The race of the weekend was, of course, the season opener for the ITU's BG Triathlon World Cup series in Mooloolaba. After a long, hard winter of training in preparation for the final three points-scoring races before the selection race in Madrid, the GB squad was there in force to see what would transpire. One person who we knew wouldn't be on the World Cup start line was Andrew Johns - he hasn't enough ITU points to secure one of the six slots, but he raced in the open pro category... ...and won! Missing from the women's start line, we aren't sure why, was Michelle Dillon.
It was the first head-to-head battle between the two women who are expected to clash for gold at the Beijing Olympics; Emma Snowsill (AUS and Vanessa Fernandes (POR). Fernandes was aiming for a record-breaking 20th World Cup title but had to settle for silver, approximately 39 seconds behind Snowsill, the three-time World Champion won, successfully defending her title from last year. Last year's Under23 world champion, Lisa Norden (SWE), had an incredible run to take the bronze, becoming the first Swede to ever podium at a World Cup in ITU history.
Snowsill and Fernandes were in the lead pack throughout the swim and bike and ran side by side for the first five kilometres. Snowsill made her move on the third lap when she cranked up the pace up the hill, the same place she broke away from Fernandes on year ago. Fernandes didn't respond, allowing Snowsill to cruise to her seventh career World Cup title.
Laura Bennett (USA) finished fourth while Andrea Whitcombe rounded out the top five. In a riveting battle between Kiwis Andrea Hewitt and Nicky Samuels for the third and final New Zealand Olympic spot, Hewitt came out on top. She was the first Kiwi across the line in 14th spot, securing her ticket to Beijing. Little known Alee Sharp (AUS), who was competing in just her second World Cup, was the second-best Australian in seventh, beating out established stars Emma Moffatt, Felicity Abram and Erin Densham. Helen Tucker was 13th, Emma Davis (IRL) 15th, Liz Blatchford 17th, Kerry Lang 18th and Jodie Swallow 27th. Swallow and Tucker had a coming together at the exit from T1, on the ITU's video highlights it looks like Swallow fell over her bike and took Tucker and another athlete down - Tucker recovered with a strong ride to put herself back into the front pack.
In the men's race, Javier Gomez (ESP) opened his 2008 World Cup season with a satisfying victory in Mooloolaba today, finishing well ahead of last year's winner Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS). After losing down the final strait to Kahlefeldt last year, Gomez didn't leave it up to a sprint this time around. After running together for the first five kilometres, Gomez made his move and broke away with his trademark surge. Kahlefeldt couldn't stay with the punishing Gomez pace and dropped back to second but he was able to hang on for the silver. Don rounded out the podium with the bronze, his first World Cup medal since a bronze in Salford in 2005.
The remainder of the GB squad were Freeman in sixth, Hayes in 12th, Stannard in 23rd, Clarke in 42nd and Brownlee 43rd. Brownlee also had bike problems getting out of T1 and had to climb off and straighten what appeared to be a twisted rear brake during the first lap.
A full set of results is here and you can catch the video on the ITU website: www.triathlon.org
||Javier Gomez (ESP) 1:49:50
||Emma Snowsill (AUS) 2:00:44
||Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS) 1:50:14
||Vanessa Fernandes (POR) 2:01:22
||Tim Don (GBR) 1:50:24
||Lisa Norden (SWE) 2:02:07
Sunday's domestic results kicked off with the first race in this year's Aldershot Duathlon Series organised by Tri Quays at Eelmoore. Winners were David Branfoot in 0:54:44 and Kim Hurst, who was third overall, in 1:00:10. A full set of results are here.
Hillingdon Triathletes held their Spring Sprint Duathlon at Minet Park cycle circuit and the trophies went to Michael Hiscott in 0:46:34 and Melissa Arkinstall in 0:54:14. Full results for the adult's race are here, the supporting Tristar and Youth results are here.
Black Sheep put on a duathlon down in the Forest of Dean with the apt name of 'Over the Hill'. Nothing to do with the age of either the organiser or the competitors - just a concise description of what you had to do! Full distance winners were Lee Renkin (Climb on Bikes) in 1:29:01 (despite him doing some extra mileage) and Fran Osbourne (TTG) in 1:54:25 and the results are here. In the shorter, novice event the wins went to Steve Hurley in 0:54:02 and Jane Dixon in 1:15:12, results for that race are here.
At the Stirling Aquathlon, the senior race was won by David Mcnamee in 0:27:39 and Sarah Young in 0:33:47, full results are here. Results for the Tristar 3/Youth race are here and the results of the children's race are here.
Burntwood Triathlon Club's Spring Aquathlon saw wins for Phil Pugh (Cheadle ASC) in 0:25:04 and Helen Russell (Redditch Tri) in 0:29:46, full results are here. Results for the supporting Tristar race are here.
In the sixth and final Swim Run Race aquathlon organised by Fun2Tri, the main race was won by Ian Roberts in 0:39:35 and Rebecca Brown in 0:46:02. Full results for this and the shorter races are here.
At the ASICS Kingston Breakfast Run the overnight rain and wind died away to leave a cool and slightly damp morning In the 8.2-mile race no previous winner was racing and Toby Pearson surged ahead over the last mile to win in 0:45:04, with Angela Hibbs taking the women's prize in 0:49:23. In the 16-mile race Paul Adams (St Albans Striders) won in 1:30:05 with last year's runner-up, Kate Brown, taking the women's race in 1:32:26. Provisional results are now available on the Human Race website.
At the first full running of the Marlow Duathlon organsied by Marlow Striders, the winners were Eddie O'Gorman in 1:40:42 and Ros Viner in 1:53:25. The results we received were based on elapsed time, hopefully the results here make more sense in terms of splits.
The Stokesley Duathlon organised by Tri Hard in North Yorkshire also hosted the Police Sport UK National Duathlon Championship. Winner of the main event was Phil Coulson in 1:34:18 with Libby Cameron picking up the women's trophy in 1:48:37. The Police Champions were James Brown in 1:34:20 and Libby Cameron. A full set of results is here. The results for the novice race are here but we think there's something a bit wrong with the sequence so treat these as provisional.
Kudu Bikes staged the draft-legal Lancaster Duathlons for the first time and wins were recorded by Richard Hunt in 0:41:40 and Joanne Taylor in 0:55:45. Full results for the main race are here and there's a full report here. The club also staged a Junior race and a Tristar race, follow the links for the results.
4life's East Leake Aquathlon won't have final results until later on Monday but the headline news is that the first male was Nick Dunn (TFN Orca RT) in 0:56:07 with Vanessa Raw taking the women's title in 0:59:35.
On the domestic calendar for Saturday we had the Coventry Triathletes' Not Quite April Fools Aquathlons in Warwick. In the senior race the wins went to Calv Hobday (Tri-UK) in 0:18:02 and Sharron Sheppard (Team Cherwell) in 0:20:53, full results for that race are here. The results for the supporting Tristar race are here and the Youth category race is here.
An event which actually started on Friday and continued the whole weekend was the Jurassic Coast Challenge organised by Votwo. Essentially a marathon a day for three days, have you seen those cliffs down there in Dorset?, and backed up by the completely insane ONER where competitors go for all three stages in a single day, the event was slightly disrupted by the weather with the ONER being shortened to avoid the worst of the cliff-top sections. A full race report and a photo gallery are up on the Votwo site and results are promised "as soon as the organisers are out of the pub"...
The 70.3 season looks like it has really got itself underway following Saturday's humdinger of a race in the Ironman 70.3 California out at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside. There was always going to be plenty of talent challenging for the podium in both the men's and women's pro fields and both kept us guessing to the end as to who would turn out on top. In the men's race Andy Potts led out the bike segment into T2 with a 1:49 advantage over David Thompson and Craig Alexander was 1:20 back in third. Fraser Cartmell had been putting in a lot of work on the bike, regularly in the top three, but this seems to have over-stretched his reserves and he went out onto the run losing ground. In fact, pretty much everyone as losing ground to Potts until Alexander started a charge about four miles out from the line to pass him with 400m to go. Potts was having none of that, he re-took the lead and made the line with three seconds to spare. Alexander was second with Paul Ambrose in third. Fraser Cartmell finished in eighth and Paul Amey was 16th.
In the women's race, Leanda Cave was setting the pace on the bike along with Michellie Jones and it was Cave who started the run first. By mile four Cave had been joined by Erika Csomor and the two ran pretty much stride for stride for the next four miles until Csomor began to move away. Meanwhile, Mirinda Carfrae had worked her way past Michellie Jones and then took Cave to secure second place, 1:36 behind Csomor. Cave held third while Jones had to settle for fourth. Cat Morrison was sixth, recording her fastest swim and run splits for a 70.3 race.
There's the usual full online commentary on the IronmanLive site: www.ironmanlive.com and we have a full set of results here.
||Andy Potts (USA) 3:58:22
||Erika Csomor (HUN) 4:23:14
||Craig Alexander (AUS) 3:58:25
||Mirinda Carfrae (USA) 4:25:51
||Paul Ambrose (AUS) 4:03:35
||Leanda Cave (GBR) 4:26:40