The first running of the BG World Cup in Rhodes looks to have been a very creditable performance for the organisers -- and so it should have been with many of the team that were involved with the Athens Olympics being involved. With so many of the top men already calling the 2007 season complete after securing their 2008 Olympic slots the field was studded with names who could well feature in the top ten come the end of the day's racing. The non-wetsuit swim and rapidly warming air temperature saw a steady stream of athletes heading out onto the bike with Malyshev (RUS), Gacond (SUI) and Stannard the first to exit T1. Unlike the women's race there was an immediate attempt to secure a breakaway on the bike with Kris Gemmell (NZL) and Reinaldo Colucci (BRA) opening a 26 second gap by the end of lap three. The chase group contained Hayes, Brownlee, Clarke and Johns with Stannard slipping back to the rear group at 2:38.
During lap four Sven Riederer (SUI) and Al Brownlee made a move to bridge up to join the leaders and trailed the leading pair by 27 seconds with the main chase group around 20 seconds behind them. That gap came down to 18 seconds after lap five with Matt Reed and Timothy O'Donnell (both USA) driving the chase group at 30 seconds behind but by the start of the final lap Ivan Rana (ESP), Ruedi Wild (SUI) and Didier Brocard (SUI) had decided that they needed to start to close that down and had moved 25 seconds clear of the front of the chase group. Definitely not your standard World Cup cycle leg!
At the exit from T2 the order was Gemmell, Colucci, Riederer and Brownlee all within 17 seconds.The Rana group of three had a 1:05 deficit over Gemmell as they started the run with the Henning chase group a further five seconds adrift. After Brownlee's astounding performance in the French GP a week ago when he shadowed Gomez and forced the World Champion to surge three times to dislodge him there was the tantalising prospect of a Junior athlete taking a podium slot. Of the other Brits from the chase group, Hayes, Clarke and Johns were 1:25 adrift of the leaders at the start of the run.
By the end of lap one of the run it was clear that Brownlee was intent on re-writing the script because he had moved into the lead ahead of Gemmell and Riederer with Colucci suffering in fourth. Of course there were others in the field with the potential to prevent Brownlee realising the dream; Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS), Ivan Rana (ESP) and Volodymyr Polikarpenko (UKR) were all in the chase. Into the final lap there was a 400m gap from the leading pair back to Riederer with his third place in serious threat from the chasing trio. Stuart Hayes had worked his way up into the top ten at this time.
In the final seconds of the race Kris Gemmell showed his experience and authority and kicked away from Brownlee in the closing 250 metres for the win with Courtney Atkinson (AUS) running through the chase group and outsprinting Cedric Fleureton (FRA) to collect third place. A truly remarkable performance by Brownlee and a rare occasion for a Junior athlete to get onto a World Cup podium. Stuart Hayes held on to his 10th place, Andrew Johns was 35th, Andrew Wright (HKG) was 54th and Richard Stannard was 56th. It looks as though Will Clarke dropped out at around halfway in the run.
Stannard's uncharacteristic last place finish was finally explained when he called in to Tri247 on Monday morning. He explained that on the first lap going up the hill there was already one crash, then coming down the hill two guys came down (he doesn't know who they were, but described them as 'Muppets'). The roads were apparently quite bad with lots of pot holes, etc. Rich managed to miss the first two guys but then couldn't miss someone else who had careered into the two guys that had caused the initial crash. He came down pretty hard and hurt his wrist in the fall. Fair play to him for actually finishing as many others appeared not to be able to with somewhat more minor complaints!
Things went pretty much according to the predictions for the women's race with Vanessa Fernandes (POR) stamping her authority all over the run and equalling Emma Carney's 19 World Cup wins. With a beach start, unusual in World Cup races which normally mandate a pontoon start, and the added excitement of a dog joining in on the second swim lap, the swim was a non-wetsuit in the glassy calm of the harbour at Rhodes Town. An early break on the bike soon settled down to a leading group of 37 with all the usual suspects and all the Brits bar Rosie Clarke who was in the chase group at 2:47 back. Emma Davis, racing under the ITU flag rather than Ireland's as the transfer process isn't quite sorted yet, held her own throughout the bike section doing some solid work at the front of the pack. When Tri247 spoke to her last week before she flew out to Rhodes, she had left her goggles behind at the Biathle in Monaco last weekend and was spotted buying a new pair, she predicted that she was in for an "ass kicking" in her first World Cup outing.
Once on the run it was clear that Fernandes was in turbo mode and throughout the 10k she consistently opened the gap to the chasers. By the start of lap three the chase was down to two; Andrea Whitcombe and Vendula Frintova (CZE) and Andrea kicked away at the start of the lap to ensure her fourth career podium with a second place. Of the other Brits; Kerry Lang was the top finisher in 15th, Jodie Swallow was 20th, Emma Davis 29th (which is far from an 'ass kicking' in terms of a first-time World Cup performance) and Rosie Clarke in 39th. Vanessa Raw appears to have dropped out at the end of the second run lap when she was running in the group with Swallow and Lang. Full timing and results are on the ITU website: www.triathlon.org
||Kris Gemmell (NZL) 1:51:53
||Vanessa Fernandes (POR) 2:02:06
||Alistair Brownlee (GRB) 1:51:57
||Andrea Whitcombe (GBR) 2:03:05
||Courtney Atkinson (AUS) 1:52:20
||Vendula Frintova (CZE) 2:03:22
At the Cheltenham Duathlon on Saturday the winners over the 2.5k, 10k, 2.5k distance were Mike South in 37:46 and Claire Skinner in 40:18. Full results are available here.
The Rowers Revenge Triathlon at Marlow with its 4k Concept II row replacing the conventional swim saw wins for Lee Rankin in 1:23:14 and Michelle Parsons (no suprise there!) in 1:33:05. Full results are available here.
The Carsington Short Duathlon, as opposed to the longer one they hold each Spring, was won by Matt Moorhouse (Tri Preston) in 1:12:19 and Sarah Charnock in 1:12:19. Full results are here.
Sunday's T2Essex Duathlon witnessed some fast and furious racing. From the off the event was being contested by an extremely talented group of duathletes including Wayne Smith (third at the National Duathlon Championships), Jez Cox (2007 National Duathlon Series winner), Chris Birch and Gordon Irvine. They set a furious pace on the first 5k loop but it was in the second half of the 10k that Smith put a kick in to open a gap of over a minute ahead of the chasing group of three.
Smith (Tri and Run) continued to power away on the 40k bike leg, enjoying the flat fast and almost windless conditions and cracking out a time just 17 seconds over the hour. Meanwhile Chris Birch (East St Cycles) and Jez Cox (Planet X)were having a real ding dong around the circuit with Birch reaching T2 before Cox after putting a minute and a half into him on the bike. Smith had developed an unassailable lead and finished superbly in 1:45:40. Jez Cox put his strong second run to good use but could not pull back enough on Chris Birch, who held on for second place. The women's race was won by Elise Buddle (Serpentine) in 2:19:05. Full results are here.
As well as the full distance race, T2 also put on a half distance sprint duathlon for newcomers to the sport who wanted to race on fast, fast traffic free roads. Again there was some great racing and the winners were Adrian Ward in 1:08:36 and Louise Neville in 1:13:00. Full results are here.
At the Hamsterley Hammer Duathlon, a full report is up on the site here, the headline results are wins for Graham Beal (The Bicycleworks) in 2:15:39 and Hilary Ross (Durham Tri Club) in 2:48:58. Full results are here.
At the Helwith Bridge Duathlon the overall winners were a relay team of P Chaffer and C Ruebotham in 1:48:24. The individual winners were John Brown (Athlete Matters) in 1:49:47 and Donna Edmondson (Cross Trax) in 2:09:44. Full results are here.
At the Outside In Triathlon in Dorset they have produced a set of results in race number order which seem to indicate that Gary Biddell won in 0:52:43 and Claire Busst was the first female in 0:58:24. We have linked to the organiser's website (www.resultstriathlon.co.uk) and we'll wait for something a bit more familiar before we upload a set.
Darren Treadway emailed us from Austin, Texas where he had just finished second pro and third overall at the Longhorn Half Ironman. It could however have been so very different as he punctured at mile 12 after a good swim and he reckons that probably cost him the win. He finished the bike in 14th place and had the run of his life to make the podium, especially under such tough conditions. The race weekend in Austin saw 2000 triathletes taking part in sprint, standard and half ironman-distance races. The event website is here: www.longhorntri.com
Crystal Palace Triathletes won the female team prize at the Dulwich 10k on Sunday. Results haven't been published on the Dulwich Runners website (www.dulwichrunners.org.uk) yet, but we think the four ladies were Syreeta Stracey, Suse Fairfax, Cathy Cooke and Karen Ayers. Suse and Karen both had PBs on the day as well.
Looks like everyone's a bit confused about the Devon Duathlon - apparently it's actually next weekend - the event website's banner says the 7th, the headline news says to ignore that and the entry form says the 14th... We'll try again next weekend!