in Major League Triathlon. They represent the City of Guadalajara. The Guardianes de Guadalajara will feature experienced triathletes like Olympians: Crisanto Grajales (London 2012 and Rio 2016), Irving Pérez (Río 2016), Cecilia Pérez (Río 2016) and the future of the extremely strong Mexican National Team including: Junior and U23 triathletes like Vanesa de la Torre, Abraham Rodriguez and Aram Peñaflor.

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Rudy Project Launches Project Podium for Age Group Athletes

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Rudy Project North America, the exclusive distributor of Italian-made endurance sports gear, and the most worn helmet at Kona 7 times in a row is launching Project Podium, an initiative that rewards North America’s fastest age group triathletes with award-winning performance Rudy Project eyewear and helmets. All age group racers that win their age group in any sanctioned long distance triathlon in the United States and Canada are eligible to receive a free, top-of-the-line Rudy Project Boost 01 road aero helmet and a pair of Tralyx sunglasses. Winners will also be featured on Rudy Project’s website and lauded on social media as the top long-distance age group triathletes on the continent.

“A full-distance, 140 miles plus race is nothing to sneeze at, and attempting one is a feat in of itself,” said Paul Craig, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Rudy Project North America. “To win your age group, to come out on top, is something exceptional, and we want to reward the best, with the best.”

The program is open to all age group triathletes that compete in a sanctioned long distance triathlon race, in Canada or the United States, that is included in Project Podium’s list of eligible races. Athletes must be legal residents of either Canada or the United States in order to be eligible to win. The prize pack being offered is worth up to $625 USD, and triathletes that win their age group can submit their results online for verification at www.rudyprojectna.com/pages/project-podium in order to redeem. Athletes will be able to choose from the entire Boost 01 road aero colour line up, which includes Stealth Black and eye-popping Pink Fluo. Rudy Project’s new road aero helmet is quickly becoming an athlete favourite, following wind tunnel testing by ProCycling Magazine that demonstrated the Boost 01 was faster than any competitor helmet tested. To complement their helmet, athletes can also select a frame from the entire award-winning Tralyx family, including the regular Tralyx, Tralyx XL for additional coverage, or the new Tralyx SLIM, designed specifically for athletes with narrower faces. That, coupled with customer-forward warranties like Rudy Project’s 6 Year Crash Replacement Guarantee and Lifetime Replacement Lens Guarantee, make this an unbeatable prize package for the age grouper at the top of their game.

“Rudy Project is simply the best,” said Paul Craig. “We’re choosing to celebrate athletes who power the sport – the age group athlete and rewarding those that get to the top, the pinnacle of success. It may seem too good to be true, but we’re serious. If you win your age group in one of our listed races, we want to give you a helmet and sunglasses. If that extra push is all it takes to motivate someone to train a little harder, run a little faster down the chute toward the finish line, then we’ve done our job.”

Winning athletes can submit their information and race results for verification online. Athletes that won their age group in any 2018 full distance triathlon prior to the announcement of the program are also eligible to redeem retroactively. Full terms and conditions of the initiative can be found online, as well as a full list of eligible races. The program will run until December 2018.

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Taiwan added to XTERRA World Tour on 29-30 September at Kenting National Park

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XTERRA World Tour today announced the inaugural XTERRA Taiwan off-road triathlon and accompanying sports festival to be held September 29-30, 2018 at Kenting National Park.

Events include an XTERRA championship distance event, an “Xticer” beginner distance off-road triathlon, 5, 10 and 21-kilometre trail runs.

“We are thrilled to bring XTERRA to the people of Taiwan and introduce the sport and lifestyle to athletes of all ages and skill levels,” said Brian Wei, Vice President of Marketing. “We also look forward to having XTERRA Tribe members from around the world join us in Taiwan to discover a truly remarkable location in Kenting and the fabulous culture and community that is found here.”

Kenting is on the southern tip of Taiwan and famous for its warm, turquoise water and white-sand beaches that give way to magnificent mountains and natural reserves.

The main event starts with a one-mile swim at Little Bay beach with a short run in between two-laps. The swim-to-bike transition is at the fascinating Kenting Youth Activity Center, which is comprised of 17 different styles of old-world buildings and is a tourist destination all by itself. Then, the 26-kilometer mountain bike course takes competitors from coastal terrain to rocky riverbeds to uncharted territory high atop MenMaLou mountain. And the final test of endurance is a 10-kilometer trail run through the tranquil and “enchanted forest” of Chihniuling, considered one of the eight wonders of Hengchun.

The XTERRA Taiwan Championship event offers an elite prize purse of $15,000 USD split among the top seven men and women and also 49 qualifying spots for amateurs vying to compete at the 2019 XTERRA World Championship race in Maui.

The Xticer tri is a perfect introductory race with a manageable 200m swim, 10km mountain bike and 2km trail run. Relay teams of two-or-three people are encouraged to race in the full distance event.

In addition to the off-road triathlons there is a race for everyone in the family during the 5km, 10km and 21km trail running races. And for the fast runners, a $20,000 NTD (about $700 USD) will be awarded to the top three men and women in the half-marathon distance race.

XTERRA has had a presence in the Asia-Pacific region since 2000 and hosts events in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Japan, Korea, Tahiti, and New Caledonia, however, this is its first foray into the burgeoning endurance sports market of Taiwan,” said Janet Clark, President of XTERRA World Tour.

Nico Lebrun, the XTERRA European director, helped design the course. He also returned to Taiwan to host local coaching clinics to help leaders in the area teach the various disciplines of XTERRA as well as champion the XTERRA motto to “Live More” through a healthy, active, outdoor lifestyle.

“After two trips to Kenting I can tell you it’s a beautiful place, and the perfect location for XTERRA,” said Lebrun, who is also part of the organizing committee producing the event. “If you like hot weather, warm water, fresh local food, and strong culture, you will love it here.”

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Drama and excitement at Challenge Denmark

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Andreas Dreitz and Pernille Thalund each took home a convincing victory in Saturday’s Challenge Herning. After a non-wetsuit swim the athletes had to conquer an unusually hot summer day, which delivered as well drama as excitement.

For a while favourite, Camilla Pedersen (DK) looked like a sure winner. The former elite swimmer came first out of the water after only 25:56 minutes, with two minutes down to fellow dane Pernille Thalund. But almost halfway through the bike course, Thalund took the lead and kept it all the way to the finish line. Laura Siddall (GB) fought her way up from being 9th to second place, well three minutes after Thalund. 18 minutes later Frankie Sanjana (GB) crossed the finish line.

Meanwhile, Camilla Pedersen fought a brave but brutal battle with her stomach which refused to hold anything down in the heat. It goes without saying that it was an unfair match, and halfway through the course, she chose to pull herself out of the race.

Dreitz does it again

Among the men, Swedish favorite Jesper Svensson was first out off the water with Daniel Bækkegaard right behind him. But racing across the Danish heath, the ranks were turned upside down. Ultimately, the former Challenge Denmark winner Andi Dreitz took the lead, after which Danes Matthias Lyngsø Petersen and Kristian Hindkjær succeeded in overtaking Svensson.

Last year’s winner, Anders “Hightower” Christensen finished fifth.

The weather as X factor

One should never complain about the fabulous, Danish summer weather. But in the triathlon context, the heat was grueling.For the pros, the water temperature of 23.1 degrees meant a non wetsuit swim, which was a draw back for the heavier athletes.The vast majority of the age groupers athletes chose to swim in their wetsuits.

The almost non-existent wind made cycling really fast. But as the athletes went out running, the combination of heat, sun and no wind meant an excruciatingly hard run through Herning’s otherwise festive streets.

“The weather is always the x-factor in triathlon. It’s something you can not predict or change – and that can make a huge difference in either direction. But it’s the same for everyone, and that’s something that makes it exciting”, says race director Claus Vesterby.

All about the experience

It is a very proud and happy race director, Claus Vesterby, who can close and shut Challenge Herning this evening: “We had a phenomenal pro field with some amazing athletes and personalities. It’s amazing to notice how the Challenge Family spirit influenced the day among both pro and age group athletes. All the amateur athletes at all levels who struggled to exceed their own expectations and have a party with their sport, never seize to amaze me. They are just as important to us as the professionals, and it’s fascinating to see the breadth of our sport. I am proud of that,” says Claus Vesterby:

“Everyone is here to do their best, but first and foremost they come to get a great experience. And there’s no doubt they’ve got that today – and so have I.It’s a pleasure to feel how the city of Herning has taken the Challenge in and really backs us up and creates a party around the athletes. That means so unbelievably much. So we are already looking forward to making an even more amazing event next year.”

RESULTS

Men

  1. Andreas Dreiz, D, 3:47:12
  2. Matthias Lyngsø Petersen, DK, 3:51:54
  3. Kristian Hindkjær, DK, 3:57:31

Women

  1. Pernille Thalund, DK, 4:20:55
  2. Laura Siddall, GB 4:24:00 PM
  3. Frankie Sanjana, GB, 4:42:00 PM

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Mark Allen is Final Surge’s New Partner, Spokesperson, and Advisor for Triathlon

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Mark Allen, 6-time IRONMAN® Triathlon World Champion and “The Greatest Endurance Athlete of All Time” according to ESPN, has teamed up with FinalSurge, the Best Online Training Log according to Triathlete magazine’s June 2018 Issue, to produce a special edition “Mark Allen Coaching” branded training program for triathlon. Allen will also serve as a spokesperson and advisor for Final Surge triathlon projects.

“His accomplishments as an endurance athlete are legendary, but we were even more blown away with his depth of knowledge, experience, and innovations in coaching,” said Bob Butler, IRONMAN Certified Coach and COO of Final Surge. “Having Mark Allen on the team represents an extraordinary opportunity for us to use his unparalleled athletic experience and coaching insights to build on our recent honor as “Best Online Training Log.”

“When the opportunity arose to work with Final Surge I recognized that the technology created by their team had finally reached a level of sophistication and ease of use that would be a perfect match for my coaching theories,” said Allen. “Final Surge has developed the best mobile applications for online coaches in all endurance sports, and I am proud to be a part of their team as they continue to innovate and grow.”

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