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Inside an ITU race

Written by: Herbert Krabel
Date: Sun Mar 27 2011

Aussie Pro Courtney Atkinson had a video camera mounted under the handlebars during the ITU Mooloolaba World Cup to share an inside perspective of the bike segment of an ITU race. We'd love to have that kind of ride-along in all kinds of races, but this is actually not just about entertainment.

Fellow Pro Kris Gemmell recently talked about what he sees as the lack of appreciation of ITU Pros in an interview with slowtwitch.

"The general rule of thumb is we draft, so we can't ride, and that is why we run fast. Ask any other pro athlete after they have competed in their first World Championship series race if we can't ride, and I can guarantee what the answer will be. It does sometimes look like we aren't riding hard, but the power output is still high with surges and the design of courses," said Gemmell to slowtwitch. "There are tactics been played out with every meter that goes by and you can't afford to miss a beat. It is very much like a flat stage in any big Cycle tour, the peloton rolls along until a break goes away. Then sometimes they will sit up, or it stays together until the end for the sprinters to shine. Which is not much different to the nerves you need over the last few k heading into T2 these days."

But hearing it or reading about it is one thing, seeing it from this unique perspective is quite a different experience.

Video clip courtesy of Courtney Atkinson:

Below are the twitter accounts for Courtney Atkinson and Kris Gemmell, two interesting Pros to follow.

Courtney Atkinson @courtney_akco
Kris Gemmell @KrisGemmell_


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stu 5 out of 5 stars


Reviewed by: _____, Apr 7 2011 10:25PM

Stu, you need to you need to show these racers some respect!! You seem to think that itu is a joke, well tell that to Matty reed, and the rest of the group. I just want to let you know that a very good friend of ours (Tim O' Donnell), came from an itu background, and is now the itu long course (non-draft) world champion, and recently placed 3rd at 70.3 world cahmpionships as well being the US national champion. His girlfriend mirinda carfrae is in the same posision as well. So think before you open your mouth again!!

Drafting 5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by: Goat_herder, Apr 4 2011 6:06PM

ITU draft legal racing is different, not better or worse, than non-drafting events but from the video it certainly appears to be hard work. The intensity in ITU racing is high and any athlete that is slightly off the pace in the swim or bike has no chance in the run. I think ITU racing is definitely exciting to watch. Stu, seeing as how Kris Gemmell just won the Singapore 70.3 it is disingenuous to suggest he, and other ITU athletes, lack credibility. I agree with Herbert. Stu should send us his race results, along with any power files he has, so he can show us mere mortals how he is much superior he is compared to the ITU athletes.

drafting 5 out of 5 stars


Reviewed by: Herbert, Apr 2 2011 4:13AM

Stu, that's why you should only do non drafting races, so your peers can really respect you, and when you have a chance, send us some of your results so we can see what you are really made of.

drafting 1 out of 5 stars


Reviewed by: Stu, Apr 1 2011 6:49PM

drafting is a joke. If gemmel and co want respect go back to non drafting races. Then we WILL know how good you are.
As someone who has raced for 20 years plus, drafting was always the scourge of the sport resulting in a water bottle in teh face, threats and so on. For many, non drafting made triathlon special. Drafting has just allowed a bunch of non triathletes to compete under the banner of being a triathlete. For "real" triathletes, no drafting equals triathlon.