Tri247 Newsletter


21st Apr 2008Issue 57

Welcome to the newsletter

There's a couple of lessons that can be learned from this weekend's racing. The first, and possibly the most important, is that we now know that Vanessa Fernandez has a weakness - she doesn't like the wet and the cold! Full marks to Abbie Thorrington for taking the battle to the (almost) impregnable Portugese at the European Cup race in Pontevedra on Saturday in miserable racing conditions; she out-swam the whole field and then worked with Fernandez to establish a significant lead on the bike which left Fernandez effectively broken in T2. Sadly Abbie's running wasn't quite up there with the rest of the field but a fourth place in a comeback race is nothing to be sniffed at. We suspect that everyone is now praying for a cold wet day in Beijing... OK, we know that's not going to happen but just knowing that your feared opponent has weaknesses is sometimes enough.

We also learned that the best way to hold selection races is to do just that - hold selection races. Looks like the USA's second round of selections might have derailed a few egos - if you were going to shortlist two athletes for their Olympic squad you might well not have picked Julie Ertel and the, only just naturalised, former New Zealander, Matt Reed! Holding head-to-head selection races for their Olympic squad has meant that competition has to be pretty intense and given that two out of the three places are being picked this way you also have to wonder if it isn't a fairer system. We still have no idea who will actually go to Beijing in a GBR top at this stage and, aside from a pencil mark in the margin next to Will Clarke's name after his Beijing performance last year, there's everything to play for at the Madrid World Cup.

Of course, our athletes have to get to Madrid in the first place in order to face that test and with four of the six available slots awarded to those in the top 25 of the world rankings and the other two discretionary (one on World Cup merit and one as a potential wild card) we can pretty much figure out who's going and who isn't. Our best guess would be that the ranked men would be Don, Johns, Freeman and Hayes with Clarke taking the next highest ranked slot. For the women that would mean that Whitcombe, Avil, Blatchford and Tucker should go with Lang as the next highest ranked. So, who fills the remaining slot? The candidates for the men would seem to be a choice between Brownlee and Stannard while the women's choice would come from Dillon and Swallow with an outside punt at Wellington if she pulls something remarkable out of the hat in Korea this weekend.

The other lesson that might have been learned this weekend is that you can have too much of a good thing. Just over a week ago we had the National Duathlon Championships which saw a pretty decent field racing at Milton Keynes. This weekend we had the British Elite Duathlon Championships at Bryn Bach Park with a much reduced field and several of the serious contenders were overseas racing at Powerman Holland. It's certainly not clear what the logic was in splitting the races - and on a weekend when so many other races meant that the field would be reduced anyway. Perhaps it's just a case of needing to establish 'ownership' but surely that could have just as easily been done at any of the existing races on the ranking series? With just three senior women from a field of five finishing on Saturday we were only sorry that we hadn't persuaded our Deputy Editor, Annie Emmerson, to make a brief comeback for another National title...

In this issue:


Weekend action

At the ETU's Pontevedra Premium European Cup race the unthinkable seems to have happened - Vanessa Fernandez was a DNF!! For the full story on the race and why Vanessa didn't finish, see this report. The race was won, no surprise there, by Javier Gomez and Olly Freeman came a very respectable seventh. Todd Leckie was 11th and Gavin Noble (IRL) was 20th. In the absence of Fernandez, the women's race went to Kathrin Mueller (GER) with Abbie Thorrington just missing the podium in 4th place. Vanessa Raw, who needs to shine if she's to get one of those discretionary slots at Madrid, was sixth, Jess Towl was seventh, Heather Jackson 12th and Natalie Barnard was a DNF. Full results are available here.

The double-header of Ironman China and Ironman 70.3 China ran through Saturday night and into Sunday morning here in the UK. The race was nearly a victim of the first typhoon of the season but the weather seems to have cleared just in time and the race was held in hot and humid (90°F and 94%) conditions which made it similar to Malaysia and Korea in terms of a racing environment. Matthieu O'Halloran and Ute Mueckel were the early leaders but by the 90k mark on the bike the men's race was being headed up by Matt Clark with Tim Marr chasing in second place. By T2 Marr had passed and opened a two minute lead on Olaf Sabatchus who, in turn, was five minutes up on Clark. By the end of the first of three laps on the run Sabatchus was in the lead and held that to the finish for his third Ironman win while Park Byung Hoon ran through into second place ahead of Marr. Belinda Granger took over the women's lead and held that to the finish with Mueckel fading fast while Donna Phelan and our very own Ali Bayley moved up through the field to complete the podium. Brits on an Ironman podium in the last three races - top result!

A couple of people of note in the race were Stefaan Engels who is trying to race a record-breaking 20 ironman-distance races this year, we met him last week in South Africa, and Luis Alvarez. Both completed the race, that's the third Ironman on the trot for Stefaan and Luis also did a back-to-back, he raced at Arizona last weekend. We'll catch up with Engels in a couple of weeks at Ironman Lanzarote, if you want to check out his schedule for the year see his website: And, as regular readers will know, no comment about multiple Ironman races in a year would be complete without a mention of Petr Vabrousek and, you guessed it, he raced here as well finishing ninth in under ten hours.

We have very little information on the 70.3 race other than it was won by Steven Waite (AUS) - more when we get it! You can catch all the live commentary on IronmanLive:

Pos Men Women
1 Olaf Sabatchus (GER) 8:52:14 Belinda Granger (AUS) 10:08:37
2 Park Byung Hoon (KOR) 9:13:15 Donna Phelan (CAN) 10:37:11
3 Tim Marr (USA) 9:14:17 Abigail Bayley (GBR) 10:43:11

We also haven't had much in the way of a report from the National Elite Duathlon Championships at Bryn Bach Park - other than to say that the conditions were pretty miserable and that the tough survived... Wins went to Philip Wylie and Felicity Hart in the Seniors, Jonathan Brownlee and Jodie Stimpson in the Juniors, Barney Reed and Rebecca Eaton in the Youth. A full set of results is here and you can read a race report on the British Triathlon site.

Sunday's results kicked off with the third of TriQuay's Aldershot Duathlon Series races. Actually it was only the second time they have raced, the last one was wiped out by the snow a couple of weeks ago... The winners were David Branfoot in 0:53:00 and Kim Hurst in 0:58:00 - and, yes, we know the times in the results don't add up correctly but that's all we have so far! A full, but presumably provisional, set of results is here.

Concept Sport's Winchester Fast Twitch Triathlon was a sell-out and the winners there were James Gilfillan (Primera) in 1:24:51 and Tracy Cook (North Dorset Tri/Tri-UK) in 1:41:11. Provisional results are available here.

The University of Wales (Newport) held its seventh ISCA Duathlon and the winners were Rhys Jones in 0:59:34 and Katherine Broomhall in 1:14:26. A full set of results is here.

At the Rayleigh Aquathlon organised by East Essex Tri Club there was a home win for Joe Giggins (EETC) in 0:23:32 with the women's title going to Justina Heslop (Clapham Chasers) in 0:25:46. Full results are here and the results of the children's aquathlon are here.

The Sevenoaks Tri Club's Spring Sprint Triathlon was won by Ben Ward (Larkfield AC) in 1:21:59 and Nikki Treacy (Raw Energy Pursuits) in 1:31:50. A full set of results are here, but can you spot the celebrity??

The fourth of Goggle Pedal Trainer's Tewkesbury Aquathlon Series was won by Joel Enoch (Team Fitness 4 Less) in 0:23:08 and Katie Silke (Coventry Tri) in 0:25:55. Full results are here.

We are still waiting for an official report from Powerman Holland but we did get an email from Jez Cox who was on the ferry back. Apparently Michelle Lee won the women's race with Michelle Parsons in third and Emma Dews also getting a good place. Matt Moorhouse was ninth, Lee Peircy was 13th and Jez Cox, who twisted his ankle during the first run, was 33rd. The results should come up on the Powerman site:

The Ayr Duathlon saw wins by Raymond Johnston (East Kilbride Tri) in 1:15:18 and Shona Forrest (Glasgow Tri Club) in 1:24:50. A full set of results is here.

Another of the early season classics, the Cambridge Duathlon was won by Stephen Harrison in 1:49:18 and Esther Evans (Thamse Turbo/Sigma Sport) in 2:02:23. A full set of results is here.

The City of Durham Triathlon saw wins for Haydn Maughan (Ryton Tri Club) in 1:19:01 and Hilary Ross (Durham Tri Club) in 1:38:21. Full results are here and a report on the race from John Howells is here.

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Race for the Red Cross

Whether you're looking for a new challenge or just want to take part for fun - why not join up with the British Red Cross! They have participated in the London Triathlon for the past three years, and they're hoping this year will be an even bigger success than 2007 - where over £25,000 was raised for the charity.

Joining the British Red Cross 2008 triathlon team means that you will get top support for your training and fundraising from the moment you get a place in the triathlon. They will provide you with training plans and advice, nutritional tips, a comprehensive fundraising pack and a British Red Cross running vest. For more information or to sign up go:

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