Tri247 Newsletter


17th Sep 2007Issue 28

Welcome to the newsletter

If you can hear the sound of a horse being ridden at speed then you could well be forgiven for skipping the next couple of paragraphs - the Editor is on his hobbyhorse... There's something wrong with what happened at the weekend out in Beijing; really, horribly wrong. Whilst we fully understand that the ITU's remit is to offer as many countries as possible the chance of getting one of those precious 55 slots on the Olympic starting pontoon in a year's time, there is now a massive conflict of interests taking place. Many of the athletes who started in the World Cup/test event on Sunday were playing in a different league to the regular starters. A World Cup race normally has a maximum field of 75; Beijing was extended to 95 to allow more countries to have a chance of qualifying and, by definition, many of those athletes will not have raced at this level before.

OK, so there are more athletes on the grid than normal and the course will, on the big day next Summer, only have just over half that number - where's the problem? It happened to be Tim Don on this occasion but it could, literally, have been any one (or more) of the 66-strong main bunch who was taken out by another athlete crashing. And, as predicted, that athlete was one of the 'extras' added into the field. Now, you could say that's just bad luck -- except that an athlete's ranking on the ITU system is based on their best eight results and being taken out might mean missing key races which, in turn, could then affect a whole country's position in terms of their Olympic squad. The number of slots a country gets for the Olympics is dependent on the number of athletes they have above a certain ranking - only the top eight contries get three slots, the rest get a maximum of two.

So, adding an extra 20 inexperienced athletes potentially risks (and it happened) removing others from the race and from scoring points - the athlete who caused the crash was never in any danger of scoring points for himself. Perhaps, and this is the crux of the argument, the time has come for there to be a two-tier system; the best of the best - perhaps the top 20% of the current ranked athletes - to have their own set of 'Super Cup' races which could be less frequent to avoid having to maintain peak fitness across at least eight races/months of the year. The rest of the ranked athletes would race in the regular World Cup events, trying to get the points to move up into the 'premier league' when one of those athletes hits a bad spell of finishes or gets injured and cannot race.

It's a pretty radical idea and, with the whole ITU Presidency up for election next year, unlikely to happen in this Olympic cycle but with BG in the game for the long term it could be worth following through - even the checkout lady at Sainsbury's knows the names of our top triathletes these days! Creating the Premier League in football seems to have worked out OK...

In this issue:


Weekend action

World number one, Javier Gomez (ESP) ignored the minor career blip of his second place at the World Championships in Hamburg to leave little doubt in anyone's mind that he's the man to beat at next summer's Olympic Games when he won the ITU's BG Beijing World Cup. As with Saturday's women's race, this was a full dress rehersal for the venue and all the systems. First out of the water, in what seems like a national obsession for the Americans these days were Andy Potts and Clayton Fettell but Gomez was within seconds as a stream of serious podium threats, including Frederic Belaubre (FRA) - last year's Beijing winner, Hunter Kemper (USA) - the 2005 winner, Courtney Atkinson (AUS) and Simon Whitfield (CAN) headed onto the bike course.

Here the drama on the first lap as Tim Don was forced to withdraw after a crash with Omar Tayara of Syria - they were just two of a dozen men who pulled out during the tough six-lap course. Don's crash happened when wheels touched and the inexperienced Tayara went down leaving Don nowhere to go but straight over the top of his handlebars. To add insult to the situation, he then found that the collision had punctured his front tyre where it had run into the other bike's cassette. With a massed pack of up to 61 riders within ten seconds of each other it was inevitable that a few tried to break away and these included Shane Reed (NZL) and Will Clarke, but both were eventually brought back to the lead group.

Out of T2 it was former world champion Ivan Rana (ESP) who took the early lead with Stuart Hayes on his heels but it wasn't long before they were passed by a charging Gomez with Simon Whitfield trying to stay with him. Gomez was opening the gap early this time around and after the second lap this was up to 21 seconds. By the start of the final lap this was increased to 30 seconds and it was clear that nobody was going to make it across to challenge him. He crossed the line in 1:48:41 with the fastest run split of the day to take the win.

Courtney Atkinson out-sprinted Bevan Docherty (NZL) down the stretch for the silver medal with Kris Gemmell (NZL) just missing the podium but earning an Olympic spot along with Docherty as the top two Kiwis. Simon Whitfield rounded out the top five while Belaubre failed to make the Beijing podium for the first time. Jarrod Shoemaker also earned the first men's spot on the US Olympic team by beating out Potts and Kemper.

Will Clarke was seventh, just ahead of Brad Kahlefeldt, having put in a solid run while Stuart Hayes was 13th and Paul Amey 40th. In all, a total 16 men succumbed to the tough Beijing course and conditions and failed to finish, including big names such as Andrew Johns, Rasmus Henning, Filip Ospaly, Sven Riederer and Simon Thompson.

In our Weekend Preview we said that, for many athletes, Beijing was going to be as important a race as the World Championships in Hamburg but the women, who raced on Saturday, obviously just thought it was a re-run! The new world champion, Vanessa Fernandes (POR), celebrated her 22nd birthday on Friday and gave herself a late present with her third consecutive Beijing win and the 18th World Cup win of her career. This has now established her as the clear Olympic favourite - as if she wasn't already... Emma Snowsill (AUS) finished second, more than a minute behind, while Laura Bennett (USA) came third to make an exact replica of the podium at the Hamburg two weeks ago. As the top American finisher Bennett earns an automatic spot on the US Olympic team.

Nervous energy was evident from the start of the non-wetsuit swim as half the women dived into the water before the starter's horn. The athletes managed about a hundred meters before officials stopped them and directed them back to the pontoon. When they finally did get off to a clean start, as at Hamburg, it was the American women who surged to the lead. Sara McLarty, Sarah Haskins and Laura Bennett led the women out of the water and into T1 but Snowsill and Fernandes were not far behind as the leaders headed out onto the 40-kilometre bike course.

Early in the bike, Snowsill and Fernandes pushed to the front of the lead pack, clearly not afraid to put in the work to break away. The front group, which included Joelle Franzmann (GER) and Pan American Games gold medalist Julie Ertel (formerly Swail), established a 43-second lead after the first lap. However, by the start of the fourth lap the two packs merged, resulting in 30 women riding within five seconds of each other. With no riders attempting to break away in the final two laps of the bike, this race was going to come down to the 10-kilometer run.

As they came off their bikes, Ricarda Lisk (GER) and Bennett were first out of transition but within seconds Fernandes had exploded past them to steal the lead. Bennett tried to stay with her but after the first lap but the world number one had built a 15-second lead. By the second lap, Fernandes opened up a 42-second lead and it was unlikely any woman, even Snowsill, was going to catch her.

In the race for Olympic slots, Debbie Tanner and Samantha Warriner qualified for the New Zealand team as the top two Kiwis today. The GB girls had a pretty poor result: Raw was 1:02 off the pace at the end of the swim with Whitcombe just behind her but they failed to make the second bike group and ended up in the third group 2:20 down at the end of the bike. Whitcombe finished in 24th and Raw was 53rd, although her lack of racing this year has to be factored into that. Dillon fared even worse and was 3:30 adrift at the end of the bike and then pulled out of the race on the run. For full results and pictures see the ITU website:

Pos Men Women
1 Javier Gomez (ESP) 1:48:41 Vanessa Fernandes (POR) 2:00:36
2 Courtney Atkinson (AUS) 1:49:03 Emma Snowsill (AUS) 2:01:51
2 Bevan Docherty (NZL) 1:49:08 Laura Bennett (USA) 2:02:06

First in with the results on Sunday were Concept Sport with the Bournemouth Littledown Fast Twitch, although they lost points with the formatting! Winners were Peter Younghusband (Tri-UK) in 1:14:28 and Tracy Cook (North Dorset Tri Club) in 1:20:29. Full results are here.

The results from the Bala Standard are up in provisional form, they are sorting out the odd-looking bike splits, and the winners here were Harry Wiltshire (DrivenToTri) in 1:46:43 and Carol Bridge (Rhondda Tri) in 2:02:17. You can get the provisional results from John Schofield's UK Results site here: and we are looking forward to the race reports from Colette and John who both seem to be well on the way to race fitness again.

For a race that only had 28 competitors and was described by some of them as being "tougher than any Ironman" the Accelerace Extreme Triathlon seems to have been a bit of a hit. The winners (anyone who finishes a race like that is a winner in our book) were Laurence Pidcock in 5:34:10 and Helen Whitley in a somewhat route extended 8:43:00. There's a race report here, you can see a photo gallery here and the results are coming soon.

At the last event of the BSLT Triathlon series, the Eyemouth Sprint and Novice, the winners of the sprint race were David Moffatt in 1:05:26 and Anne Ewing in 1:17:00. Full results are here. The novice race was won by Jack Ferguson in 0:35:09 and Helena Nolan in 0:50:56. Full results are here.

At the Northumberland Triathlon Festival the men's race went right to the wire with Alastair Brownlee (Triangle RT Bianchi) running down Fraser Cartmell in the final 2km to win in 1:53:59. In the women's race Alice Hector (Stirling Tri) had it sown up pretty early but Helen Lawrence produced a stunning run to come from fifth to second. Full results are here. The planned team time trial on Saturday was converted into a relay race and the One Life club won both the male and female races. Full results are here. There was also a children's duathlon race on the Saturday, results are here.

At the Men's Fitness Rough Track events there were wins for Colin Dixon and Victoria Williams in the Advanced race - full results are here. In the relay version the team winners were Farnham Tri - full results here. In the half-distance sprint event the winners were Edward Porteus and Jean Taylor - full results are here. The duathlon event was won by Kelvin Spencer and Nicola Robinson - full results here. There's a photo gallery online already here.

The West Wight Triathlon saw an overall win by the Two Men and a Daisy team in 1:27:11 but the individual winners were Chris Birch in 1:28:46 and Nina French in 1:45:31. Full results are here.

At the Urbanrace's Brighton Triathlon the standard distance winners were Nick Malynn in 2:14:40 and Sharon Young (Brighton Phoenix) in 2:36:35. Full results are here.

At the Derby Triathlon the winners were Tom Bishop (2XU TFN) in 0:56:09 and Caroline Sutton (Derby Tri) in 1:07:49. Full results are here.

Down in the Vale of Neath the XTERRA UK event was blessed with better weather than last year. Nicolas Lebrun won the men's division in 2:15:28 and Julie Dibens won the women's category in 2:38:19. Full results are here. Tri247's Paul Shanley decided that rather than just watching he would have a go as well - although we suspect that he may be regretting it... - and he has promised us a blow by blow report.

A race that was off our radar until Jez Cox emailed to say that he had won it for the second year running - plus it was his second win of the week, having topped the podium at the Hillingdon Duathlon on Monday - was the Boneshaker off-road duathlon in Adrington, Oxfordshire. The results will be on at some point.

The Halesowen Triathlon results were a bit late because Stuart Steele, the man who runs StuWeb and does the results, took part... The Cobra Triathlon Club who organise the event have a prize on offer for anyone who can break the hour but James Ratcliffe (Black Country Triathletes), who has won the for the last couple of years is pretty insistent that it can't be done! He averaged 24mph and still only managed a 1:06:05. Ros Viner took the women's race in 1:22:51. Full results are here.

The Blackwater Charity Sprint and Novice races raised over ����¯�¿�½���¯���¿���½����¯�¿�½������£1,000 for local causes and the winners of the sprint race were Michael Rolfe (Team Economics) in 1:07:07 and Jade Edwards (Tri Sport Epping) in 1:15:06. Full results for the sprint are here and for the novice race are here.

At the Newton-le-Willows Triathlon the winners were Jonathan Metcalfe (Manchester Tri Club) in 1:11:55 and Sarah Charnock (Ashurst Bike Club) in 1:23:52. Full results are here.

Provisional results for the North West Triathlon races are now up on the Fun2Tri website, we'll add these to the system once any issues have been resolved.


Buy a book for charity

Steve Trew, Tri247 columnist, coach extraordinaire and TV commentator/guru has another string to his bow; he's also an author. While you would expect him to write about the sport from the point of view as a coach you might be surprised to discover that he has actually written a couple of triathlon novels as well. While the first of these, A Long Day's Dying, is now out of print, Steve has a number of copies of its sequel, Moment of Suffering, which he's doing a really great deal on.

The book should sell for £10 but Steve will sell it to you for just £5 (including p&p) and £1 of that fiver will go to charity. If you fancy a copy send your £5 cheque (payable to Steve Trew and with your name and address on the back) to Steve at 144 Fox Lane, Palmers Green, London N13 4BA and he'll send you a copy. We'll also be putting a couple of excerpts up on the site in the next day or two to tickle your appetite.


Book your tickets to Triexpo

If you are planning to make the trip down to Bournemouth at the end of November to the Triexpo seminars and exhibition then you might like to take advantage of the online booking facility that they have set up with our online partner, Active Online Entry.

Triexpo will run on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th November at the Bournemouth International Center - a familiar sight to anyone who has done the Bournemouth Triathlon, it sits just at the start of the bike route. The event is based around a combination of triathlon focused seminars with Joe Friel as the keynote speaker and includes presentations by Glen Walker and Julie Dibens. The Saturday sessions will be aimed at new triathletes and those competing up to standard distance and the Sunday will be for middle distance and Ironman triathletes.

A full supporting Expo is also planned to provide the opportunity to stock up with end-of-season bargains and early Christmas presents. Full details on the event can be can be found on their website (


Route planning

Have you seen the exciting Routeplanning section supported by Garmin and Motion based? It tells you all you need to know about how planning and preparation can help with getting more information from your training sessions and how technology, if used appropriately, can make that easier and more fun!

With the London Duathlon raising the Park's profile last weekend we decided to do a 'home run' around Richmond Park to re-create the duathlon route as a Route of the Month. If you want a compact but challenging bike route or if you are one of the huge number of triathletes and duathletes who are planning to give this event a go then check it out here.

Why not send in your requests for which routes you would like to be analysed? Or, perhaps, you would like to ride it for us? We'll even lend you a Garmin Edge! Send your suggestions to (and PLEASE, no more suggestions that we do the Birmingham Sprint...)


Shoe advice

Did you know Tri247 has a Shoe Advice section supported by Saucony?

Every month one lucky reader gets a free pair of trainers by having their shoe question published as the "Question of the month" -- why don't you send in yours and you too could be sporting some great new footwear.

Have you got any questions about running shoes? Then make sure you email them in to and we will get the experts to answer them online!



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