Trizone News

Trizone News
Triathlon News and Discussion
Updated: 4 min 29 sec ago

Ironman 70.3 Geelong: Local Champ Luke Bell Returns

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 14:01

Born in Warrnambool, growing up in Portland and cutting his teeth on the sport of triathlon at Eastern Beach in Geelong, Luke Bell is one of the best athletes to come out of Victoria’s west.

The IRONMAN veteran of more than twenty years, whose credentials include four top ten finishes at the IRONMAN World Championship, an Australian and North American IRONMAN championship and twenty wins across the globe at IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 distance, he knows a thing or two about getting the job done.

The father of two has scaled back his racing to concentrate on coaching and a new role at a Melbourne private school looking after athletics, cross country and triathlon but he still finds time to squeeze in a few races in Asia and Australia. This year “Belly” is making a welcome return to Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong (17 February) to give the young blokes a hard time and show his support for the local event and longtime ally, the Baker Institute.

“These days it is all about more enjoyment and new focuses. I have always loved the sport and I still do so I am happy to get out on weekends and mix it up. I still ride with Mitch Anderson and Damien Angus and all those guys and we still try and let our egos belt each other up. So, I get some hard sessions there and I try to get down and run with Craig Mottram’s group when I can and I have swum with the same swim squad for 20 years.”

“It more just fitting things in around other commitments and I do have a 20 year training base behind me. I still go into races trying to podium and do the best I can, but you realise you are not doing the same training the other guys are. So, there are different expectations, but it doesn’t mean the competitiveness isn’t there. I have been lucky enough to be a good swimmer so I am always in the race and at the pointy end. I can still get out of the water with the lead group and still ride with them. These days it is about managing the knobby knees but they have been pretty good of late.” he said.

Luke got into IRONMAN racing as a youngster at university, but said it wasn’t by choice.

“I just wanted to do one and I did quite well, so I fell into the sport and was lucky. I tell the young guys now, ‘Do as I say and not as I do’ because by the time I was 30 my body had been through the ringer. My advice is to stay in the shorter stuff, do the speed as much as you can. Defending champion Sam Appleton is a perfect example, he hasn’t rushed into doing IRONMAN too quickly and has had a great career out of IRONMAN 70.3 racing. His body is not worn out and he can step up into IRONMAN when he is good to go and his body is strong enough to do it.”

Part of Luke’s “maintenance program” has been to tap into the expertise of the Baker Institute throughout his career, from a friendship he struck up with Associate Professor Andre La Gerche many years ago.

“I first met Andre in Melbourne when he was doing IRONMAN, so I have known him for close to 20 years. So, whenever he reaches out and asks if I want to be involved in a study at the Baker Institute I am all for it. I know I am getting a full analysis and you can find any underlying issues that may or may not be there. Every four years or so I would get a really good screening from him, albeit it is part of a study but the flip side is that one person helps the other. I get my full heart analysis and I get to walk away with some peace of mind.”

“You only have one heart and you want to take care of it. If you injury anything else and you can go about your life as per normal but you may not be able to race any more. You injure your heart and it is a different story. Having Baker Institute as the title sponsor in our sport is a pretty awesome thing and it will open people’s minds to the fact that it is a great sport to be involved in because it keeps you physically active but also be mindful to do it in the right manner and train up for these events.”

“You can live your whole life and be unaware of small arrhythmia or issues and not even know they are there, but they only need to pop up once when you least expect it. Being fit doesn’t mean a thing. It just means you can go a bit quicker. Fitness doesn’t make you less susceptible to tachycardia, arrythmia and age is not necessarily a protection either. A heart condition can be genetic or something that has developed over time.”

“The benefit of the community having access to the amazing resources of the Baker Institute is that you may find out something simple but you know you can managed. It is infinitely better to find out and deal with it, rather than find out in a more dramatic way,” Luke said.

First race of the season, Luke is pumped up for a good one in his old stomping ground.

“Whether it is the cycling world champs, or the ITU events Geelong has always been the center of the action. I used to duck down and see the likes of Peter Robertson racing around the foreshore. It is a wonderful little amphitheatre and when the weather is on it is a pretty spectacular place to race. My first races down there were twenty odd years ago. It is a good spot with a good history and has to be one of the earliest venues for triathlon in Australia.”

“Hopefully the form will be good enough to give the young guys some competition but it is just down the road and we have a few athletes there. It is always good to be involved in local races. I will see who turns up on race day and deal with it,” the wily veteran said.

Categories: Triathlon News

Ironman 70.3 Geelong: Five-Time World Champion Javier Gomez Kick Starts Season

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 09:58

The focus of the sporting world will be on the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong on 17 February when five-time ITU World Triathlon Champion and Olympic silver medallist, Spain’s Javier Gomez makes his Geelong debut.

Javier has been a force in the world of ITU short course triathlon for more than a decade before capturing the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in 2017 and last year making the switch to full distance IRONMAN racing.

One of the world’s most consistent athletes, without a weakness in any discipline, Javier’s presence at Eastern Beach will ensure the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong is one of the highlights of the 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 calendar.

The Spanish superstar is returning to Australia to kick start his year and set himself up for one of his priority events of 2019, his assault on the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships in Nice, France on 7-8 September.

“It is true that February is normally a bit soon to race for me, but the main goal for racing so early is to validate my slot for IRONMAN 70.3 World Champs.”

“This is my first time in Geelong, so I want to give my best on race day and then see how it goes. It is a race that I have been looking at since years ago and now it will be finally possible to make it happen. I am very excited to race in Australia again,” Javier said.

After a tough year out of his natural comfort zone training and racing IRONMAN in 2018, the offseason was a welcome break for Javier and a wonderful opportunity to gather friends and family in New Zealand for his marriage to Kiwi triathlete Anneke Jenkins in December.

“There is a lot of learning from 2018. All related to nutrition when racing long distance was pretty much new for me. I know the mistakes I made last year, especially in Kona. It was a great experience for me and moving to long distance last year gave me the opportunity to do different things that I have been doing for years. Kona is definitely a different race that needs a very specific preparation for it.”

“This offseason has been special for me because I got married to Anneke. The training is going well but it is early, and I am still building the base and the fitness for the whole year.”

Silver medallist at the 2012 London Olympics and the five-time ITU Champion, Gomez has some unfinished business over the standard distance.

With Tokyo 2020 Olympics just around the corner, it is important for him to reclaim his position in the extremely strong Spanish men’s team that will most likely include current world number one Mario Mola and the flying Alarza Fernando.

“Validating in Geelong is my first priority but after that, I will return to the Olympic distance for the first part of the season and will be focused on the ITU World Triathlon Series Olympic races.”

“There is another race in May which I am motivated for, the ITU Long Distance World Championships which is hosted in Pontevedra, my hometown. I want to do it well, even though I am aware that my training program is not very focused on those distances,” Javier said.

Categories: Triathlon News

Ironman 70.3 Geelong: The Battle of the Super Mums

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 07:00

Balancing baby, home and career commitments are hard enough for any new mum but when you are an elite athlete with an intensive training schedule and who clocks up more frequent flyer points than you care to think about, life throws in a few additional challenges.

Setting the bar high for parents across the globe are triathlon Super Mums Radka Kahlefeldt (Vodičková) and Caroline Steffen whose rapid returns to competition and the winner’s circle have astounded the athletic world and mums and dads everywhere.

Radka and Caroline’s lives have been in parallel for the past two years and the proud mums of 12-month-old Ruby and 13-month-old Xander, are heading to the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong on 17 February to resume their battles on the field and compare baby stories off course.

Radka won the IRONMAN 70.3 Davao, Philippines last March, only 11 weeks after giving birth and in 2018 she and baby Ruby jet-setted the globe winning at IRONMAN 70.3 Vietnam, Cebu, Western Sydney and Taupo, a 2nd place to Ashleigh Gentle in the Nepean Triathlon, 3rd at the Noosa Triathlon and 5th at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships in South Africa.

Caroline and Xander

Likewise, Caroline, two time World Longcourse champ and multiple podium finisher at the IRONMAN World Championship returned to racing four months after giving birth to Xander with a 3rd place at IRONMAN 70.3 Vietnam, 2nd place at IRONMAN 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship in Cebu, before clocking up wins at IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast, Wenzhou and Shanghai and a triumphant return to full distance racing at IRONMAN Western Australia.

After a Christmas break and the celebration of Ruby’s first birthday in January, the Czech born and Sydney based Radka is back in training and keen to kick off 2019 with a win.

“Last year was such a strong year for me, so strong that I can’t believe it. When I was writing down my results I started thinking…wow. It was such a crazy year that I didn’t have time to take it all in. It was amazing and nice to finish off with a win at IRONMAN 70.3 Taupo. I hadn’t seen much of New Zealand so I got to see the beautiful Taupo, check out the venue of the 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships and I got the win as well.”

“It was a great Christmas with the whole Kahlefeldt family and my mum who travelled from Europe to see us, so it was wonderful. Ruby had her birthday in January and we had a big party. It was good and she loves the attention. We were singing happy birthday and she was doing a dance like she had heard it before. So, I think she loved it. It was great to have an offseason to relax and do mum things but now it is good to get back into it and start training properly. Like everyone, the first week back at work is super hard.”

“I raced in Geelong in 2016 and was third behind Melissa Hauschildt and Annabel Luxford so I know Geelong well and I really liked the course and the race. I think it is good to have Geelong early in the season as a motivation to get back into the training. I don’t know what kind of race shape I am in or where the others are in their preparation. The first race of the year is always the unknown, so we will see,” Radka said.

The Swiss-born Caroline’s offseason consisted of plenty of time with the family in her home in Port Macquarie, the celebration of a few firsts for Xander, and one session a day to keep moving before easing back into full training and her long-awaited return to Geelong.

“I had my dad over in Australia for the first time for Christmas and my mum is coming in February. It was cool to have my family here for Christmas and after the win in Busselton I deserved a little break and I really enjoyed it. I was 100 per cent focused on having time with Xander and his first birthday came up, his first Christmas and New Year. Everything was his first one. It was all about him so we didn’t go anywhere and was happy to stay at home spending time with family.”

“Geelong was actually my first pro race that I won. Craig Alexander and I won in 2010 and I haven’t been back to Geelong since then. It was an important win for me that got me started and here I am years later and I am still doing it. I was always hoping to return but the race didn’t fit into my schedule at the time, I wasn’t fit enough or it was too early or something. My mum is going to be here in February so I will take her down, take her for a tour of the area and have some family time. She will be looking after Xander will I am racing, so it is going to be good.”

“I am really excited to be going back to Geelong. I have such good memories of that race. I was thinking ‘Oh my god, what am I doing here. I am in the lead’. As far as I remember it was a great venue and a nice little spot to get away. Geelong is easy for me to travel to, it is a nice area and I love Melbourne which is nearby,” Caroline said.

Caroline said that having all the new mums on the IRONMAN circuit has added a new dimension to racing and she is excited to be racing Radka again and getting the two toddlers reacquainted.

“We made a list and I think there were 22 of us last year who had babies, so a creche at the races would be good, we could drop off the bags and the babies at the check-in. It is great. I am in contact with all the girls and we don’t talk about racing anymore, we talk nappies and food and baby stuff. Xander and Ruby know each other already. They have been together in Vietnam, in the Philippines and we always try and get them together.”

“Radka and I have raced each other heaps before and it has been a big change for both of us. She had an unbelievable season last year with all the wins and it was impressive how fast she was. She hadn’t beaten me before I fell pregnant, but I haven’t beaten her since we have had the babies. I feel like I am faster than I used to be before the baby but she is on another level to what she used to be. So it is going to be a good battle and will make for a great race in Geelong,” Caroline said.

Categories: Triathlon News

How to Develop a Devastatingly Fast Bike Leg

Wed, 01/23/2019 - 14:49

If you are starting out in triathlon and want to go fast on the bike leg, you first have to go long.

Seasoned triathletes often debate whether the running or cycling legs of a race are the most important while the swim leg is regarded as a necessary evil. Both camps have some good points to argue. The running camp claims that theirs is the final event, so that is where races are won or lost. The cycling camp will tell you that their section is the most critical because it is the longest, and if your bike performance is weak it can bump you down the field drastically and the best running in the world will not get you back to the front.

Both factions make good points, but most beginner and intermediate level triathletes, to their detriment, tend to underestimate the cycling portion of the triathlon. The two main cycling deficiencies triathletes have are inadequate endurance and low force production.

Let’s first look at how you should be maximising your cycling endurance and then we’ll take a quick look at some power or force workouts to help polish you up for high-intensity training.

It is now accepted, without question, that cyclists need an endurance-conditioning phase, and this applies even more so to triathletes. Cyclists vary somewhat with their approach to the endurance phase, but most will spend eight-to-12 weeks in this conditioning phase where they do lots of long distance cycling to enhance their endurance, muscular endurance and speed endurance.

The purpose of your endurance-conditioning phase

This base period is to fully develop your cardiovascular endurance, or improve your aerobic capacity (known as VO2 max), increase the number of capillaries that supply blood to your working muscles, increase the number of mitochondria in your muscle cells, increase your blood volume (by about 0.5 litres), and decrease your steady-state cruising heart rate. The endurance phase increases your body’s resilience to high volume workloads, and prepares you for the higher intensity sessions that will follow.

But unlike running, where you simply go out and run lots of kilometres at a steady pace for months on end, cycling endurance requires a mix of training efforts to develop your speed endurance, muscular endurance, and your good old cardiorespiratory endurance.

Preparation phase

Do not leap straight into this phase without first doing two-to-four weeks of general adaptation cross training. The purpose of this is to prepare your body for the rigours of the endurance phase by doing low intensity workouts, emphasising aerobic endurance through activities such as swimming, vigorous hiking, or the like. You should also commence your strength training workouts at this time if you are not already doing so. You’ll work out four-to-six days each week, and should be doing two low-intensity sessions per day. Your goal is to emerge from this phase full of vim and vigour, ready for your base-conditioning phase.

The base-conditioning phase

In base conditioning, you phase in your on-bike time and progressively increase the volume of training by cycling further each week while scheduling lower volume weeks for recovery. No one can increase their endurance in a linear trajectory; we must all incorporate recovery of some kind to avoid overtraining, illness or injury. We do this by increasing the length of our cycling sessions for three or four weeks followed by a lower volume week.

Most of this long cycling is done at an easy pace in high spin gear, but the devil is in the detail: during the lower volume week, you amp up the intensity in one or two of the cycling sessions so your legs don’t get stuck in a ‘high gear rut’.

For those of you with access to cycling groups, you should consider doing these initial workouts solo before linking up with a group, as their median training pace may be too hard for you. Hammering away with a cycling group that is beyond your current fitness is inviting overtraining, illness or injury.

Because endurance training is typically done in the winter, indoor trainers or rollers can be substituted for outdoor road workouts when the roads are dangerous or impassible. Always think safety.

Fitting your endurance cycling workout in with your other triathlon training needs some planning. As a general rule, schedule the long cycling sessions on a day when you have done weight training, running interval training or swimming intervals. Doing two anaerobic workouts on the same day, even if in different sports, is a good way to overtrain and flatten yourself.

Your long endurance cycling workouts should consist of staying in your lower aerobic heart rate zones on rolling courses with short, small grades up to four per cent. Try to stay seated on the uphills while maintaining a comfortable high cadence. These sessions can be as long as 90 minutes and as short as 45 minutes.

A good weekend aerobic endurance bike session can be over a rolling course with small hills and gear selections that take you into a higher heart rate zone for a few minutes at a time. Stay in the saddle during these sessions. These should be long – from 60-to-120 minutes – and the cumulative time for your short intense bursts should be 15-to-30 minutes.

How long should your cycling sessions last? Your overall goal is to cover the length of the cycling distance you will be racing over, so if you are aiming at a half ironman, you need to attain 90 kilometres comfortably, or the Olympic distance of 40 kilometres, if that is your goal.

Strength training through the base-conditioning phase

Start your weight workouts with low resistance and high repetitions, and each week cut the reps down and increase the weight. Your goal is to have your strength at its maximum by the end of the 12-week conditioning phase so you can apply maximum power (or force) to the pedal when you start your sprint training.

The primary muscle groups used in cycling should be worked, including the low and mid back, gluteals, hamstrings, calf muscles, quadriceps, abdominals and arm and shoulder musculature. One or two sets of each exercise are sufficient. You’re not training to be a bodybuilder here, so keep your weight sessions short and sweet – 45-to-60 minutes max.

Research shows that it takes us about two-to-three months to reach our maximum strength development if we are starting from scratch, making the eight-to-12 week conditioning phase the ideal time for this. And in case you’re wondering if you can increase both your endurance and strength at the same time, the answer is yes. Provided you allow adequate recovery from your strength training workouts (two-to-three days between sessions), you should have no problems adapting to your strength training during your conditioning phase.

Increasing your force

If you have done consistent weight training through your endurance phase, working from low resistance and high reps to high resistance and low reps, you are now ready to transition from low gear riding to putting the pedal to the metal. Your goal is to increase your muscular force output and power, to get faster speed endurance. Why is muscular force important? Look at force as your reserve gear. This is what gives you a good jump start or acceleration to move past other riders, accelerate out of corners, get off the start line fast, hit hills hard, ride into the wind, and generally enable you to cruise at a lower percentage of your maximum force than the riders around you.

Much research has shown that cyclists who improve their muscular force improve their overall cycling performance. Most cyclists notice that with force training what was once anaerobic threshold cycling becomes their standard aerobic cruising speed, and usually at a high gear. In other words, your cycling economy has improved to the point you are using less effort when pedalling at a given power output.
How does this happen? Muscle biopsies show that an intermediate type of fast-twitch muscle fibre takes on the characteristics of a slow twitch fibre, becoming more oxidative while increasing the cross section of these fibres giving them the ability to overcome more resistance.


Improving your cycling for triathlons is a critical aspect of your training and should be one of your major focuses. It can make a big difference to your finishing position and put you further up the field than you ever dreamed possible. But to do this you need a solid conditioning build-up phase of two-to-three months where you concentrate on developing your endurance, with some shorter higher intensity workouts to maintain your leg turnover.

Categories: Triathlon News

Final Surge Releases New Garmin Connect IQ App

Sun, 12/23/2018 - 11:04 announces the launch of their new Garmin Connect IQ app, giving athletes the ability to build and download structured workouts on Connect IQ-enabled Garmin devices. The new Final Surge beta web platform allows athletes and their coaches to build running, cycling and swimming workouts using pace, heart rate and power values, targeted zones, and percentages of threshold and FTP.

Once structured workouts are built, the Connect IQ app allows athletes to download today’s workout, or, choose to download up to five days of planned upcoming workouts on their Garmin device. Each workout can be launched and completed on the device, and then synced back to Final Surge for athletes and their coaches to analyze the data through the Final Surge web platforms and Apple and Android apps.

“Our goal is to continue to enhance our platform and make training efficient and fun for our athletes and coaches,” said Tim Surface, Co-founder of Final Surge. “Our new Connect IQ app does this and allows athletes to take full advantage of their Garmin device, helping them stay on target with their workouts and perform each one at the proper intensity. This is exciting technology and we’re thrilled to collaborate with Garmin and take advantage of their Connect IQ platform to help our athletes achieve their fitness goals.”

“The new Final Surge Connect IQ app provides athletes with invaluable access to both their coaches and training plans,” said Nick Kral, senior product manager at Garmin. “The ability to easily view and complete workouts right from their Garmin device gives athletes the tools and data they need to stay on track and beat yesterday.”

The app is compatible with most devices in the Garmin Forerunner®, fēnix® and Edge® series.

To learn more about the new Final Surge Connect IQ app, please visit:

Categories: Triathlon News

Specialized Zwift Academy Triathlon Team Returns for 2019

Sat, 12/22/2018 - 05:50

Zwift, the online training platform for triathletes worldwide, today announces the return of the Specialized Zwift Academy Tri Team with a newly expanded roster of eight. Open for application from today, Zwift will be seeking a team of amateur triathletes with a view to competing at the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona, 2019.

The Specialized Zwift Academy Tri Team will have eyes fully focused on the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona. Zwift expects to consider all candidates for selection, from a range of all ages, nationalities and abilities. For some on the team, this may mean attempting to qualify for the first time, for others, it may be the year to step onto the Kona podium. “Before 2018, I hadn’t even completed an IRONMAN,” says Bex Rimmington, 2018 Specialized Zwift Academy Team member.

“I’d always dreamed of taking part, so when I saw the announcement of the Specialized Zwift Academy last year, I knew I had to give it a shot – never thinking I’d actually make the squad! Being selected and then actually qualifying for Kona on my first attempt was like a fairytale.”

To assist the team in their training and race preparation, the Specialized Zwift Academy Tri Team has recruited the expert knowledge of triathlon legends Tim Don and Sarah True. Both Tim and Sarah will meet with the team at the first camp at Specialized’s headquarters in the Spring and will provide support throughout the 2019 season.

“It was a wonderful experience mentoring the team last year, and for me, it was somewhat therapeutic,” says Tim Don, multiple IRONMAN champion. “Kona is another level from anything else out there – it’s a combination of the heat, wind and the pressure of being at a World Championships. It’s difficult to get right. I’ve had mixed fortunes there over the years, but I look forward to sharing my experiences with the new team members in 2019.”

Alongside expert guidance, the team will be supported with some of the best equipment the industry has to offer from brands including Specialized, Wahoo, Roka and Science in Sport. “I’m once again blown away by how much support has been invested in the team,” comments Eric Min, Zwift CEO and Co-Founder. “The level of support provided by Specialized for example really is something only reserved for their very best athletes. This is one of the very best supported amateur teams in triathlon.”

Specialized returns as headline sponsor and will be supplying the team with bikes, helmets and shoes. In addition, the team will also benefit from the ‘money can’t buy’ experience of time in the Specialized ‘Win Tunnel’ at their headquarters in Morgan Hill, CA. Here, the athletes will perfect their position on the bike to ensure the maximum aerodynamic gains are found.

“We are stoked to be back for the second year of the Specialized Zwift Academy,” says Mark Cote, Head of Global Marketing and Innovation at Specialized. “Last year was an exciting year, from seeing the team for their aero testing here in Morgan Hill right through to seeing them once again at the launch of our new Shiv at the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona. This year, with a bigger team, we will improve the performance of more riders. They will all be on the new Shiv Disc, and we look forward to seeing them go faster than ever before.”

Joining Specialized as a returning sponsor is Wahoo, as the official training hardware supplier. Wahoo will be supplying all members with a full pain cave setup including Wahoo KICKR, CLIMB and HEADWIND. In addition, team members will be supplied with Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT bike computers and TICKR X heart rate straps.

Roka also returns and will supply the team with Maverick X wetsuits, Viper swimskins for Kona, a selection of eyewear along with the official team tri suits.New to the team this year are Science in Sport. SiS are welcomed into the team as nutrition suppliers.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with the Specialized Zwift Academy Tri Team.” says Ashley Read, Managing Director at Science in Sport. “The fuelling demands of indoor training is an area we’re interested to explore and through working closely with the team we’re excited to get started. We’ll be providing the team with a full range of Science in Sport products including our patented GO Isotonic Energy Gels & HYDRO range. We’ll also support with a number of concept products currently in beta testing.”

Applications for the 2019 Specialized Zwift Academy are now open. Entrants must be level 12 cyclists and level 3 runners or above on Zwift.

Categories: Triathlon News

BMC-Vifit Pro Triathlon Team outlines ambitious targets and presents team roster for 2019

Sat, 12/15/2018 - 17:12

It was over a decade ago in 2008 that Uplace, as a founding partner, made the first steps into the triathlon world. Since then, the team has continued to grow and has gone from strength to strength to become one of the worlds’ leading triathlon projects. CEO, Bob De Wolf reflects: “With 81 victories and 163 podium finishes over the last 5 seasons the results have been very impressive. Our focus this year was very clear. We wanted to perform at an outstanding level throughout the entire season and to continue our journey as one of the leading teams in the world. With a total of 19 victories this season including wins at Ironman Mont Tremblant, Ironman Philippines, Ironman Hamburg and Ironman Boulder and 31 podium places including a second place at the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii, we have had one of our best seasons ever. We are entering a new decade next year as a team and it is fantastic to be able to continue building on such a great project. I am elated with the continued support from BMC Switzerland for next season and the ongoing partnership with Vifit for 2019 and 2020.

World Title

 “It is our ultimate ambition to win a World Title over the coming years”, says De Wolf. “Emma Pallant finished 2nd at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in 2017 and Bart Aernouts claimed a fantastic podium place in Kona this season. I know this is an extremely ambitious target, but in the long run, I strongly believe we have the operational setup, the support of fantastic partners and the quality in the team to do so.”

Also, Troy de Haas, Head of Sport at BMC Switzerland, is extremely pleased to continue a very constructive partnership next season: “We have thoroughly enjoyed a close partnership with our professional triathlon team over the past six years, and we are extremely proud of their rise on the world triathlon stage. Supporting this group of individual athletes through a team format has proven very effective and efficient – and mirrors our approach across all our professional racing teams as extensions of the global BMC Switzerland family. Their feedback enables us to innovate and maintain our position of producing the world’s fastest Time Trial bike, the BMC Timemachine. We are excited to see what successes this extraordinary group of sporting talent brings in 2019!”

Sophie Nicolas, Team Manager Vifit Sport adds: “We are very excited about continuing this partnership with our Vifit brand as we truly believe in the shared values of the team and in developing the knowledge and benefits of high-protein and sports nutrition. The world of triathlon is growing really fast and we want to make our contribution to both lifting the current team to the highest level of performance as well as supporting the next generation of triathletes. We are really looking forward to the 2019 season and take great pride in working together with the full team to help achieve their ambitious targets for the coming years.

Team line-up confirmed

The BMC-Vifit Pro Triathlon Team has the clear ambition to continue to be a leading team in long-distance triathlon. De Wolf indicates: “As we continue to set out very ambitious targets for the years to come, I am very proud and pleased with the team line up we have confirmed for next year. Confirmed athletes are Will Clarke (UK), Pablo Dapena Gonzalez (ESP), Manuel Küng (SUI), Chris Leiferman (USA), Sarah Lewis (AUS), Patrik Nilsson (SWE), Emma Pallant (UK) and Chelsea Reilly Sodaro (USA).”

Team roster 2019:

  • Will Clarke (GBR): multiple IM 70.3 winner, one of the fastest British athletes at Ironman distance (7h45 IM Texas 2018), Beijing Olympian 2008, top 10 IM70.3 World Championship, 3rd IM North American Championship 2018
  • Pablo Dapena Gonzalez (ESP): World Champion ITU Long distance 2018, winner Challenge Gran Canaria 2018, winner Challenge Mallorca 2018, 2nd ETU Challenge Long Distance European Championship 2018, ranked 1st Challenge Family World Ranking 2018
  • Manuel Küng (SUI): multiple IM 70.3 winner, winner IM70.3 Luxembourg 2018, 2nd IM70.3 Rapperswil 2018 , 2nd IM 70.3 Finland 2018 &  2nd Challenge Mallorca 2018
  • Chris Leiferman (USA): winner IM Boulder 2018, winner IM Louisville 2018, 2nd IM70.3 Marbella 2018, winner IM Mont Tremblant 2016
  • Sarah Lewis (GBR/AUS): winner Challenge Rome 2018, winner Challenge Finland 2018, 2nd Middle East Championship IM70.3 Bahrain 2018, 2nd IM70.3 Dubai, 2nd ETU Long Distance European Championship 2018
  • Patrik Nilsson (SWE): 2nd IM European Championship in 2018, 4 x Ironman winner, 2 x sub 8 hours IM in 2016, winner IM Copenhagen 2016, winner IM Barcelona 2016, winner IM70.3 Barcelona 2016, 8th Ironman World Championship in Hawaii in 2017
  • Emma Pallant (GBR): Vice- World Champion IM70.3 in 2017, World Champion Aquathlon 2017, 2 x World Champion duathlon, winner IM70.3 Barcelona 2018, winner IM70.3 Staffordshire 2018, winner IM70.3 Dun Laoghaire 2018
  • Chelsea Reilly Sodaro (USA): winner IM70.3 Indian Wells 2018, 3rd IM70.3 Waco 2018, winner ITU Huatulco World Cup 2018, winner USA National ITU Champion 2017, 2nd Sarasota ITU World Cup


The cooperation with Bart Aernouts, Liz Blatchford, Maurice Clavel and Ronnie Schildknecht will come to an end at the end of this season. Bob De Wolf adds: “Earlier in the year Liz Blatchford announced her plans to retire at the end of the season. Liz has had a phenomenal career that spans 18 years in professional triathlon. Bart (8 seasons), Liz (5 seasons), Ronnie (5 seasons) and Maurice (2 seasons) have played an instrumental part in what we have been able to achieve as a team over all those years. Bart was a member of the team since 2011 and was an integral part of the development of an ambitious Belgian team into one of the leading triathlon teams in the world. Bart, Liz, Ronnie and Maurice have all been fantastic to work with and we are very grateful for what they have done for the team. The team is immensely grateful for their contribution throughout those years, as top athletes and for the phenomenal results they achieved as members of our team”.

Four new faces in the team

Pablo Dapena Gonzalez is one of the new faces in the team and will join the BMC-Vifit Pro Triathlon Team powered by Uplace from next season onwards. De Wolf adds: “We are incredibly proud and excited to work with such a line-up of talent next season. Pablo Gonzalez Dapena burst onto the scene in 2018 taking the World title at the ITU Long distance Triathlon World Championship and winning a number of the most prestigious half distance events of the season. Pablo is one of the most exciting talents on the long distance triathlon scene and we strongly believe in his potential.

Chelsea Reilly Sodaro is a former Team USA athlete running qualifying times for the Rio Olympics on the athletics track. Chelsea is brand new to long distance racing and put down her marker straight away by finishing on the podium at her first IM70.3 race in October and winning IM70.3 Indian Wells in dominating fashion last weekend. Chelsea spent the last two seasons on the ITU circuit, where she really demonstrated her talent earning her first World Cup win earlier this year. Sodaro has her sights set firmly on becoming a world-class long-distance triathlete.

Sarah Lewis had a real breakthrough year in 2018 winning Challenge Rome and Challenge Finland, finishing 2nd in IM70.3 Dubai and taking the silver medal at the European Long distance Championships. To finish off an outstanding season Sarah finished 2nd at the Middle East Championship IM70.3 in Bahrain less than a week ago.  There is a lot more to come from Sarah as she will make her move to the Ironman distance next season.

Manuel Küng has an impressive résumé over the 70.3 distance already and 2018 was an excellent year for the 31-year-old Suisse. Küng claimed victory in IM70.3 Luxembourg and finished on the podium of another three half distance events this season.”

Pablo Gonzalez Dapena is really looking forward to the up and coming season

Joining the BMC-Vifit Pro Triathlon Team is like a dream come true for me and a big step in my career. To be surrounded by a team of world-class triathletes with great experience in competing at the most important triathlon races in the world will be a great help for me. I am full of motivation and can’t wait for the season to begin. I hope to continue growing as an athlete and to continue increasing my level. I strongly believe that BMC-Vifit can play an instrumental part in that. I was very impressed by the entire organisation of the team and their integrated way of working. The team offers incredible support from physio’s, doctors, team managers, mechanics, it makes me feel like a true professional triathlete and I am confident it will help me to perform better.  My goals for 2019 will be to compete in ITU Long Distance World Championship in my home city, in Pontevedra (Spain) at the beginning of May and defend my World title. Secondly, I want to qualify for the 70.3 World Championships in Nice in France and measure myself with the best athletes in the world over this distance.

Also Sarah Lewis is excited about the season ahead: “I look forward to joining the BMC-Vifit team as they have a reputation for looking after athletes.  It will also be really nice to compete as part of a team that includes such high quality athletes. I look forward to utilising the expertise, insight and knowledge from BMC-Vifit team management, support staff, sponsors and more established team members in areas such as race nutrition and bike setup.  The training camps will also be valuable, especially as they are in Lanzarote and Mallorca which work well for European based athletes. My goal for next year will be to podium and win major 70.3 races throughout the season and in 2019 I will also be looking to step up to the Ironman distance.  I will, therefore, be aiming to qualify for Kona in one of my first races, setting myself up for a top 5 Kona campaign.

Chelsea Reilly Sodaro couldn’t be more proud to be a part of the team: “The BMC-Vifit Pro Triathlon Team has a standard of excellence and I am thrilled to join the best triathlon team in the world so early in my career. This is truly a dream come true. In order to be the best, I need to surround myself with the best. My goal is to compete at the highest level in triathlon, and I believe that the BMC-Vifit Team will support me on my journey in doing just that. While I am new to the sport, I recognize that the BMC-Vifit Pro Triathlon Team will provide me with the best equipment and all of the resources that I need to reach my potential. The staff and support for our athletes are world class. I am also grateful for the opportunity to learn from my more established teammates during our training camps and throughout this season. My goal for the 2019 season is simple: I aim to compete for the win at the 2019 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Nice. I have a lot to learn between now and then, but I am confident that the BMC-Vifit Pro Triathlon Team, and my coach Matt Dixon of Purple Patch Fitness, will prepare me to be at my best on that day in September. Until the World Champs, I will be working to get stronger across all three disciplines and to gain more experience in this new format of racing”.

Manuel Küng adds: “It’s an honour to be noticed by the most professional team in our sport. To get the chance to be part of the BMC- Vifit Pro Triathlon Team really gets me pumped for 2019. As a triathlete, I often train by myself. To be part of this team, to have official training camps together, to exchange experiences, to share a start line together and push each other to become even better, to have access to professional staff and of course get supplied with some of the very best race equipment on the market, really motivates me a lot. The team management and the athletes have years of experience in racing long distance triathlons all over the world. Together with the knowledge and support of the team, I am confident to transfer my potential from the half distance also into long distance races. For season 2019 my aim is to win another IM70.3 and secure my qualification for the IM70.3 World Championship where I want to measure myself with the best.

BMC Team Camp Lanzarote 2018 BMC Team Camp Lanzarote 2018 BMC Team Camp Lanzarote 2018 BMC Team Camp Lanzarote 2018 BMC Team Camp Lanzarote 2018 BMC Team Camp Lanzarote 2018 BMC Team Camp Lanzarote 2018 BMC Team Camp Lanzarote 2018 BMC Team Camp Lanzarote 2018 BMC Team Camp Lanzarote 2018 BMC Team Camp Lanzarote 2018 BMC Team Camp Lanzarote 2018 BMC Team Camp Lanzarote 2018 BMC Team Camp Lanzarote 2018
Categories: Triathlon News

Taiwan to Host 2019 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 07:00

The 2019 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship off-road triathlon festival weekend is set for March 30-31, 2019 at Kenting National Park on the southern tip of Taiwan in Pingtung County.

Last year’s inaugural event in Taiwan was honoured as the “Best Off-Road Triathlon in Asia for 2018” by correspondents, who added that last September’s race lived up to the expectations of off-road triathletes and that Kenting National Park is an idyllic outdoor sports paradise.

The main event is Saturday, March 30, and boasts a $25,000 USD elite prize purse, 51 qualifying spots to XTERRA Worlds for amateur racers, and a 100-point scale scoring structure for both amateurs and elites vying for XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour honours.

The race starts with a 1.5-kilometre swim at Little Bay Beach, follows with a 26-kilometre mountain bike that traverses coastal terrain to rocky riverbeds to uncharted territory high atop Menmalou mountain, and finishes with a 10-kilometre trail run through the “enchanted forest” of Chihniuling.

Other weekend events include the Xticer beginner distance off-road triathlon, trail runs, kids races, live music, local cuisine, cultural demonstrations, and entertainment to delight family, friends, spectators and racers alike.  All the action will unfold at the Kenting Youth Activity Center which showcases the area’s traditional Minnan style architecture.

“Following a successful debut race at Kenting in September, it was clear Taiwan could host a world-class event and provide a magnificent experience for competitors,” said XTERRA President, Janet Clark.

“I was impressed with their attention to detail, from the unique cultural experiences like the local song and dance performance at the start of the race to the 750-meters of red carpet they laid down from the beach to transition. Plus, getting in-and-out of Kaoshiung International Airport is a breeze, the fresh seafood is fabulous, the locals are warm and welcoming, and so is the weather and the water.”

Lewis Ryan, who won the inaugural men’s elite race at XTERRA Taiwan, is quick to agree.

“I think I can speak on behalf of everyone who participated in 2018 when I say this is an incredible event and should be on everyone’s bucket list,” said Ryan, who will return to Kenting in March.

“The landscape is mesmerizing, the atmosphere is beyond words, and as far as race courses go, it’s got to be one of the best, if not the best in the world. The place feels so untouched you wouldn’t be surprised if a dinosaur was waiting around the next corner.”

The sixth annual XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship in Taiwan is the first of five majors on the 2019 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour that also includes stops in Rotorua, New Zealand (April 6), Moorea, Tahiti (May 31), Marunuma, Japan (Sept. 15), and culminates at the inaugural XTERRA China off-road triathlon in Kunming on September 22.

XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Rules for Elites & Amateurs

For amateur racers competing in the 2019 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour the rules are the same as last year = every race counts, most points wins.
Find the details here: (Online / PDF)

For elites, it’s a whole new game. Those racing in the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour count just their best three out of five races, and the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race in Taiwan must count as one of the three races.
Find the details here: (Online / PDF)

There are two 100-point scale “Gold” races and three 75-point scale “Silver” races.
Gold races: Taiwan and China
Silver races: New Zealand, Tahiti, and Japan

Gold 100-Point Scale Breakdown Silver 75-Point Scale Breakdown Place Points Place Points 1st 100 1st 75 2nd 90 2nd 67 3rd 82 3rd 61 4th 75 4th 56 5th 69 5th 51 6th 63 6th 47 7th 58 7th 43 8th 53 8th 39 9th 49 9th 36 10th 45 10th 33 11th 41 11th 30 12th 37 12th 27 13th 34 13th 25 14th 31 14th 23 15th 28 15th 21 2019 XTERRA ASIA-PACIFIC TOUR SCHEDULE Date – Race – Location – Elite Purse $USD
March 30 – XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship GOLD – Kenting, Taiwan – $25,000
April 6 – XTERRA New Zealand Silver – Rotorua – $7,300
May 31 – XTERRA Tahiti Silver – Moorea – $7,500
Sept 15 – XTERRA Japan Silver – Marunuma – $7,500
Sept 22 – XTERRA China GOLD – Kunming – $15,000
*$10,000 Tour Bonus paid to top five men/women elites in final standingsLearn more at
Categories: Triathlon News

Top Images: Ironman 70.3 Indian Wells La Quinta Triathlon

Wed, 12/12/2018 - 19:13

The 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells La Quinta triathlon saw more than 2,300 athletes representing 37 countries and 47 states start the race. Competitors ranged in age from 18–80 years old. One of more than 110 events in the global IRONMAN 70.3 Series, the IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells La Quinta triathlon led athletes along a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run throughout the cities of Indian Wells and La Quinta, California as well as their surrounding areas. The event offered a total professional prize purse of $25,000 and 30 coveted age group qualifying slots to the 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, taking place in Nice, France.

SUNNY DELIGHT: Immersed in the rising sun, this athlete reaches for a swim stroke while on the 1.2-mile swim course in Lake Cahuilla during the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells La Quinta triathlon (Photo Credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images for IRONMAN) ULTIVATING THE COMPETITION: Professional Lionel Sanders leads the field as he cycles past the palm tree farms that line the 56-mile bike course at the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells La Quinta (Photo Credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images for IRONMAN) GARDEN GRAND SLAM: Athletes round the first loop inside the Indian Wells Tennis Garden while on 13.1-mile run course at the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells La Quinta triathlon (Photo Credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images for IRONMAN) PEDALING PROWESS: An athlete climbs the hill to exit Lake Cahuilla and begin their journey down the 56-mile bike course at the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells La Quinta triathlon (Photo Credit: Donald Miralle/IRONMAN) HOLE-IN-ONE: Athletes traverse over to the Indian Wells Golf Resort while on the 13.1-mile run course during the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells La Quinta triathlon (Photo Credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images for IRONMAN) CAHUILLA SUNRISE: A magnificent sunrise covers Lake Cahuilla as the athletes and staff prepare to take off during the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells La Quinta triathlon on Sunday, December 9, 2018 (Photo Credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images for IRONMAN) PALM DESERT: Athletes cycle beneath the towering palms trees and mountains lining the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells La Quinta triathlon bike course on Sunday, December 9, 2018 (Photo Credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images for IRONMAN) IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF GIANTS: Athletes embark on the 13.1-mile run course beneath the skyline of the snow capped San Jacinto Mountains during the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells La Quinta triathlon on Sunday, December 9, 2018 (Photo Credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images for IRONMAN) MILE POST: Athletes bike past miles of towering palms trees lining the 56-mile bike course during the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells La Quinta triathlon on Sunday, December 9, 2018 (Photo Credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images for IRONMAN) SUN SPLASH: An athletes pauses to re-hydrate while on the IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells La Quinta triathlon 13.1-mile run course on Sunday, December 9, 2018 (Photo Credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images for IRONMAN) MUTUAL RESPECT: Overall winner Lionel Sanders embraces second-place finisher Joe Gambles in a congratulatory hug at the finish of the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells La Quinta triathlon on Sunday, December 9, 2018 (Photo Credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images for IRONMAN) RED CARPET RECEPTION: With the stunning Mountains in the background, this athlete sprints down the finish line chute to complete the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells La Quinta triathlon on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018 (Photo Credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images for IRONMAN) MAIDEN VOYAGE: The field of professional athletes take off on the 1.2-mile swim course through Lake Cahuilla to commence the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells La Quinta triathlon on Sunday, December 9, 2018 (Photo Credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images for IRONMAN)
Categories: Triathlon News

Van Vlerken, Kienle and Dapena win Challenge Family World Bonus

Wed, 12/12/2018 - 18:17

The hotly contested CHALLENGEFAMILY World Bonus competition concluded with Sunday’s CHALLENGEDAYTONA race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. In the final analysis, Sebastian Kienle (GER) and Pablo Dapena González (ESP) shared the top ranking for professional men, each taking home $25,000 of the combined first- and second-place bonuses. Yvonne van Vlerken (NED) claimed the women’s number one spot and the full $30,000 first-place prize.

Final Men’s World Bonus Rankings

The 2018 season was rich with spectacular CHALLENGEFAMILY races around the globe, offering points-earning opportunities in the CHALLENGEFAMILY World Bonus ranking. Both Kienle and Dapena González opted out of the final 2018 race at CHALLENGEDAYTONA, secure in their shared first-place position with 1550 points each. Kienle earned his impressive tally in races including THECHAMPIONSHIP, CHALLENGEHEILBRONN, CHALLENGEROTH, CHALLENGETURKU, and CHALLENGEWALCHSEE.

“I’m extremely happy with this shared first place. Pablo also deserves this win. He raced hard for victory in the World Bonus series,” said Kienle. “Of course it would have been great to be the ultimate champion, but due to an injury, I wasn’t able to compete at CHALLENGESARDINIA as originally planned. In the end, it’s been a great year for me with some really nice races, so I’m definitely happy to share the win.”


“For me, this bonus completes a fantastic season in which I have performed consistently throughout the year. The simple fact of being tied with someone of Sebi’s calibre is a true honour. I’m very proud of what I have achieved,” said Dapena González.

Jaroslav Kovačič (SLO) earned a solid third in the men’s rankings, secure in his position with 1475 points after winning the CHALLENGEDALMERE-AMSTERDAM race. His third-place finish was awarded with a $15,000 World Bonus prize.

In a dramatic finish to the men’s World Bonus ranking battle, Pieter Heemeryck (BEL) pulled off a powerful overall victory at CHALLENGEDAYTONA, beating the likes of aggressive uber-bikers Andrew Starykowicz (USA) and Cameron Wurf (AUS). With the win, Heermeryck added 250 points to his tally, finishing with 1250 total points. The sum was enough to pass both Wurf and Dylan McNeice (NZL) in the World Bonus ranking, earning fourth place and a $12,000 bonus. Wurf ended fifth with 1050 World Bonus points and took home $5,000. Thanks to Heemeryck’s CHALLENGEDAYTONA win, McNeice fell out of the top five and the bonus earnings, finishing just shy of Wurf with 1040 total points.

Find the full final men’s CHALLENGEFAMILY World Bonus 2018 standings.

Final Women’s World Bonus Rankings

After a close rivalry throughout the season, Van Vlerken enjoyed a 50-point lead over Laura Siddall (GBR) and a clear win, as neither woman chose to compete in the final race in the series. With a total of 1500 points, van Vlerken earned the largest individual share of the World Bonus, claiming $30,000 for her efforts.

“It’s amazing to win the CHALLENGEFAMILY World Bonus again,” said van Vlerken, who also scored the top spot in 2017 and was second in 2016. “Since the World Bonus was introduced three years ago, it’s been a great initiative. More and more stronger pros are starting at each race, hoping to win a share of the bonus, which is great for our sport. I always love to race a lot of CHALLENGEFAMILY events throughout the year, and winning the World Bonus is a huge reward in return.”

Just 50 points behind van Vlerken was Siddall, finishing as runner-up to the Dutch athlete for the second consecutive year. Her 1450-point tally earned a $20,000 bonus prize.

“I’m thrilled to finish second in the Challenge Family World Bonus rankings. I would have loved to turn the tables on Yvonne and win this year, but to finish second for the second year in a row is very big for me,” said Siddall. “The World Bonus is a fantastic initiative by CHALLENGEFAMILY for the pros. There are no other race series or events that provide such a significant bonus payout, and this makes a huge difference to me. However, that’s not the only reason I participate. It’s also about the amazing CHALLENGEFAMILY races I get to compete in. I like to choose cool races in cool places, and I’ve certainly been able to do this through the CHALLENGEFAMILY race offerings.”

It was Lisa Roberts (USA) who shook things up in the women’s rankings with a fifth-place finish at CHALLENGEDAYTONA. Before the race start on Sunday, she was tied for third position Katrien Verstuyft (BEL); both triathletes had 1100 points in total. Verstuyft did not race at Daytona, and therefore Roberts had an open opportunity to move up in the rankings. Her fifth-place finish increased her point tally to 1175, earning a $15,000 bonus. Verstuyft dropped to fourth but still took home a $12,000 share of the prize purse. Margie Santimaria (ITA) ended fifth, earning 790 points and $5,000.

Find the full final women’s CHALLENGEFAMILY World Bonus 2018 standings.

Challenge Family World Bonus Explained

The $165,000 end-of-season bonus pays five deep across both male and female professional fields, with the top-ranked pro taking home $30,000. Second place claims a bonus of $20,000. Third, fourth, and fifth positions pay $15,000, $12,000, and $5,000 respectively. Ranking is decided through a fair points system based on placings earned. In the event of a tie, the prize money is averaged between the two athletes and their corresponding finish positions. A full explanation of the points system may be found here

Categories: Triathlon News

Pieter Heemeryck and Sarah Haskins win Inaugural Challenge Daytona

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 17:17

More than 1500 athletes made history at the inaugural Challenge Daytona at Daytona International Speedway, December 8-9. Over the course of two days of racing, competitors saw a range of weather conditions. Clear skies and sunshine dominated Saturday’s Sprint Distance, Junior Challenge, and 5K/10K events, while late morning thunderstorms necessitated safety-related modifications to Sunday’s Middle Distance professional and amateur events.

The professional race, originally slated as a Middle Distance triathlon (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run), was delayed until 12:45 p.m. and altered to cover a 1-mile swim, 37.5-mile bike, and 8.2-mile run. The shorter distance event took place entirely within Daytona International Speedway, offering spectators—including age-group athletes who were finished with the morning’s modified amateur race—unprecedented access to view the pros in the heat of competition. The bike course was of particular note, consisting of 15 laps around the iconic motorsports track.

Adding to the typical race atmosphere, the course changes and weather conditions also impacted the live tracking and timing systems during the pro race, leaving timing sensors on the bike and run courses unreadable. What the weather couldn’t dampen, however, was the utterly dynamic aspect of the multi-lap pro race. The energy was electric among spectators cheering on the pros as they flew past, time and time again.

Men’s Race

It was no surprise to see Andy Potts (USA) emerge first out of the water in 19:24, followed by Dylan McNeice (NZL) and John Kenny (USA), 20 and 24 seconds later respectively. Uber-bikers Andrew Starykowicz (USA) and Cameron Wurf (AUS) were more than a minute behind race leader Potts heading into T1. But the chase was on as soon as they reached their bikes, and by lap three Wurf moved to the front of the race. Potts, showing fatigue on the heels of a full-distance race last weekend, began to fade as the power positions shifted at the front of the field.

Soon it was Wurf in the lead, Starykowicz in second, and Pieter Heemeryck (BEL) in third. Yet another jostling of position would occur within a few more laps, when Starykowicz seized the lead, and did nothing but lengthen it as he continued to power around the Daytona International Speedway. Meanwhile, a chase group including Santiago Ascenco (BRA) and Taylor Reid (CAN) worked hard to keep the leaders within range. Surprisingly, Matt Russell (USA) appeared to be struggling, having exited the swim in arrears of many of his rivals, and falling behind the chase group on the bike.

Ultimately, no one could match Starykowicz’ aggressive cycling pace, and the diehard NASCAR fan finished the bike in 1:17:24, nearly two and a half minutes faster than Wurf. It was no secret that Starykowicz wanted this win and the chance to cross the iconic Daytona International Speedway finish line first. But another man on a mission, Heemeryck usurped his dream of victory with a lightning-fast 44:51 run split, moving into first and never looking back. The only man to run faster than Heemeryck, Ascenco turned in a run time of 44:49 to earn his spot on the podium in third behind runner-up Starykowicz. Reid also posted an impressive run (46:21) to earn fourth, and Russell used his never-give-up grit to gain several positions, finishing fifth.

“My goal with this race was to move up into fourth in the Challenge Family World Bonus ranking. I was here on a mission to do that—but I won!” said men’s champion Heermeryck. “I never would have imagined I could win over a guy like Andrew Starykowicz. It was incredible. On the last lap of the run, thinking that I was going to be the first winner of this race—that is a pretty cool feeling!”

Women’s Race

With four world-class swimmers headlining the women’s race, it was anyone’s guess which of the group would lead out of the waters of Lake Lloyd. Sarah Haskins (USA) was first to shore, followed closely by Lauren Goss (USA); a minute and a half passed before the next swimming stars emerged, with Meredith Kessler (USA) and Alicia Kaye (USA) exiting nearly in tandem.

Although Goss sped through transition and momentarily took the lead from Haskins heading onto the bike course, it was a short-lived victory. Haskins soon regained the lead, and then in the winning form that this seasoned pro knows so well, refused to relinquish her grip on the title for the remainder of the bike and run. Goss held onto second place for the first few laps, but soon she began to struggle and was overtaken by Kessler, who moved into third. Goss eventually pulled out prior to the run.

As Haskins ticked off lap upon lap, she managed to grow her lead to a solid three minutes, entering T2 well ahead of Kaye and Kessler. She only increased her pace on the run, delivering a blistering 50:53 run split and ultimately building her advantage to 5:06, finishing in a winning time of 2:42:52. Kaye also delivered a powerful performance, and although at one point the gap between her and Kessler shrunk to less than a minute, she stayed strong and steady to finish second. Kessler crossed the line in 2:50:35, after stopping to collect one-year-old son MAK in the final yards and celebrate her third-place finish with him. The women’s top five was completed with two other Americans, Laura Matthews and Lisa Roberts.

“I’ve been racing for 15 years and this is truly one of the coolest experiences I have ever had racing. The venue, the organizers, the volunteers, the fans—just incredible. And it turned out to be a beautiful day!” said women’s winner Haskins. “Getting to meet the age group athletes, getting to do the women’s panel and meet so many other women competitors—it all meant so much to me. This is such a special win. And it was a last minute decision, but I couldn’t be happier to be here.”

Today’s results mean that Roberts remains third in the CHALLENGEFAMILY World Bonus ranking, while Heemeryck moves into fourth place.
In closing the weekend’s events CHALLENGEFAMILY CEO Zibi Szflucik said this:

As endurance sport athletes, and as endurance event organizers, it’s important to be able to adapt on the fly in the face of adversity. When we realized we would need to make changes to both the age group and professional races, our team came together and determined the safest, best experience that we could give our athletes. Then we got to work and delivered. We are thrilled that we could send so many competitors home with huge smiles, having accomplished a hard-earned goal. That’s really what CHALLENGEFAMILYracing is all about.

The Challenge Daytona festival weekend was the first of its kind at Daytona International Speedway. The schedule of family-friendly events offered something for every level of athlete, including Sprint and Middle Distance Triathlons, the Junior Challenge kids’ race, Relay categories, Duathlon and Aquabike events, and 5K/10K run/walk events. The top six male and female finishers in each Middle Distance Triathlon age group qualified for entry in THECHAMPIONSHIP, to be held on June 2nd 2019 at the x-bionic sphere in Samorin, Slovakia.

Categories: Triathlon News

Comeback Queen Lawerence Wins While Blummenfelt Sets New Ironman 70.3 World Best Time in Middle East Championship Title in Bahrain

Sun, 12/09/2018 - 10:35

Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt has set a new Ironman 70.3 world best time after racing to victory in Bahrain, successfully defending his Middle East Championship title in the process.

There was also another heroic display from Great Britain’s Holly Lawrence, who joined Blummenfelt by defending her 2017 title after seeing off the gutsy challenge of compatriot Sarah Lewis, cheered on by thousands of fans on a thrilling race day in the Middle East.

But it was the powerful display from the Bergen-born Blummenfelt that captured the imagination on a near-perfect day conditions-wise in Bahrain. His official time of 3:29:04 beat the previous world best of 3:34:04, held by Germany’s Michael Raelert, by five minutes.

After exiting the swim course in sixth place, some 38 seconds adrift of the leader Eric Watson, Blummenfelt quickly got himself into contention on the bike leg, taking the lead after 28km in front of his fellow countrymen Caspar Stornes and Gustav Iden, as well as Britain’s Adam Bowden.

The group continued to battle it out as they moved into the Bahrain International Circuit, famous for its annual Formula 1 race, with the lead changing hands between Iden and Blummenfelt, before the latter emerged at the front from T2.

A gruelling 21.1km run course awaited, and Iden was in no mood to give up the fight and led the way in the early stages. However, Blummenfelt was refusing to hand over the title he won so memorably in 2017, and by the 13.5km stage, he was back in front, a lead he never relinquished. The 24-year-old finished the race with an average kilometre split of three minutes 20 seconds on the run course, a phenomenal pace.

With history made in the elite men’s field, all attention now turned to the women’s race to see if Holly Lawrence – the 2016 IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion – could keep hold of her 2017 crown. Having exited the swim with a lead of over a minute from Australian Ellie Salthouse, Lawrence seemed to struggle in the first few kilometres of the bike leg before regaining the ascendency and moving into T2 again with a lead over Salthouse.

The 28-year-old Lawrence – who competed for Wales in the 2014 Commonwealth Games – never looked like letting her grip on the Middle East Championship weaken, and she powered home on the run course to finish in 3:59:20, 52 seconds ahead of compatriot Sarah Lewis, who had overtaken Salthouse earlier during the final leg of the day.

Top three professional men’s results:

SWIM BIKE RUN FINISH 1. Kristian Blummenfelt NOR 00:21:36 1:56:52 1:06:58 03:29:04 2. Gustav Iden NOR 00:22:03 1:56:37 1:07:13 03:29:25 3. Casper Stornes NOR 00:21:30 1:56:32 1:11:15 03:33:31




Top three professional women’s results:

SWIM BIKE RUN FINISH 1. Holly Lawrence GBR 00:22:10 2:10:43 1:21:55 03:59:20 2. Sarah Lewis GBR 00:24:28 2:12:15 1:18:41 04:00:13 3. Ellie Salthouse AUS 00:23:14 2:12:16 1:26:36 04:06:25





Categories: Triathlon News

Kevin Fergusson delivers his three-year promise to mate Sid James at Ironman Western Australia

Fri, 12/07/2018 - 07:00

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house at IRONMAN Western Australia when Adelaide’s Kevin Fergusson delivered on his three-year promise to his mate Sid James to make him an IRONMAN.

Sid’s dream to race IRONMAN was shattered 25 years ago when he knocked from his bike during a training ride near his home at Victor Harbor, south of Adelaide, leaving him quadriplegic but triathlon’s dynamic duo brought their own special brand of magic to the West in the ultimate display of mateship, loyalty, devotion and selflessness.

Kevin, who has finished more than 30 IRONMAN races, including five IRONMAN World Championships, winning his age group twice, put his body through hell to share the dream of becoming an IRONMAN with his longtime friend.

The 59-year-old Fergusson wore a harness and towed an inflatable kayak containing 60-year-old Sid on the 3.8 kilometre swim leg, he then towed Sid for 180 kilometres in a trolley attached to his bike and on the marathon pushed his mate in a specially designed wheelchair 42.2 kilometres to IRONMAN glory at the finish line on the Busselton foreshore.

Kevin’s expectation was to complete the course in under 17 hours but with the help of fans and supporters along the entire IRONMAN Western Australia course, he smashed out an unbelievable IRONMAN with his best mate, clocking a sensational 14:38:28.

Wherever Kevin and Sid went over the weekend they were treated like “rockstars” but the Busselton crowd kept the best to the very last, bringing the duo home in the style befitting legends, with an emotion-charged stroll down the finish chute.

Kevin and Sid were welcome with one of the noisiest greetings IRONMAN Western Australia has ever produced, a standing ovation and the words they both longed to hear


Sid was delighted with the result his old mate produced on the day, with Kevin set the day up with a sensational 1:11:44 swim, an 8:32.06 cycle leg and finally a 4:38:29 marathon.

“I am stoked with our time, Kevin said. “I thought if I can get seventeen hours I would have been happy. The cut off on the bike was a worry but we smashed that as well. I can’t believe it. I know the support of the crowd cheering us on gave me the inspiration to go harder and get a good time. I said I wasn’t going to race this but when you get out there you start racing. Yes, I did end up racing it.”

“It is one of the toughest things I have ever done. It was a tough day out there but the first lap on the bike was amazing and the wind was down. I think we went around in 3:45 or 3:50 for the 90km but on the second lap the wind picked up and it was really tough and it really slowed us down. My legs were shattered and I didn’t think I would be able to run at all. By the time we looked after Sid in the transition and got out onto the run, I thought I would take it easy and try and plod along. But I managed to run the whole marathon so I was absolutely stoked.”

“Around about the 40km mark of the run I said to Sid this last bit is going to be so hard. I said, ‘We are not going to run, we will walk down it and lap it up’. It has been three years in the making and to finally get there and make him an IRONMAN, which has been his dream for 25 years, the reward of the finish line was just mind-blowing.”

“The crowd support all along the course was amazing and just here in the finish line and the standing ovation and the spontaneous applause in the recovery tent was outstanding. I can’t believe it. To me, it is so, so rewarding to see Sid out there. He had a ball, he loved it. He had a bit of a sleep on the bike but he always does that. I am really happy with how things went, except for the flat tyre on the last lap of the run.”

“Sid needs a lot of care and then there is the logistics of getting over here from Adelaide, special beds and lifts and all sorts of things. It has been a remarkable team effort from a lot of people here and in Adelaide and we couldn’t have done it without them,” a teary Kevin said.

For Sid James, it was an occasion that was overwhelming and he was almost speechless with the finish line greeting honouring him and his buddy Kevin.

“People along the course knew who we were and what we were doing. It was amazing, every single one of them was cheering us on. I only had one little snooze on the bike.”

“The crowd coming in was deafening, absolutely deafening. As soon as we turned into the chute I started crying. I didn’t think that I would ever be an IRONMAN. I didn’t think it was possible, I really didn’t think it could happen. Kevin is an idiot for taking this on, he really is, but he is a great idiot and I owe him so much,” a delighted Sid said.

Categories: Triathlon News

In His Own Words: Winning a Third Time at Ironman Western Australia

Thu, 12/06/2018 - 08:57

I can’t think of a sweeter way to mark my comeback. Ironman Western Australia was always going to be a little hit and miss, but I am so happy I managed to hang tough and dig deep to come away with the victory. There were big question marks over a bunch of things which meant everything was going to have to roll my way through the race, well at least I would have to pull out all the stops and use every bit of experience and all those miles that were in the bank from all my years of training and racing. Would my head hold together? Would my Achilles hold together? What was going to happen after 21km of running seeing though that was my longest run and that was done last weekend? And did I remember how to race an Ironman…???

I pushed hard off the start of the swim to see if I could get clear of the group. At 500m I looked over my shoulder and saw that I had a small gap. Leading the swim is quite foreign for me, usually, I am on the feet of the leader but this was a great opportunity to see how I could handle the 3.8km swim solo. I managed to slowly work my way to a minute lead coming into T1. Heading onto the bike and the legs felt good. The power was coming out as expected. At 20km I got a bit of a surprise when Cam Wurf rolled past, I was hoping to have a little more of a buffer on the ex-pro cyclist, but he had a great swim with the group and was doing some serious damage to the field. I thought about riding with me… for about 1 minute then I decided to stick to my plan and back that my numbers would get me to the finish in the most timely way.

His lead over me kept opening through the bike and fortunately our lead on the field was opening at about twice the rate. Off the bike he had 4 minutes on me and on reflection I am pretty happy to have come off in relative contention with the strongest cyclist currently in our sport.

Onto the marathon and ticking through the first few kilometres quite well I thought I would be eating into my deficit, but Wurf was holding even and again I had to back myself that he would slowly come back to me… at some stage! Patience, while not one of my strong personality traits paid off out there and at 30km I had made up the 4 minutes. Boy oh boy did things start to hurt next level at this point, my legs felt like all power had gone and I was worried a little walk was due any minute. As in life, the highs and lows of a race are always there and working through those low patches is what makes the highs so much sweeter.

I gritted my teeth and dug deep in the well to open a gap and build my lead over the closing 10kms. Breaking the tap and winning for the third consecutive year here in Busselton put all those struggles over the past 5 months into perspective.

I was very fortunate to have my physio and good friend Tawhai Whitewood up here with me, he made sure my body was in working order… with a few strips of tape to hold things together, but we got through it!

Up to Bahrain for the 70.3 this weekend. I am really hoping that I can get the body recovered enough to get on the start line, I guess the next 3 days are going to be crucial!!!

Categories: Triathlon News

Join Craig Alexander and Celebrate 20 years of Aquathon

Wed, 12/05/2018 - 07:22

Over the past 20 years, the MMJ Australia Day Aquathon has become the premier Aquathon swim-run in Australia and a household name in the Illawarra. Held annually on Australia Day, January 26, at the beautiful Wollongong Harbour, 80k south of Sydney, the event draws a big crowd and huge buzz.

Aquathon (aquathlon/biathlon..) were once a major feature on the triathlon calendar and with the growth of swim-run events, are once again on the rise. The Australia Day Aquathon continues to be the benchmark swim-run, the largest in the country with a rich history.

Whilst the list of elites on display has seen the likes of Gwen Jorgensen, Jake Birtwhistle, Aaron Royle, Ashleigh Gentle, Craig Alexander, Jodie Stimpson, Ryan Bailie, Charlotte McShane, Emma Jeffcoat, and many an international triathlon vie for honours, the real heart of the event is the all ages from kids, novices and age groupers all out for a fun Aussie day swim-run.

‘Aquathon is based on participation, community and enjoying a fun Australia Day experience. For some it is competitive, for most it is a fun and a unique Australia Day activity, where you can take part with the family, a mate and rub shoulders with some big names in the triathlon world’ said Rob Battocchio, Event Director.

Since its inception, over 12,000 participants have taken part, and each year over 1500 line up in the Aquathon events, and a few hundred more in the fun run-walk.

“Aquathon is a launching pad for up and coming triathletes with the likes of Aaron Royle, Jake Birtwistle, Charlotte McShane who participated in Aquathon at a young age and have now moved on to represent their sport or Triathlon at the highest level,” Mr Battocchio said.

“In 2019, HPT triathlon squad is expected to lead the long Aquathon honours with Emma Jeffcoat and Nathan Breen are set to lead the charge, though each year there are often a few last minute international elites entering”

Australian Ironman hero, Craig Alexander, has made the event an annual feature for his family and is set to return for their 4th time in 2019.

“I have always loved Aquathons, in fact I raced several before I attempted a triathlon. They are a lot of fun and a great way to build or test your fitness. My family and I have participated in the Australia Day Aquathon for 3 years now. There are a range of events of different distances to cater for all ages and levels of ability. It really is a family atmosphere and a fun and healthy way to kick off Australia Day. I might even take on the Long Aqua this year for a bit of fun..”

Aquathon features four swim-run events in increasing distance to choose from including Kids (120m/2k 6-9yrs) and (200m/2k 10-12yrs); Mini (200m /2k); Short (400m / 3k) and Long (900m/7k) along the popular 4k fun run-walk.

Participants can opt to participate individually and take on the full swim and run, or tag team style which is perfect for those who don’t want to do the full event. Simply grab a mate, one runs and one swims – it’s that easy!

Get your tri club kit on, bring the family and join in.

To celebrate the 20th Anniversary, Aquathon is inviting past participants to come back to Aquathon to re-live the memories.

“Whether you participated two years ago or 20 years ago, I encourage you to come out of the woodwork and give this year a crack! I’m sure there are many ex-triathletes, runners or swimmers who have pounded the pavements and swam around the yachts in the harbour in years gone by. I challenge you to dust off your speedos and joggers and register for this year’s event” Mr Battocchio said.

Aquathon is all about fun, fitness and family, “Maybe since you’ve last done an Aquathon, you’ve got kids or even grandkids now. Bring them along and make it a family event for everyone and kick off your morning with a beautiful swim and run around the harbour!’ Mr Battocchio said.

Event Day Details

Date: Saturday 26 January

Location: Belmore Basin, Wollongong Harbour

Start: 8am for Long Course, to close out with the walk at 10am.

Event Website:

Categories: Triathlon News

Improve Your Stability to be a Better Triathlete

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 08:18

The number of triathletes I see flopping around on the saddles of their bikes like fish out of water is scary. While incorrect set-up on the bike is one of the causes of this hyper-mobility through the lower back and hips, just as big of a contributor to this loss of efficiency is a lack of functional stability.

Not only does this leave you open to developing all sorts of overuse injuries but it also means much of the power and torque that you could be delivered to the pedals is lost and wasted as it is dissipated back up through your butt and lower back and hips. The purpose of this article is to provide you with a series of basic functional stability exercises to help you ‘lock off’ your pelvic (and shoulder) girdle(s) and deliver the power directly to where it needs to go – the pedals – to drive you along the road a couple of kilometres per hour faster.

The squat

Stand with your feet approximately 10 centimetres apart and pointing straight ahead. Squat down to about a 30-degree angle at the knee (shallow squat). Draw your belly button in towards your spinal column and keep your butt tight, at the same time flattening out your back. Place your hands on the outside of your knees. Push in with your hands, out with your knees. Weight is on the mid-arch to heel of your feet. From here, do three of each of the following movements – side to side, circle right, circle left, figure eight, front to back.

Lower from 30-degrees to 45-degrees (a half squat position) and repeat the above movements once more.

Lower from the half-squat to full squat position, with quadriceps almost parallel to the ground and repeat the movements once again.
Then return to the initial squat position and squat up and down five times with your toes straight – then your toes turned out slightly – and once more with your toes turned in slightly.


Place your feet wide apart, bend your arms and legs and place your hands on the ground. Straighten your arms, then straighten your legs. Repeat this sequence three-to-five times with your toes straight ahead, then with them pointing out, and again with them pointing in.

Then complete the above sequence, but this time with your feet together. Then, with your feet wide apart, place your hands on the ground in front of you. Keep your abs tight, butt back and back flat. Rotate your hips from side to side 10 times.

The sumo wrestler

With your feet slightly wider than shoulder width and your toes straight, place your elbows in between your knees, hands together. Squeeze in with your knees.
From that position, do three of each of the following movements – side to side, circle right, circle left, figure eight, front to back.
Shoulder shrugs

Stand with your feet at shoulder distance apart. Bring your shoulders straight up and down, as much as you can move them three or four times. Then return to the starting position. Then move your shoulders forward as if to pinch your pectorals together. Repeat this three-to-five times. Once again, return to your starting position. Next up, move your shoulders down and in as if you’re pinching your shoulder blades together. Repeat this three-to-five times. The aim of this is to help you stabilise your shoulder girdle.


Lie on your back, bend your knees and place your feet underneath them, keep your feet pointed straight ahead and approximately 30-centimetres from your butt. Push your hips up so that your lower back and upper legs are in a straight line. Hold this position for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times. Squeeze your butt cheeks together when in this raised position.

For variation, return to the starting position. This time, bring your hips up as in the previous motion but this time extend one leg out straight, and hold for 10 seconds. With your leg still extended, push back up to this raised position 10 times. Repeat the sequence using the other leg.

The plank and variations

Lie on your front with your elbows bent and under your chest. Push your body up from the floor so that your back is straight. Draw your belly button in (as though stopping the urine flow midway through a wee) and hold this elevated position for 30-seconds.

Then lie on your side with your elbow directly beneath your shoulder. Make a straight line from your feet to knees, hips and shoulders. Lift your hips up in a this ‘side plank’ position and hold for another 30 seconds. Return to your starting position on both elbows and then move to the opposite side and repeat the sequence.


Lying on your stomach with your arms outstretched and legs straight, lift your arms and legs off the ground by contracting your lower back and hold for 30-seconds. Repeat the sequence 10 times.

Once you’ve completed this series of exercises, be sure to stretch your lower back and abdominals.

As a consequence of our largely sedentary lifestyle, many of our functional stability muscles become dysfunctional and lax. As a consequence, the base of support we require from which to leverage on the bike is less stable. Training these functional stabilisers with half a dozen exercises as suggested above will give you the edge when it comes to improving your efficiency on the bike, as well as swimming and running.

Categories: Triathlon News

Ready? Set? Challenge Daytona. Here’s the Lineup for Next weekend.

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 07:00

An impressive international field of professional triathletes will assemble on the CHALLENGE DAYTONA Middle Distance start line at Daytona International Speedway. These world-class, fiercely competitive athletes are eager to cross the checkered-flag finish line and lay claim to the first triathlon titles ever awarded at the “World Center of Racing.”

The Men’s Field

Among the professional men are a number of the sport’s top cyclists, including two-time Kona-course-record-crusher Cameron Wurf (AUS). Wurf is ready to push the pace in a battle royale against the rest of the men. His competition includes uber-biker Andrew Starykowicz (USA), known for his all-out aggressive racing style. Equally, powerful podium contenders are top Americans Andy Potts (USA), a two-time Olympian and World Champion, and Matt Russell (USA), who finished sixth in the world in Hawaii, just one year after a life-threatening accident.

Kevin Collington (USA) and Jarrod Shoemaker (USA) both hail from ITU (Olympic-distance, draft-format) racing backgrounds. Collington, a collegiate swimmer, has found his niche in long-course triathlon, scoring a U.S. Pro Championship title in 2013 and earning multiple podium finishes. Shoemaker, an Olympian and multi-time World and U.S. National Champion in ITU triathlon and duathlon, known best for his run prowess, is sure to turn in a blistering half marathon at CHALLENGE DAYTONA.

Adding interest to the men’s field is Dylan McNeice (NZL). McNeice is no stranger to victory at CHALLENGEFAMILY events, owning numerous titles including CHALLENGEWANAKA Champion and CHALLENGETAIWAN Champion. Either McNeice or Potts, both supremely swift swimmers, are likely to celebrate being first out of the water at Daytona International Speedway’s Lake Lloyd. Another CHALLENGEFAMILY race regular is Pieter Heemeryck (BEL), victorious at CHALLENGEGERAARDSBERGEN and CHALLENGESARDINIA 2018 and also in the running for a top finish in the 2018 CHALLENGEFAMILY World Bonus ranking.

Also among the top professional men is Peter Kotland (USA), a 20-year veteran of the pro ranks with a collection of titles in the marathon and full and ultra-distance triathlon, including the Ultraman World Championship. He’s joined by pros Steve Zawaski (USA) and Ricky Flynn (USA), both of whom balance traditional careers in addition to pursuing their triathlon passions.

The Women’s Field

Headlining the women’s professional field are a number of notable contenders, a trio of whom have transitioned from ITU racing to long-course success and commonly compete against one another, racing toe-to-toe. Sarah Haskins (USA) represented Team USA at the 2008 Olympics, then went on to win gold at the 2011 Pan American Games. Now, a multi-time triathlon champion and mother of two, she’s ready to put her experience to the test at Daytona International Speedway. She’ll face two of her fiercest rivals in fellow ITU alums Alicia Kaye (USA), a Florida local, and Lauren Goss (USA). Both women own numerous Olympic and middle-distance triathlon titles and are among the fastest in the field.

Also contending for the title is Meredith Kessler (USA). No woman’s place on the podium is ever secure when Kessler steps up to the start line. Known for her prolific racing and winning, as well as her gritty, never-give-up approach, Kessler holds both middle and full distance titles in the double digits. Her 2018 season has marked a return to sport with added motivation since the birth of her baby boy in November 2017. Given the swim prowess of Kessler, Haskins, Kaye, and Goss, the battle will be on between these women from the very first stroke.

Another phenom among the professional women is Lisa Roberts (USA), a former collegiate cross-country and track star who now claims four full-distance triathlon titles, including CHALLENGEVENICE. Roberts is a frequent CHALLENGEFAMILY competitor, currently ranked third in the 2018 CHALLENGEFAMILY World Bonus standings. Pro Kelly O’Mara (USA) joined the professional ranks in 2017 after scoring the overall amateur women’s victory at the storied Wildflower Triathlon in 2016. She now balances her time between training, racing, and reporting for numerous media outlets, including Triathlete Magazine.


Adding an extra level of rivalry to the race, CHALLENGEDAYTONA marks the final competition in the 2018 CHALLENGEFAMILY World Bonus series, wherein professional athletes will share a total bonus prize purse of $165,000. Several athletes have strategically targeted the event as their last-blast opportunity to earn a solid share of the winnings. While the top three overall men’s rankings are secure, the next three spots are up for grabs in an extremely tight race between Wurf (currently 4th), Heemeryck (currently 5th), and McNeice (currently 6th). Whichever man turns in the best performance on the day will have an opportunity to jostle the standings and win the race within the race. Likewise, in the women’s field, Roberts (currently 3rd) hopes to move higher up in the final top three rankings with a strong race at CHALLENGEDAYTONA.

Categories: Triathlon News

Comebacks, Records and Debuts Were on the Cards at Ironman Western Australia

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 06:37

IRONMAN Western Australia celebrated its fifteenth anniversary in style, with defending champion Kiwi Terenzo Bozzone and Swiss superstar Caroline Steffen both returning to the winner’s circle with stunning performances in near perfect racing conditions.

For Bozzone, his IRONMAN title defence was the culmination of five months of rehabilitation, uncertainty and sheer hard work, following a road accident that left him smashed up and his career in limbo.

“I am a little emotional at the moment,” he said immediately crossing the finish line. “Going into IRONMAN 70.3 Western Sydney last week I had no expectations but when that race turned out quite well, it was quite hard not to start to put expectations on myself. So, I just tried to go back through the processes and remind myself that I am just stoked to be here and able to race.”

“There were some really tough patches out there. I just had to back myself and back that my experience over the distance was going to be good enough. With Cam up the road on the bike, I did get carried away a little bit. I thought I would just ride slightly higher power than usual and I paid for it quite big in the last hour of the bike.”

“In the first ten km of the marathon Cam and I were running dead even splits and I was starting to freak out but then the competitive side of me kicked in. I had the thought of my kids back home and I wanted to give everything. I caught Cam at about 30km on the run and tried to make a bit of a move but the wind just took the sting out of my legs. I waited for him and he pulled up to me at the far turnaround. I thought I am either going to go now and try and make a move or I will go backwards very quickly. I tried to use the tailwind to open up a bit of a lead and thankfully Cam let me go. Then I just had to stay tough and keep reminding myself why I am here and that I am lucky to be doing it.”

“I do enjoy coming to Busso and to win three titles and put my mark on the race is very special to me. I love the run course here. Coming through town eight times on the run is very special. It is very unlike Kona where you get stuck out on the Queen K and the Energy Lab without a lot of support. Everyone out here kept lifting my spirit and even though I am not an Aussie they definitely embrace me as their own. They give me a lot of encouragement and support, and I am very thankful for that,” he said.

Former Olympic sculler, professional cyclist turned IRONMAN, Tasmania’s Cameron Wurf was delighted with his second place and a year that has seen him make amazing progress.

“For me, it was probably one of the best races I have ever done. I had a great swim, a good solid bike and one of my best runs. I talked up the bike to put the guys off what was my real goals were, to have a great swim and run. I really wanted to qualify for Kona and I needed to be in the top two, so that was my number one priority.”

“I wanted to put the guys away as early as possible in the race and I was able to do that with everyone but Terenzo. You race to win but Terenzo is a great champion and you have to be on your very best to have a chance of beating him. This is the closest I have come to someone of his quality, so it is a huge step for me and it was great to be out there duking it out in the finish.”

“I have had a great year. I have done eight IRONMAN races, finished them all and was on the podium in all but two. Even those were both top ten finishes. I am in the second year of a project of trying to win in Hawaii and It has been a great progression on last year. I have qualified for Kona now, so I will have good Christmas and then focus on a long-term approach to preparing for the IRONMAN World Champs in October,” he said.

With 11-month-old son, Xander waiting at the finish line it was a delighted Caroline Steffen who celebrated her return to IRONMAN racing after a break of three years, by setting a new IRONMAN Western Australia course record (8:49:45).

“I got into Busselton on Wednesday, had my first swim and everything and I clicked with the place straight away. I think it is absolutely stunning and it is important to me to like the place where I am racing. I feel happy and confident. There aren’t too many spots in the world with such a great venue. I got a bit confused with all the U-Turns but I loved running alongside the ocean. It is beautiful, with good roads and very safe. I loved the course and the swim was just stunning, absolutely stunning.”

“Being away from IRONMAN for so long I was a bit out of routine this morning and my mind was still on 70.3 racing until halfway through when I thought ‘Oh it is quite a bit longer’. It was hard but I felt so happy out there and I loved the course. I just focused on what I could do and to be the best I could be on the day. Sometimes it is enough to win, sometimes not and today it was enough to win and also set a new course record. So I am over the moon, very happy.”

“The last IRONMAN I did was Kona 2015 and in my eyes, I had an absolute shocker. I’d had enough, it was too hard and my body wouldn’t manage it anymore, so I focused on 70.3 for a few years and then I had enough of that too. So, I had a baby break and my coach (Brett Sutton) reckoned I could go really fast, so we gave it a shot today and it looks like he is right again. I will definitely take the Kona spot but we will see what happens, I promised my little boy that it was the last day of work for mum and I will have a family Christmas and more time for him now,” she said.

Despite a limited preparation, Chilean Olympian Barbara Riveros impressed everyone to grab the second podium spot in Busselton in her IRONMAN debut.

“My first impressions of IRONMAN is that it is really mental and really tough. I only had four weeks of IRONMAN training for this, so I had a really honest day out there. I swam with Caroline and the bike was solo and I controlled myself and was very pleased with it. I paid a bit on the run but overall I am pretty happy with my performance.”

“I have never done a marathon before today, so I just kept in the moment. Off the bike, my back was really tight, so I was slowly trying to loosen it up. At halfway I thought ‘Oh my god, I have another 21km to go’ but I didn’t die too much on the run and I kept it as steady as I could. I was happy to keep in the moment do all my nutrition right. I have never been to Western Australia before, so it is really cool to be here and learn about this side of Australia,” she said.


1          Terenzo BOZZONE (#1)         07:56:00          00:48:47            04:12:11          02:51:12

2          Cameron WURF (#3)              07:57:40          00:49:54            04:07:13          02:56:29

3          Matt BURTON (#8)                 08:07:18          00:52:16            04:16:20          02:53:40


1          Caroline STEFFEN (#30)       08:49:45          00:53:53            04:44:51          03:06:13

2          Barbara RIVEROS (#33)        09:08:08          00:53:59            04:58:46          03:10:55

3          Dimity-Lee DUKE (#37)          09:15:36          01:00:31            04:59:08          03:10:41

Categories: Triathlon News

Kylie Jones Continues to Prove Anything Is Possible at Ironman Western Australia

Sat, 12/01/2018 - 10:06

When Kylie Jones lines up at IRONMAN Western Australia it will another amazing achievement in a roller coaster journey that started 11 year years ago, when just 32 she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

At the end of 2006, Kylie found a hard pea type lump in right breast. Despite no family history of breast cancer, she went to the doctors to get it checked out and after an ultrasound and fine needle biopsy, she was referred to a breast cancer surgeon for further investigation.

“I can’t quite explain the feelings I felt when those words were uttered, ‘You have breast cancer’,” Kylie said. “The whole world just stops, it takes some time to fully comprehend, but then that survival instinct kicks in and you do what you need to do to get through.”

After a lumpectomy and lymph node clearance, Kylie said she was considered “cured” but due to her age, her oncologist put her through six weeks of radiotherapy.

“I managed to work through my treatment, kept up regular exercise for my sanity, which at this point was predominantly running,” she said.

With the treatment done, she decided to move from Adelaide returning to her birthplace of Shepparton with her then husband and four year old twins, to be closer to her family.

“Life was good, we had settled well into our new life, we both had good jobs, we built a house and my health was really good, six monthly check-ups, ultrasounds and mammograms were my life but a small price to pay.”

In 2010, Kylie discovered triathlon and her first race, a 600m swim, 30km ride and 7km run.

“As soon as I crossed the finish line, I was addicted. I decided the following year I was going to do a half IRONMAN, I got myself a coach and set out to training up to this distance.  I remember the first time my coach, took me out for a 90km ride, I sat in the bottom of the shower and cried thinking, how on earth am I ever going to do that then run 21km. But in November 2011, I did it.”

Loving life and about to start training for her second half in May 2012, Kylie found what I thought was another lump.

“I saw my specialist and went and got an ultrasound, this time, knowing from experience, when they started doing a couple of fine needle biopsies, I wasn’t feeling very optimistic. What I had thought was something, turned out to be old scar tissue but they found another cancer, same breast, different location. My life was being turned upside down again. Not once did I ever think this would happen to me again, but here I was being faced once again with a breast cancer diagnosis.”

Told that a mastectomy would be the best option, after a lot of careful consideration, counselling she opted to have a double mastectomy and a reconstruction, resulting in seven hours of surgery.

“A muscle had been taken from my back and moved around into my right breast to give the implant something to adhere to, a result of having radiotherapy done previously. The left breast was purely implant. Recovery from this surgery was the most difficult for me. Unable to exercise which is what keeps me sane, not sleeping and a lot of pain made for not a very pleasant time in my life. But all that turned around when I was able to start exercising again, a simple walk around the block and my whole mindset changed, I was going to be ok,” she said.

Within a month of that walk, Kylie had contacted her coach and told her I wanted to do a half IRONMAN distance event.

“I needed something for myself, something that gave me another focus than just breast cancer which had consumed my life for months. Swimming was the toughest, I couldn’t even raise my arm up to shoulder level due to the missing muscle. Through training and perseverance, I did my second half IRONMAN, four months after having a double mastectomy, something that I am very proud of.”

“This is my sixth year since my second diagnosis. I have done another six half IRONMAN, run two marathons and my greatest achievement to date, in 2015, doing my first full distance event at IRONMAN Australia. My entire family, my mum and dad, my sister and her family and my brother and his family and of course my gorgeous boys were all there in Port Macquarie to see me cross that line and hear those famous words, “Kylie Jones, you are an IRONMAN”. It still makes me cry thinking about it,” she said.

In July last year, Kylie completed her second full IRONMAN in Cairns in a personal best time, in February she completed her tenth half distance race and now she is fronting up in Busselton for her third IRONMAN.

Through her experience, Kylie has gained some amazing wisdom that she is happy to share.

“What have I learned along the way? Early detection is the key, so ladies, check yourselves.  Know your own body, you are in charge and you know your body better than anyone. I am here today due to the fact that, on both occasions, the cancer has been caught early, with no chance of spreading and taking over my body.”

“Keep smiling, keep laughing, don’t take yourself too seriously. I have been incredibly lucky to have such amazing people in my life that have always made me laugh. Live life, enjoy life, exercise, eat well but have that chocolate and have that wine, buy those shoes, don’t go through your life having regrets, life is too short to be unhappy.”

“Yes, my life journey has been hard, tough and sometimes very unfair, but I choose not to dwell on that and live my life to the fullest. I surround myself with positive and inspiring people and try not to take myself too seriously. Whatever life throws at you, get up and be the best you can be and don’t let anything stop you from achieving your dreams,” Kylie advised.

Kylie and her training partner Fiona are supporting the McGrath Foundation as part of their IRONMAN journey to ensure much needed and valued breast care nurses continue to be available to support women diagnosed with breast cancer now and into the future.

Categories: Triathlon News

Triathlon’s Dynamic Duo Dream Big at Ironman Western Australia

Sat, 12/01/2018 - 06:05

Triathlon’s dynamic duo Kevin Fergusson and Sid James are bringing their own special brand of mateship, loyalty and devotion to IRONMAN Western Australia (2 December), when Kevin will put his body through hell to share the dream of becoming an IRONMAN with his longtime friend.

Sid’s dream to race IRONMAN was shattered 25 years ago when he was knocked from his bike during a training ride near his home at Victor Harbor, south of Adelaide, leaving him a quadriplegic.

Kevin, who has finished more than 30 IRONMAN races, including five IRONMAN World Championships, winning his age group twice, will wear a harness and tow an inflatable kayak containing Sid on the 3.8 kilometre swim leg, he will tow Sid for 180 kilometres in a trolley attached to his bike and on the marathon he will push his mate in a specially designed wheelchair 42.2 kilometres to the finish line on the Busselton foreshore.

Kevin and Sid’s IRONMAN journey had a false start when Sid’s health ruled the pair from starting at the IRONMAN World Championship in 2017 but with the trip to Kona already organised, Kevin raced as an individual and Sid was given the Kona VIP treatment experience by race organisers.

“I certainly did get the VIP treatment in Hawaii. I have been running a triathlon here in South Australia for 25 years and I wondered what it was like and what goes on behind the scenes and I could never have imagined it. They put on everything that you could possibly think of to make your trip to Hawaii very special. It was wonderful to be in Kona and experience the atmosphere,” Sid recalled.

Not to be discouraged, the moment Kevin crossed the finish line the pair started planning how to finally make Sid’s dream of crossing the IRONMAN finish line a reality.

“This is something that Sid has been dreaming of for 25 years and I am a pretty determined bloke and if I set my mind to do something I normally try and finish off what I start. So, when I crossed the finish line in Kona, I put my finisher’s medal around his neck and said, ‘Your keeping that until I can get you your own around your neck’. We started planning what to do and IRONMAN Western Australia in Busselton was clearly the best option,” he said.

Kevin has raced IRONMAN Western Australia several times as an individual and while he is very familiar with the course, he knows that towing Sid around will really put him to the test.

“I think the new swim course will suit us. As you can imagine, Sid is scared of the water and going out and around the jetty would have been petrifying for him but being in close now is very reassuring for him. He can see the land which is good. With the Busselton course being flat it is also an advantage. Hawaii would have been a real push and I would have had to smash myself to get around in the bike cut off time.”

“At Murray Man, I tried to hammer the bike as hard as I could to see how fast I could go and I managed to get under four hours which I was stoked with. It doesn’t sound fast but I was towing Sid around and it was pretty windy. Some of the roads in Busso are pretty dead and I know Busso is always windy and in a headwind the cart really slows down. It is like having a parachute and the harder you push the more resistance you get. I have to try and find a balance. I can’t go too hard but I can’t be slack either or we don’t make the cut-off. Which is my biggest fear.”

Kevin said that there are so many aspects to the life of a quadriplegic that people don’t understand and he is full of praise for his mate who is fully committed to doing his bit to make the dream a reality.

“One of the races at Murray Bridge we were running along and Sid yells out to stop and I said ‘What’s wrong?’ He said, ‘My nose, my nose. I’ve got an itch.’ And he can’t do anything about it. People don’t realise it, he can get an itch and can’t scratch it. So, I really got to know the finer details of his life and that is something that doesn’t happen unless you spend time with someone.”

“It is a team effort. I am not out there racing for myself now, my priority is Sid. We have this capsule that he swallows and we have Sid’s doctor riding alongside measuring all his vitals, heart rate, core temperature, his respiratory rate and his hydration all the time. That goes straight to the doctor’s phone so he is going to be safer than any other person out of course. It is very reassuring to have that information at our fingertips and to have a doctor right there. If we see any change in parameters we will stop and do what we have to do or if it gets too far we could pull the pin.”

Sid’s sense of humour will be one of the team’s greatest assets as Kevin pits his body and mind against the very real logistical issues of towing someone around the course.

“He likes a joke old Sid and he can see the humour in his disability. Sid is a funny man and he is often cracking jokes while we are racing.”

Sid’s return to Busselton has been a long time coming, his last visit was in 1987 as a carefree young bloke competing in the Windsurfing National Titles. The much loved 60 year old said IRONMAN Western Australia will be a very special event for him but the trip to Busselton is a mix of excitement and trepidation.

“I am excited that I am finally going to get to do an IRONMAN but I am also scared because I have never done a race that long before. My favourite parts will be finishing and probably having a sleep on the cycle leg. If I drop off Kevin tells me about it, don’t you worry,” Sid joked.

“When I was in Kona so many people were talking to me and they were all from different countries. It seems that I have become a bit of a triathlon celebrity. That wasn’t the intention, it wasn’t meant to be like that. In Busselton, I don’t care if there is only one person to greet us at the finish line, I will be happy just to finish.”

There is no way that the transformation of Sid James into an IRONMAN is going to go unnoticed and Kevin said he is expecting a huge support from the crowds along the course and at the finish line.

“A lot of Adelaide’s Lakers Triathlon Club know Sid’s story and quite a few are going over to race the IRONMAN and the 70.3 and some are going just to watch as well. We will have a lot of friends over there, so it will make a big difference.”

“Sid is really getting a buzz out of racing now, he loved the Murray Man and the support there was amazing. You have got to be with him and see how he talks about things and see the excitement back in him. As you can imagine being a quadriplegic is tough, I don’t know how he has gone so long without becoming a grumpy old bastard, but he hasn’t. I am stoked because I have seen a big change in him in the last few years, since we started doing this. So that has been my reward.”

“When you complete an IRONMAN that finish line is something special but this will be different. I am getting goosebumps now thinking about getting across that finish line. I definitely won’t be running, we will be walking down there lapping it all up. Sid can’t show any emotion with his body but I am sure you will see it on his face,” Kevin said.

The final word is with Sid who said he is eternally grateful for the opportunity Kevin and his supporters are giving him to fulfil a lifelong dream.

“Most athletes these days would not know how much I love the sport, and some wouldn’t know that I was once was a triathlete and raced at an elite level. Kevin will always be a special friend after everything he has done for me both many years ago and now. If all goes well, I may even become an IRONMAN,” Sid smiled.

Categories: Triathlon News


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