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3rd Dec 2007Issue 39

Welcome to the newsletter

It's December already! Where the heck has the year gone? The last of the big international races slipped past at the weekend while the domestic calendar seems to be running in stealth mode -- perhaps it's to allow a bit of time for that all-important Christmas shopping...

One thing's for sure, the Editor won't be nailing lights to the outside of his house, let alone decking the halls with boughs of holly - that stuff's for the birds (the feathered sort, that is). However, we did manage to get the old Scrooge to put together a Christmas gift list which will be running throughout the month to give you, or a loved one, some ideas for things to leave under the tree. If you miss the daily gift idea there's a list that's building daily with all the suggestions.

There are plenty of other good things coming on the site in the next week or two: a new training plan series from Simon Ward starts on Tuesday with a new monthly bike maintenance feature coming on Wednesday. We've also got a whole bunch of interviews lined up to provide some light entertainment while you belch off that office Christmas lunch -- so keep tuning it.

Oh, and talking about tuning in: don't forget that Channel 5 (bless them) will be showing the Hawaii Ironman at 5:15am tomorrow morning (Tuesday 4th).

In this issue:

Results

Weekend action

While the UK was lazing on a not very sunny at all Sunday the Laguna Phuket Triathlon was taking place out in Thailand. As we have commented before, news out of the Far East seems to travel at its own speed and it wasn't until late Sunday evening that we heard that Liz Blatchford had won the ladies race. Great news for her as 2007 has been a miserable year with first injury and then a bike crash pretty much wiping out her entire season.

The race was won by Simo Cigana (ITA) in 2:31:46 ahead of Richie Cunningham (AUS) and Faris Al-Sultan (GER) while Blatchford's 2:42:24 was two minutes clear of Mirinda Carfrae (AUS), herself two minutes up on Belinda Granger (AUS). Chrissie Wellington raced herself into fourth place which is pretty remarkable given that she's had a complete month off since Hawaii. There were a lot of Brits in the race, best result we can see is Peter James Hadley in sixth, and we have a full set of results here).

Ironman Western Australia also played out through the night here in the UK and the good news is that Bella Comerford placed third in the women's race while Stephen Bayliss took fifth in the men. This has been a spectacular year for the pair of them and has seen both of them lift their game to a new level. What 2008 will bring is anybody's guess but, partly as a result of Chrissie's win in Hawaii, one thing is for sure - Brits on the starting list are going to be taken a lot more seriously.

In the men's race it looked for a while as though the race would go sub-eight as the lead changed four times on the bike and then a further three times on the run. The final result was outside last year's Australian record set by Jason Shortis but the top three finishers all set PBs in what were near-ideal racing conditions.

The women's race saw a new course record with last year's runner-up, Charlotte Paul, taking nearly ten minutes out of the previous best time. Early leader Alison Fitch was passed at the 10k mark on the run by Paul and then slipped back through the field while Bella Comerford, still hampered by her persistent leg injury, steadily worked through the field to claim third spot. Tri247's regular contributor, James Parker, was 17th having apparently gone somewhat off-course on the swim -- we hope to get a full race report from him soon. Results are still coming in on the IronmanLive website: www.ironmanlive.com

Pos Men Women
1 Patrick Vernay (New Caledonia) 8:06:00 Charlotte Paul (AUS) 9:00:55
2 Raynard Tissink (RSA) 8:09:20 Gina Ferguson (NZL) 9:08:23
3 Mitch Anderson (AUS) 8:12:20 Bella Comerford (GBR) 9:14:25

Another low-key race that slipped under the radar on Sunday was the Glentress Duathlon in Scotland. The first in a series of three off-road 'bike then run' events, the winners were a team effort by Jack Richards and Richard Lawes with Prasad Prasad as the first individual home. The first woman home was Ruth McGavigan. Full results are here.

Saturday saw the running of the first in the four-race Monsterman series out at Bordon in Hampshire. We don't have any times as yet but we understand that the race was won by Colin Dixon with Hilana Marais the leading woman. Results will be uploaded as soon as we get them or you can check the Gears and Tears website: www.gearsandtears.co.uk

The final round of the ITU's BG World Cup took place in Eilat, Israel on Saturday with the potential to alter the top placings in the ITU rankings and take a share of the bonus pool prize money. In the women's race Nicola Spirig (SUI) rounded out her 2007 season in style, winning the first World Cup of her career. Juri Ide (JPN) was second, her first World Cup medal, while Annabel Luxford (AUS) took the bronze, her 16th trip to the World Cup podium and a return to form after her recent leg injury problems.

Luxford led out of the water and, with Spirig and Sam Warriner (NZL), set about building a significant lead on the bike. At T2 they had put nearly two minutes into the rest of the field but Spirig set a pace on the run that only Ide could hold. By the final lap of the run Spirig had surged clear of Ide while Luxford and Jodie Swallow had run through the field to challenge for the final slot on the podium. Emma Davis finished 19th and Kerry Lang was a DNF.

Spirig, a former Junior World and European Champion, has had a breakthrough year with eight top ten placings at World Cups and a bronze medal at the European Championships. She said, "I feel absolutely great, it's such a good way to finish the season. I'm extremely happy, it was a great year for me." With the win, Spirig climbs two spots to number six in the world while Luxford jumps to a tie for the eighth spot, enough to earn a portion of the US$250,000 bonus pool.

The men's race saw a first-time win at a World Cup for the Japanese in the form of Hirokatsu Tayama. He held off both Volodymyr Polikarpenko and Alexander Brukhankov to take the victory in what has been an historic day for the Japanese as a triathlon nation. Oliver Freenman was seventh and Richard Stannard eighth.

Full results are on the ITU's website: www.triathlon.org

Pos Men Women
1 Hirokatsu Tayama (JPN) 1:49:47  Nicola Spirig (SUI) 2:02:42 
2 Volodymyr Polikarpenko (UKR) 1:50:32  Juri Ide (JPN) 2:03:10 
3 Alexander Brukhankov (RUS) 1:50:36  Annabel Luxford (AUS) 2:03:21 

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