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World Triathlon Para Series Swansea 2024: Moore, Ellis and Cashmore strike gold in Wales

World Triathlon Para Series Swansea 2024 provided some spectacular racing and John Levison was there to watch it all.

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The third edition of the World Triathlon Para Series Swansea took place at the Prince of Wales Dock and SA1 Waterfront on Saturday. A far cry from the 2023 race when weather forced the event to be converted to aquathlon format, blue skies and warm temperatures welcomed a host of world’s the best paratriathletes.

On what was the penultimate weekend of the Paralympic Games qualification process (with just WTPS Montreal remaining this coming Saturday), Swansea was the third of just four WTPS events which represent the top tier of international paratriathlon racing in 2024.

There was a trio of double Paralympic gold medallists racing, World Champions, previous Swansea winners and some great performances from the home athletes too, in what was a brilliant day of racing.

Here’s how it all played out.

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PTVI – Gold for Ellis and MacCombe

Perhaps the strongest favourite for a British gold medal at Paris 2024, it’s no shock to see Dave Ellis topping the podium for a third consecutive victory in Swansea, but this was certainly not an easy one. Ensuring that all Paris plans were covered in the event of illness / injury etc, Ellis was guided by Jack Hutchens this week, rather than the long-standing partner Luke Pollard. Hutchens is a fine athlete in his own right, a middle-distance racer who took second second place on his professional debut two years ago.

Emerging from the swim in close company with Sam Harding (AUS) and Oscar Kelly (GBR), Ellis was quickly to the front, but it didn’t take too long until the USA’s Owen Cravens (guided by 2014 IRONMAN World Championship runner-up, Ben Hoffman), powered through and pulled clear. They would reach T2 with a clear 30-second advantage, leaving the Brits with plenty to do on the run. It was a task they were up to, eventually running down the Cravens/Hoffman pairing, to take the tape seven seconds clear.

Sam Harding, guided by Aaron Royle, set the fastest run of the day to complete the podium. With quality athletes like Thibaut Rigaudeau (FRA) and Antoine Perel (FRA) both absent in Swansea this year, you can be sure that the Men’s PTVI race in Paris will be one of the most hotly contested on the schedule.

Dave Ellis and Jack Hutchens World Triathlon Para Series Swansea 2024 / WTPS Swansea
Photo Credit: Ben Lumley / World Triathlon

One half of the ‘Tandem Twins’ and guided this past weekend by Eimear Nicholls, Ireland’s Chloe MacCombe took victory in South Wales, in large part by a very impressive performance on two wheels. The silver medallist at the Commonwealth Games on Birmingham, MacCombe was guided for the first time by Nicholls, who under her maiden name of Mullan won events including IRONMAN UK, Embrunman and IRONMAN Mallorca.

Adding the fastest run split too, they took the tape almost a minute and a half clear of Heloise Curvoisier (guide Anne Henriet), with Great Britain’s Rio 2016 silver medallist, Alison Peasgood (guide Brooke Gillies), a further 16 seconds back on her return to racing. That result should prove key for Peasgood however, as in a race against time to collect a third points scoring race for Paris qualification, she has jumped 13 places to seventh in the rankings, where the top nine are assured of a start.

Chloe MacCombe and Eimear Nicholls World Triathlon Para Series Swansea 2024 / WTPS Swansea
Photo Credit: Ben Lumley / World Triathlon
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PTWC – Plat dominates, Taylor edges out Gretsch

Few things in life are as reliable as a Jetze Plat (NED) victory, such is the status of one of the great para athletes currently active in world sport. And that’s despite having the winners of every other medal from both Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 at the event.

Powering through the handcycle section, he was under no pressure for the run and would reach the finish more than three minutes ahead of Tokyo silver medallist, Florian Brungraber (AUT). Plat’s compatriot, Geert Schipper, added a second Dutch athlete to the podium as he seeks to add to the silver medal he won eight years ago in Rio.

Jetze Plat World Triathlon Para Series Swansea 2024 / WTPS Swansea
Photo Credit: Ben Lumley / World Triathlon

There was a seesaw battle at the front of the women’s wheelchair division. Starting in the first wave as a H1 (higher impairment) athlete, Leanne Taylor (CAN) was being chased down during the swim and bike by Tokyo 2020 gold medallist, Kendall Gretsch. There was just second between them starting the run, with Gretsch first out onto the three-lap course. The race was well and truly on, and it was Taylor, who only started the sport following a biking accident in 2018 that left her paralysed from the waist down, who came out on top.

In the process she earned her first career WTPS victory, with Great Britain’s Melissa Nicholls completing the medal podium in third.

Leanne Taylor World Triathlon Para Series Swansea 2024 / WTPS Swansea
Photo Credit: Ben Lumley / World Triathlon
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PTS5 – Cordeiro impresses, Cashmore dominant

One of the races of the day, the men’s PTS5 division would ultimately see all three podium athletes on the blue carpet of the finishing straight together.

The swim would see a quartet of athletes enter T1 together; Jack Howell (AUS), Ronan Cordeiro (BRA), Stefan Daniel (CAN) and Martin Schulz (GER), the double Paralympic Games gold medallist. Schulz put the pressure on during the five-lap, technical bike course, but could not shake off the Brazilian, with the fast-running Daniel also just a few second back as they started the 5km run.

All exceptional in that final discipline, during the early stages it looked as though Daniel was going to be able to bridge back to the leading pair, with perhaps even the possibility of a sprint finish to look forward to. That didn’t quite happen, but it was only within the final kilometre that Cordeiro was able to finally break away from Schulz, the winning margin just 10 seconds.

Ronan Cordeiro and Martin Schulz World Triathlon Para Series Swansea 2024 / WTPS Swansea
Photo Credit: Ben Lumley / World Triathlon

For the women, in the absence of Grace Norman (USA) and Lauren Steadman (GBR), who will both the racing this coming weekend in Montreal, this always looked like a head-to-head between Claire Cashmore (GBR) and Kamylle Frenette (CAN). The Canadian athlete has been making great progress in recent years, making her the most likely to challenge the dominance of the ‘big three’.

Locked together during the swim, they started the bike leg side-by-side, but from that point on Cashmore took control. It was an impressive performance on the bike from the Brit, who gained time every lap to eventually start the run with a full two-minute advantage. Frenette clawed back a few seconds over the 5km, but this was Cashmore’s day.

It could also prove key for Monika Belczewska (POL) too, who by taking the bronze, 21 seconds ahead of Emilie Gral (FRA), sees her leapfrog the French athlete into that all-important ninth spot in the Paralympic Qualification Rankings. Both are set to race again in Montreal.

Women PTS5 podium World Triathlon Para Series Swansea 2024 / WTPS Swansea
Photo Credit: Ben Lumley / World Triathlon

PTS4 – Three Brits on the podium

A winner of the first WTPS event of the season in Devonport, Australia, Michael Taylor (GBR) was the pace-setter in the men’s PTS5 until the late stages of the race. Setting the fastest swim and bike splits, his task was to try and hold off the fast running legs of the USA’s Carson Clough.

With a 16:31 run split (18:17 for Taylor), Clough was able to reel in the Brit and take the Swansea win – his first WTPS title – by just 20 seconds. By taking the bronze medal, Eric McElvenny (USA) jumped a huge five places to 10th in the Paralympic Qualification Rankings. All to play for this Saturday in Montreal for Eric.

Men PTS4 podium World Triathlon Para Series Swansea 2024 / WTPS Swansea
Photo Credit: Ben Lumley / World Triathlon

It was a memorable and emotional day for Hannah Moore (GBR), who we spoke to at length a little earlier this year, in the women’s PTS4

Leading from the front in the swim, she reached T1 alone and would never be headed, adding the fastest bike split to her swim efforts.

It would prove to be a British one-two, as Megan Richter ran clear of Hannah MacDougall (AUS) after that duo had reached T2 together after battling through the first two disciplines.

Hannah Moore World Triathlon Para Series Swansea 2024 / WTPS Swansea
Photo Credit: Ben Lumley / World Triathlon

PTS3 – Clear wins for Gelhaar and Cava

Germany’s Max Gelhaar marked himself out as one of the favourites for Paris, when he claimed the scalp of World and European Champion, Daniel Molina (ESP), who had been unbeaten since Swansea 2022.

Producing a great bike split, he gained two minutes on the Spanish star through the five laps. While Molina was able to claw back a few seconds on the run and pass Nico van der Burgt (NED) in the process, that still left Gelhaar with a comfortable winning margin and a big confidence booster ahead of Paris.

Men PTS3 podium World Triathlon Para Series Swansea 2024 / WTPS Swansea
Photo Credit: Ben Lumley / World Triathlon

Setting the fastest swim split by a full three minutes, Cassie Cava added another Irish gold in the women’s PTS3 category. All of the podium finishers would pretty equally matched over the bike leg, before Cava further extended her lead – which would be approaching six minutes at the finish – on the closing run. Sanne Koopman and Rachel Watts added further to the Swansea medal hauls of Netherland and USA, respectively.

Women PTS3 podium World Triathlon Para Series Swansea 2024 / WTPS Swansea
Photo Credit: Ben Lumley / World Triathlon

PTS2 – Team USA double

A minute down on the leading trio out of the water, the USA’s Mohamed Lahna still had plenty to do after the bike leg. While he’d moved up to second, he was still more than a minute down on Stephane Bahier (FRA) with just the 5km run to go.

He made relatively light work of that – while also holding off the speedy Maurits Morsink (NED), who was closing fast behind him – to take the Swansea victory by 27 seconds.

Men PTS2 podium World Triathlon Para Series Swansea 2024 / WTPS Swansea
Photo Credit: Ben Lumley / World Triathlon

Paralympic Games champion in both 2016 and 2020, Alyssa Seely was still trying to fully secure her Paris 2024 start. Despite coming into this race ranked #4, the USA have three of the top four ranked athletes, with only the top two eligible by quota allocation at least.

By taking the win here, two minutes ahead of Veronica Plebani (ITA), the Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist, she has moved up to third place and if my maths are correct, also secured her Paris start.

Allysa Seely World Triathlon Para Series Swansea 2024 / WTPS Swansea
Photo Credit: Ben Lumley / World Triathlon

The future?

Saturday’s race was the third and final year of the three year contract announced in 2021 to host the standalone World Triathlon Para Series event in Swansea, as part of the lead-in to Paris 2024.

I’ve been fortunate to have been a part of all three of those events in my role there as on-site announcer/commentator, and have really enjoyed each edition. Speaking to many of the athletes racing over those years, they have certainly been very positive towards the event.

With conformation that there will be no World Triathlon Series event in the UK in 2024 coming that year, as of today at least, that means that we could be without that top tier of paratriathlon racing too. I’m sure that those discussions are and will be happening behind the scenes with all of the stakeholders to extend the legacy of WTPS Swansea. I really hope they can find a way to continue the legacy of the work that has been put in over the first three years.

World Triathlon Para Series Swansea 2024 Results

Saturday 22 June 2024 – 750m / 20km / 5km

PTVI

  • 1. Dave Ellis (GBR), 1:01:12 (Guide: Jack Hutchens)
  • 2. Owen Cravens (USA), 1:01:19 (Guide: Ben Hoffman)
  • 3. Sam Harding (AUS), 1:02:02 (Guide: Aaron Royle)

Women

  • 1. Chloe McCombe (IRL), 1:10:03 (Guide: Eimear Nicholls)
  • 2. Heloise Courvoisier (FRA), 1:11:28 (Guide: Anne Henriet)
  • 3. Alison Peasgood (GBR), 1:11:44 (Brooke Gillies)

PTWC

Men

  • 1. Jetze Plat (NED), 0:59:24
  • 2. Florian Brungaber (AUT), 1:02:39
  • 3. Geert Schipper (NED), 1:03:10

Women

  • 1. Leanne Taylor (CAN), 1:12:21
  • 2. Kendall Gretsch (USA), 1:13:36
  • 3. Mel Nicholls (GBR), 1:15:08

PTS5

Men

  • 1. Ronan Cordeiro (BRA), 0:59:18
  • 2. Martin Schulz (GER), 0:59:28
  • 3. Stefan Daniel (CAN), 0:59:44

Women

  • 1. Claire Cashmore (GBR), 1:09:33
  • 2. Kamylle Frenette (CAN), 1:11:25
  • 3. Monika Belczewska (POL), 1:14:10

PTS4

Men

  • 1. Carson Clough (USA), 1:03:39
  • 2. Michael Taylor (GBR), 1:03:59
  • 3. Eric McElvenny (USA), 1:05:25

Women

  • 1. Hannah Moore (GBR), 1:15:47
  • 2. Megan Richter (GBR), 1:16:58
  • 3. Hannah MacDougall (AUS), 1:18:41

PTS3

Men

  • 1. Max Gelhaar (GER), 1:08:45
  • 2. Daniel Molina (ESP), 1:10:27
  • 3. Nico Van Der Burgt (NED), 1:10:56

Women

  • 1. Cassie Cava (IRL), 1:24:37
  • 2. Sanne Koopman (NED), 1:30:15
  • 3. Rachel Watts (USA), 1:35:04

PTS2

Men

  • 1. Mohamed Lahna (USA), 1:09:25
  • 2. Maurits Morsink (NED), 1:09:52
  • 3. Lionel Morales (ESP), 1:11:10

Women

  • 1. Allysa Seely (USA), 1:20:12
  • 2. Veronica Plebani (ITA), 1:22:15
  • 3. Neele Ludwig (GER), 1:30:41
John Levison
Written by
John Levison
TRI247's Chief Correspondent, John has been involved in triathlon for well over 30 years, 15 of those writing on these pages, whilst he can also be found commentating for events across the UK.
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