Saturday saw the finale of the French Grand Prix series at La Baule and, as at all the series races this year, there were several of the GB elite in action for their French clubs. The women went first over the sprint distance - it's a bit of a mystery why as the men were set a standard distance course for this race. Perhaps the French think women aren't as equal as every other country seems to realise that they are...
According to the rather patch translation we were able to get off the French Federation website (www.fftri.com) Erin Densham (Poissy Triathlon) seems to have made up some lost ground and run through the field to take the win with Carole Peon (Châteauroux) in second place and Andrea Hewitt (Beauvais) third, although clocked at the same overall time. Britain's Rosie Clarke turned in her best performance of the series with a seventh place while Carole Bridge was 17th and Alice Hector 23rd.
In the men's race the early reports are that Javier Gomez, Will Clarke, Stuart Hayes and Alistair Brownlee left T2 together at the head of the field and that's the order that they finished in. Nothing remarkable there, you might think, other than the fact that when Gomez did his trademark surge he found that he was unable to dislodge Brownlee who stuck to him like glue forcing Gomez to make two more surges before he could break free. Clarke and Hayes then re-caught Brownlee who held on for fourth place - a result that might just secure him the chance of a World Cup in Rhodes start if he's lucky. Richard Stannard was 13th, Dann Brook 22nd, Ritchie Nicholls 31st, Fraser Cartmell 36th, Aaron Harris 38th and Mark Threlfall 60th. Full results and splits are on the FF Tri website.
||Javier Gomez (Sartrouville) 1:39:32
||Erin Densham (Poissy Triathlon) 0:56:46
||Will Clarke (Racing Club de France) 1:40:05
||Carole Peon (Châteauroux) 0:57:22
||Stuart Hayes (Racing Club de France) 1:40:06
||Andrea Hewitt (Beauvais) 0:57:22
Also abroad, but this time on the other side of the Atlantic, the 70.3 series continued in Cancun, Mexico. Normally known for it's hot and sunny humid conditions, but not this year, over seven hundred athletes found themselves racing in extremely heavy rain storms for most of the race. Flying the Flag for Great Britain was Simon Lessing in the men's race and Abigail Bayley in the women's race. Lessing who led out the swim only managed an uncharacteristic fifth place, but Bailey finished on the podium in second place. The men's race was won by Oscar Galindez (ARG) and the women's race was won by Tyler Stewart (USA), the full results are here
||Oscar Galindez (ARG) 3:49:10
||Tyler Stewart (USA) 4:26:37
||David Thompson (USA) 3:51:19
||Abigail Bayley (GB) 4:33:51
||Luke McKenzie (AUS) 3:51:49
||Laura Tingle (USA) 4:40:23
Saturday also saw the Xtreme Triathlon Festival take place at the off-road circuit around Hawley Lake in Surrey. The Xtreme Triathlon was won by Colin Dixon in 2:03:46 and Freya Bloor in 2:20:04 and the full results are here. The sprint distance triathlon was won by Deyan Knespl in 1:06:48 and Sharon Hill in 1:21:54 and the full results are here. The Festival also featured the Xtreme Duathlon which was won by Paul Bond in 2:08:20 and Imogen Hunter in 2:38:48, the full results are here. The sprint duathlon was won by Jon Thorpe in 1:06:53 and Angela Epps in 1:26:57, full results are here. Results of the Xtreme Aquathlon are here and the sprint aquathlon results are here.
The fifth and final aquathlon in the OWS/Liquid Leisure series was won by Lee Greatorex in 0:28:43 and Clare Lamberton in 0:32:17 with both of them scoring double points and so securing the series titles as well. Full results are available here.
The editor fancied a bit of a morning off so he headed down to Ringwood in the New Forest to take a look at the highly rated New Forest Middle Distance event organised by Jo and Richard Iles. It's highly rated for a reason - the swim is in an almost perfect lake (although the local spider population seemed particularly annoyed to have been disturbed, have you ever seen spiders swim??) while the bike is a very testing two-lap affair that just about prepares you for the run. Half a mile in to that you hit the first of the hills and realise that the organiser really wasn't joking about how tough this was going to be! But, as we remarked a week or so ago, if you build a tougher race then the people will come and this year's field was bigger and the top athletes from last year came back to give it another go. James Gilfillan (Primera) had other ideas though and stuck seven minutes into the field on lap one of the bike and extended that to eight on the second, shorter loop. He maintained that lead to the finish, collapsing over the line in 4:22:53 uttering dark comments relating to the organiser's dubious parentage... Last year's winner, Hwyel Davies (Planet X) could only manage second this time in 4:30:29 - although he said he had gone faster this year - while last year's second place man, Adam Thomson (Black Country Tri), could only manage third in 4:36:42.
For the women it looked as though Sophie Whitworth (Planet X) would be the obvious choice for the honours but as she came through T2 she only had an 11-minute advantage over her leading chaser, Emma Dews (Thames Turbo) and she had said before the race started that she felt that she needed 13 minutes to be safe. It was close, just 47 seconds, but the 11 minutes proved to be enough with Sophie taking the win in 4:59:59 and in tenth place overall. Full results are available here. If you want to see some of what went on there's a picture gallery online on Picasa (usual rules apply, personal use only and if you want the originals just email the Editor).
Definitely put this one in your diary for next year and be very, very thankful that the full ironman-distance race that Richard and Jo are organising there for mid-July next year isn't going to be a double-up of the middle distance -- that, they reckon, would just be too hard to ensure a daylight finish for the majority of the field. Tri247 will keep you posted on the dates for both these races as they look to be near-perfect examples of a 'proper' triathlon for those more interested in the challenge than the baubles, geegaws and hype. Just remember, the donkeys are NOT provided for riding...
At the Maidstone Duathlon Jez Cox (Planet X) continued his winning ways with a victory in 1:39:29 and Ludovica Bruno (Serpentine) was the top female in 2:01:31. Full results are here
F3 Events' Dorney Lake Classic was won by Darren Treadway in 2:00:43 and Anne Hegvold in 2:22:44, full results are here. They also slipped in a sprint distance event which was won by Bradley Hales in 1:07:24 and Michelle O'Dea in 1:16:06, full results are here
At the Ipswich Duathlon both the winners from 2006 retained their titles; Kevin Sheppard (53-12 Multisports) in 1:09:50 and Jackie Wren (Cambridge Triathletes) in 1:28:13. Full results are here.
At the Last Minute Triathlon, One Step Beyond's end-of-season pool-based event, the winners were Oliver Mytton in 50:42 and Kirsty Dandy in 59:59. Full results are here.
Provisional results for the Roade Sprint event have been posted to the Just Racing website. The winners are reported as Rich Sumpter in 56:05 and Yvette Grice (Bodyworks XTC) in 1:00:49.
At the Newent Triathlon the winners were Sam Windless, a Junior, in 54:16 and Kim Shaw in 1:03:05. Full results are here.
The Langport Triathlon ran its 14th race this weekend and the winners were Mark Goodridge in 1:03:33 and Celia Miall in 1:14:14. Full results are here.
Chase Rase put on a second Three Spires Triathlon which saw wins for Mike Cornes (Mammoth) in 0L55:26 and Rachel Stoakes (Tricoach UK) in 1:03:30. Full results are here.
At the Brinscall pool based supersprint triathlon Chris Rainford had a convincing win in the men's race in a time of 1:02:32 and Sarah Charnock won the women's race and finished fourteenth overall in a time of 1:11:29. Full results are here.