Without doubt the big race on the calendar was the BG World Cup race in Salford with its supporting age group events. While the World Cup promised the strongest mens field ever assembled in the UK, and the women's field included Vanessa Fernandes, the age group races were about half the size that have been in the past. This was not down to lack of interest - the organisers could have filled the race twice over and more besides - but more a problem of not having anywhere for the transition! Since the event started back in 2000 the transition area has moved virtually every year as a result of the enormous re-development and regeneration work alongside the docks. The home of the age group transition for the last two years is now part of the BBC headquarters complex and Media City developement which meant that this year the athletes were, literally, in the gutter! Given a 200m stretch of road (and you'll have to run that twice each transition) and then move that the best part of 200m from the swim exit and you'll see why the numbers were strictly limited this year!
Incredibly, given the recent rains and not too promisisng forecasts, the entire day stayed bright and dry - if a little cool and breezy. But, for Salford,, dry is good! In the standard distance the winners were Gwilym Morris (Manchester Tri Club) in 2:07:20 and Fiona Ford (Planet X) in 2:18:23. The sprint distance winners were David Oziem (BAD Tri/Fred Baker Cycles) in 1:06:39 and Aimee Backhouse in 1:08:24. Full results are now available, the full distance is here, the sprint is here. (Note, the DSQ athletes are not for penalties but for short bike or run laps. In fact there were no penalties issued.)
At dinner on Saturday night a group of assembled coaches, pundits and commentators picked our winners - Vanessa Fernandes was determined to be a sure bet for the women but opinion was split on the men. Obviously a home victory by Tim Don would be ideal but, based on recent form, a podium place was more of a reasonable possibility. Half the table picked Gomez as the man to beat, the other half picked Simon Whitfield. And that was it - which was interesting given that there were at least six athletes in the field with immediate podium potential!
The women's race went pretty much to form with Fernandez delivering a textbook win and Sam Warriner having to settle for second place this year. Kate Allen showed her return to World Cup form (as opposed to Ironman) and secure the last slot on the podium leaving Andrea Whitcombe as the bridesmaid. Of the other British athletes, Kerry Lang was 22nd, Rosie Clarke 24th, Jodie Swallow 29th and Leanda Cave 36th.
The elite men's race saw several attempts on the bike to get a distance between a lead group and the main pack of nearly 50 athletes with a bit of a tail group of those who had been left behind or were simply there for the experience. On the final lap a block of ten or so made a small separation into T2 with a selection of the top names including Tim Don, Matt Reed and Stuart Hayes. Into the run Don opened a small gap on lap one before Gomez, Kahlefeldt and Whitfield made it back and all four ran together for a further lap until Gomez turned on his trademark mid-race burst and dropped first Don, then Whitfield and finally Kahlefeldt. And that's the way it stayed to the line. So, two fourth places but no medals for GB in either mens or womens but quality performances with Will Clarke in 8th, Stuart Hayes 9th, Alistair Brownlee 20th, Richard Stannard 24th and Ritchie Nicholls 51st.
|1||Vanessa Fernandes (POR) 2:02:59||Javier Gomez (ESP) 1:51:47|
||Sam Warriner (CAN) 2:03:17||Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS) 1:51:59|
||Kate Allen (AUT) 2:03:23||Simon Whitfield (CAN) 1:52:04|
The other major international race was the Newfoundland 70.3 but IronmanLive seemed to be taking a well-desereved weekend off and there were no live updates or even any reports at all. Come Monday morning the situation still hadn't changed so we went ferretting around the backwaters of the internet to discover a set of results on the timing company's website. No commentary, but obviously the men's race was a close thing as just 28 seconds separated the top two. A full set of results is here.
||Melissa Ashton 4:32:22
||Craig Alexander 3:58:26
||Magali Tisseyre 4:39:50
||Richie Cunningham 3:58:54
||Nicole Guembel 4:51:30
||Marcel Vifian 4:03:38
At the Culford Triathlon the winners were Oliver Milk (Tri-Anglia) in 51:06 and Annabel Gates (BRAT) in 1:00:55. Full results are here.
At the Totton Triathlon down in the New Forest the wins went to James Gilfillan (Primera Bournemouth) in 1:06:37 and Laura Southwold in 1:23:05. Full results are here.
The Prince Bishops Triathlon was won by Paul Godley (Cleveland Biketraks) in 2:17:00 and Donna James (Durham Tri) in 2:30:43. Full results are here.
The Trentham Big Half was won by Toby Jameson (Total Fitness) in 4:03:19 with Wendy Barnes winning the women's race in 5:13:39. The standard distance race was won by Ian Smith (TFN Race Team) in 2:22:39 with Sophie Rees hoisting the women's trophy in 2:48:56. In the sprint distance Paul Skipper (subsixty.com) and Emma Gill were the winners. Provisional results are now on the Fun2Tri website: www.fun2tri.co.uk
The Tri Team Challenge triathlon, a variation on the National Relays but with only three per team doing a 400m swim, 15k bike and 5k run, saw wins for SAUK 'C' in the Male category, Worcester Tri Team in the Mixed and Bendy's Trendys in the Female. Full results are here.
At the Hatfield Triathlon the winners were Chris Fothergill in 1:07:56 and Nicki Parker in 1:19:51. Full results are here.
votwo's Long Swim at Dorney Lake was won by Sean Heppell in 48:41 and Joanna Swallow in 53:16. Full results are here.