NEWS ABOUT:

IRONMAN RACES
GREAT BRITAIN
GERMANY
FRANCE
SWITZERLAND
THE NETHERLANDS
CZECH REPUBLIC
DENMARK
HUNGARY
BELGIUM

OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES...

POLAND
Gaag's footspeed the difference in Poland

LUXEMBOURG
• Luxembourg to send Kemp-Arendt to Sydney

ITALY
Italian fed: Bottoni, not Belandi, for Olympics
Italians win at home
Four men: 2 races in 3 days
Leder, Py win a chilly Anzio Triathlon
April 9 Points Race in Anzio draws the Europeans
• See Winter Tri

SPAIN
Powerman Spain cancelled the day before event

PORTUGAL
Taormina's on top of the Worlds
Gaag, Cave sprint to ETU Cup lead in Azores
Jenkins, Pagon win in Portugal
Portugal packed

SLOVAKIA
• See Winter TriWalton, Lindley take Tiszaujvaros
• Lindley, Krnavek survive heat in Hungary
Triathlon snowbirds heading south
Tiszaujvaros draws a more competitive World Cup
Swallow gets world uni title in third triathlon ever
Tiszaufvaros races feature new swims

UKRAINE
Available: One Ukrainian coach

AUSTRIA
Thurig, Maas Win Du World Champs
Another ETU Champs cancelled - this time, Youth Duathlon

SWEDEN
Sweden's Nilsson killed in hit-and-run

IRELAND
Ireman -- a different sort of Ironman-distance race

MOLDOVA
Moldava is newest European member

TURKEY
Spirig, Gaag win Alanya Triathlon in ETU finale


Taormina's on top of the Worlds

May 10, 2004, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

Kiwi Bevan Docherty and American Sheila Taormina each ran away from their competitors in the latter stages of the run to take world titles on a hilly Portuguese course that foreshadowed race conditions in the upcoming Olympic Games in Athens.

It was easily the biggest win in Taormina's triathlon career, and maybe ever. Yes, the 35-year-old has an Olympic Gold medal in swimming, but that was part of the freestyle relay. This medal was earned entirely by herself.

Indeed, this was even more of a solo effort than usual, as Taormina's previous high placings almost always come as a result of tactics which involve other fast swimmer/cyclists. Not so this time, as Taormina spent most of the day alone, to prevail in the run, which would almost certainly be considered her worst event.

"She just felt on top of the world all day," said Lew Kidder, Taormina's coach. "Within a few dozen yards after diving into the Atlantic, she was pulling away from the entire field. At the end of the swim she had around 20 seconds on Hidalgo of Spain and over 30 on the rest of the pack. Her split was faster than all but two of the men.

"On the 2nd lap her lead had grown to 35 seconds, and on the 3rd it jumped to 45. But the 10-person chase pack stopped the slide on the 4th lap, and then lopped six seconds off as they went up the hill for the 5th time. When the lead was down to 29 seconds on the sixth lap, I suggested she sit up and wait for them to catch her. She did . . . but on the seventh assent of the hill, she was leading an attack with Barb Lindquist and Loretta Harrop on her wheel. Five members of the pack were able to bridge back up, but the action did drop three: Cave of GBR, Geminagi of ITA, and Hidalgo.

"That left eight athlete to contest the three medals: Sheila, Barb, Loretta, Fernandes of POR, Franzmann of GER, Nakanishi of JPN, Dibens of GBR, and Laura Reback of the USA. Sheila, Laura, and Loretta began to pull away immediately in the run, then Loretta upped the pace on the third of the four laps and Laura began to drop back. Sheila shadowed Loretta for nearly a lap, then dropped the hammer on the twisty uphill and ran alone the remaining 1800 meters to the finish. Her split was 34:17, the second fastest run of the day. Loretta (Harrop of Australia) was second and Laura (Reback of the U.S.) third.

Taormina wins $22,000 for her effort and, even more importantly, gets the second women's slot on the US Olympic team. Barb Lindquist has already qualified, and the third spot has come down to Laura Reback and Susan Williams. Whoever beats the other at the third race in Bellingham, Washington on June 13 will round out the team.

In the men's race Tsukasa Hirano of Japan took a slim lead over Andy Potts of the USA to lead the swimmers out of the water onto the pontoon. Potts is another Kidder find, a former University of Michigan swimmer who placed fourth in the U.s. Olympic Trials in the 400-meter IM. These two were followed by Igor Sysoev of Russia in third place. A long line of competitors with strong credentials entered transition in pursuit of the early leaders.

Out onto the first cycle lap, Potts and Frederic Belaubre of France took a slight lead, only to be caught by a large group of around 25 cyclists including Ivan Rana of Spain, Dimitry Gaag of Kazakhstan, Sysoev, New Zealand teammates Shane Reed, Hamish Carter, Bevan Docherty, Rasmus Henning of Denmark, Miles Stewart of Australia, Hirano, and Reto Hug of Switzerland.

This main cycle group then jockeyed for position on the remaining 7 laps, with Greg Bennett leading Bevan Docherty into the second transition.

The lead out onto the run was assumed by Docherty and for most of the four laps on the run with Docherty, Rana, and Dimitry Gaag all running strongly together.

In the finish straight Docherty kicked late to out-sprint the 2002 World Champion Ivan Rana to claim his and New Zealand’s first World Championship, with 1999 Champion Dimitry Gaag in bronze medal position.

Hunter Kemper was the highest-ranking American in 9th place, with Potts in 10th, and altogether four Americans in the top-24.

(RESULTS)

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Powerman Spain cancelled the day before event

June 10, 2002, San Agustin of the Guadalix, Spain

For the first time in the 12 years history of International Powerman Association (I.P.A.) a Powerman race was cancelled a day before the race. In the last meeting on Thursday June 6 everything was checked and approved.

On June 7 the organisation got the sanction letter. But then something unbelievable happened... On Friday June 7, at 09:14 hours, Luis Martinez the race director in San Agustin of the Guadalix the Powerman-Moncalvillo got a fax from the Ministry of General Traffic control in Madrid that the Powerman Spain was not allowed to hold its race on June 8. The reasons mentioned by Luis Martinez were: a speed car race in a nearby [town] on the Circuit of Jarama; the expectation of massive cars and spectators to appear at this race; the guaranty of the safety for all participants and the necessity of the closure of the exit of the highway M-104. From that moment the local police were not allowed to close the roads for the Powerman race.

This is very unpleasant for everybody. It hurt the participants who came from all over the World, the sport in Spain, the region of Madrid, the Organising Committee with all its volunteers and of course last but not least the city of St Agustin de Guadalix and the International Powerman Association. To avoid this kind of problem with the signing of a Powerman contract a letter of support of the responsible Sport Federation (Madrid) and the letter of support of the Host City (St. Agustin de Guadalix) has to be and was included. Unfortunately not enough this time. The Mayor of St. Agustin de Guadalix will come with an official statement on Tuesday.

Luis Martinez informed I.P.A. that the Mayor accepted the request of John Raadschelders (President of the I.P.A. and Chairman of the ITU Duathlon Committee) to refund the costs of all participants with one restriction: "Only the people who send their entry form before the closure date."

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Gaag's footspeed the difference in Poland

July 2, 2001, Sopot, Poland (www.slowtwitch.com):

Dmitri Gaag, the former world champion from Kazakhstan, out-kicked a classy field to win the third leg of the 2001 ETU European Cup series in Sopot, on Poland’s Baltic coast, on Sunday, July 1.

In the women’s race, Australia’s Tracey Hargreaves beat ex-Aussie Leanda Cave––now racing for Britain––to put her in a strong position in the overall European Cup standings with another five races to go in the 48,000 Euro prize money series.

After more than an hour’s racing only eight seconds separated the first five men finishers in a dash for the line, with Gaag out-sprinting Dutchman Eric van der Linden, the bronze medallist in the previous week’s ETU European Championships, with Australia’s Richie Cunningham in third.

This was a sprint distance event – 750m swim around Sopot’s famed pier, 20km cycle and 5km run - but an attrocious rainstorm earlier in the day forced the bike route to be shortned by about a mile because of flooding on the roads.

“It was a very good race, despite of the water on the streets,” Gaag said. His next races are likely to be next week’s ETU Cup in Hannover and then the ITU World Championships in Edmonton, Canada. Gaag, though, does not rate his chances as very high. “Training during the winter did not go according to plan,” he said. “But who knows?” (From the ETU)

(RESULTS)

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Gaag, Cave sprint to ETU Cup lead in Azores

April 9, 2001, Ponta Delgado, Portugal (www.slowtwitch.com):

Leanda Cave (GBR) and Dmitry Gaag (KAZ) take the lead in the 2001 European triathlon tour after winning Saturday's first stage held in Sao Miguel, the biggest of the nine tropical islands composing Azores. The race, designed in and around Ponta Delgada––a picturesque mid-sized city located along the Southern coast of the Green Island––was held over the sprint distance of 750 meters swimming in the harbor, 20km biking on a fully closed four-lane highway, and a 5km run on the paved pedestrian pathway meandering along the city coast.

In the women's race, Germany's Anja Heil emerged from the chilly––at 59F wetsuit mandatory–– April waters in the lead (9:16), ahead of Cave, Lucie Zelenkova (CZE), and Nina Anisimova (RUS). The Russian was immediately dropped on the bike and the trio started the run with a comfortable 30 second margin over a second group including Anisimova, compatriot Olga Generalova, and Australia's Tracy Hargreaves. Surprisingly, Heil was not able to drop her mates on the run, and it was Cave who finally made the decisive move on the second lap (17:55, fastest female run split) to win in 59:33, ahead of Heil and Zelenkova.

In the men's race, all eyes were on Gaag, the 1999 World champion, 2000 World cup winner and 4th place finisher in the Olympic triathlon. Kazakhstan's hero disappointed none of the hungry spectators gathered in Ponta Delgada: 7th after the swim (8:50) behind Spaniard Raul Cordoba (8:33), Csaba Kuttor (HUN), Jarmo Hast (FIN), Nicolas Becker (FRA), Duarte Marquez (POR) and Frederik Van Lierde (BEL), Gaag cruised during the bike to take a commanding lead as soon as the run started. The surprise came from Germany's Falk Cierpinski, freshly turned to the elite triathlon ranks (previous European junior duathlon champion and son of the two-time Olympic marathon champion), who came from behind and aggressively attacked Gaag in the second lap. But Gaag overcame it and finally rushed away in the last straight (15:30, best run split) to win ETU Cup Ponta Delgada in 53:44, 5 seconds ahead of a deserving Cierpinski (15:33, second fastest run) and 12 seconds ahead of Kuttor (15:34, third run split).

(RESULTS)

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Bronze winner Rehula injured while on bike

February 7, 2001, Queensland, Australia (www.slowtwitch.com):

Several Australian news organizations have reported the Olympic Bronze Medallist Jan Rehula from the Czech Republic has suffered a bad fall while training on his bike in Australia. Rehula was apparently spending time at the Australian training base of Brett Sutton, his coach.

Reports are not specific as to which part of Rehula’s bike broke, but apparently his seat binder bolt, or seat post, or the clamp mechanism that attaches the seat post to the saddle rails, failed during a fast descent, causing Rehula to crash.

Rehula apparently has undergone a pair of surgeries within the last two days to repair a broken or damaged coccyx and urinary tract. Reports say that Rehula was unconscious and lost a large amount of blood prior to being transported to the hospital.

October 18, Alanya, Turkey (www.slowtwitch.com):

Switzerland's Nicola Spirig, the 18-year-old Team Arena Europe member, and Kazak hero Dmitry Gaag won the 10th edition of the International Alanya Triathlon, the finale in the 2000 ETU Triathlon Tour. They raced under clear blue skies and very hot temperatures.

Usually off the pace during the swim section of her races, young Spirig yielded only one minute this time to the best 1500m swimmers of the day: Lucie Zelenkova/CZE, Nina Anisimova/RUS, Leanda Cave/GBR and Anja Heil/GER. Most importantly, she left her most serious opponent for the series title -- Britain's Annie Emmerson -- 30 secs behind. She extended that difference by one more minute during the first 10k bike course, designed as flat along the Mediterranean seafront and through center-city Alanya. That effort brought her to the front pack of six, who together managed to secure a 2-minute lead by the end of the bike over the rest.

If the swim and bike segments belonged to Spirig, the run belonged to the flying Emmerson, who ran one minute faster than anyone else in the first of the two 5km laps. Emmerson eventually passed all competitors but Spirig and Anisimova, who herself had been pressuring Spirig for seven kilometers. In the end, both the race and the series title stayed with Spirig.

The men's race was decided in the 10km run. After the swim (without wetsuits in the 25-C warm waters), Rasmus Henning/DEN led the field into the first transition. He was closely followed by Andriy Glushchenko/UKR, Igor Sisoev/RUS and Martin Krnavek/CZE and the rest of the contenders. On the bike, the three groups that had left the transition area quickly merged into one big pack of 30 athletes. Matthew Reed/NZL, on his breakaway of this inactive group, suffered a flat tyre and had to drop out. Also unlucky was Vladimir Polykarpenko/UKR, who had to cope with a broken wheel.

After the second transition, the race was really on. Dmitry Gaag led a group of four, with Henning, Leonid Ivanov/RUS (the new Under-23 European champion) and Bevan Docherty/NZL into the second of the two laps. Gaag was determined not only to finish, but also to win this race -- after failing to finish in Alanya the last two years. He outsprinted Ivanov by three seconds for the win. Docherty took third, and with that high placing, secured the overall ETU Cup title.

(RESULTS)

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Another ETU Champs cancelled - this time, Youth Duathlon

September 18, Blumau, Austria (www.slowtwitch.com):

The European Youth Duathlon Championships, scheduled for October 1 in Blumau, Austria, have been cancelled by the organizers. The culprit: Lack of interest from all of Europe's 39 member federations.

The cancellation is the second announcement in four days from the European Triathlon Union, which noted that not a single national federation (NF) had registered any athletes as of the September 18 deadline. On Friday, the British Triathlon Association had to cancel the ETU Duathlon Championships in Bath, England, for October 22 for lack of money for adequate road closures.

"Triathlon had its brightest moments last weekend in Sydney," said ETU secretary Erika Koenig. "The echo about the athletes' performance is very positive, the show was excellent, the Olympic status should be secured with this performance.

"But the other side of the coin seems to be that the 39 ETU federations' coffers have been drained dry in the pursuit of points and the Olympic dream. We had 10 NFs in Hungary at the European Youth Triathlon Championships; we have only 10 NFs next weekend at the Under-23 Triathlon ECs; we had 15 NFs with female juniors in Stein (European Championships in July), and 17 with female elites.

"The U-23 Duathlon ECs share the fate of low participation, for the youth there seems to be nothing left at all. We all know that athletes are not falling from the sky. The present situation worries us very much."

The cancellation announcement carried further warning of triathlon's woes in Europe: "In addition to the NFs, the race organizers also seem to be at their limits. As presented in the report at the ETU Congress in Stein, the development in the ETU Cup and Championships -- the property of the European federations, and the means of income for the union -- is anything but moving up. We are moving backwards with regard to media exposure, good-looking aspects, financial stability and overall support from NFs.

"Without a clear hierarchy and strong races, from the national cups and championships over the European cups and championships, to the World cups and championships -- as demonstrated in all major sports -- without a competition in the best sense of the word, there will be hardly any sponsor money in.

"We must not forget that Olympic Games are something great, unique -- and staged every four years. But there is daily business to perform, to identify and bring the athletes there. The athletes have to grow into the sport, have to be accompanied in their development and supported from the grassroots through the national/European/World levels to the Olympic Games. There are also other athletes to care for, who are not Olympians -- our duathletes, winter triathletes and younger triathletes.

"The key issue in all these cases being is money. Money comes in when the sport is perceived as serious, attractive, media-and spectator-friendly and clear in its structures and hierarchies. When what we try to sell is strong, well-visited and well-supported; when people can trust in the management and in clear rules -- we will see the money come back.

"There is a huge amount of work ahead of us to use the tailwind of the Olympic Games for the advantage of our sports. Technical and political efforts and wisdom will be requested from all -- and the care for the well-being of the whole union."

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Italian fed: Bottoni, not Belandi, for Olympics

August 18, Rome, Italy (www.slowtwitch.com):

Thanks to a 19th-place finish in the last ITU World Cup before the Olympics, and a 24th-place finish by his rival, Italy's Alessandro Bottoni is going to Sydney.

Staying home is Stefano Belandi, the top-ranked Italian (No. 45 as of the ITU's rankings as of May 2). It was Belandi's No. 45 ranking that secured the one men's spot for Italy, which received the last of the available roll-down spots in the amended men's field of 52. Bottoni is ranked No. 56.

Edith Cigana (No. 51) and Silvia Gemignani (No. 57) are the female Italians travelling, as announced on Tuesday by the Italian triathlon federation.

Although Belandi is the higher-ranked of the two men, and was assumed to be the favorite of the two to make the Olympic team, Olympic-qualifying protocol gives the Sydney slots not to individuals, but to countries. Italy received the one slot, based on Belandi's ranking, and the Italian National Olympic Committee confirmed the federation's choice of Bottoni over Belandi.

Their finish positions in the ITU World Cup at Lausanne on August 12 was the deciding factor.

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Ireman -- a different sort of Ironman-distance race

August 4, Limavady, Northern Ireland (www.slowtwitch.com):

The Ironman-distance appeals to many, but not everyone can gain entry to the Ironman of their choice -- especially the ones that end up qualifying athletes for the Hawaii Ironman via the World Triathlon Corp. family of races.

There are as many non-WTC Ironman-distance races worldwide as there are actual WTC-sanctioned Ironmans. Last Saturday, race director Peter Jack staged an Ironman event, called "Ireman," and drew 41 starters. Because every Ironman race has its intrigues, and every Ironman racer has a story to tell, we asked Peter to share his tale of the kind of Ironman that most people never do. He wrote the following:

Benone Beach -- the Blue Flag resort and the jewel in the crown of Limavady Borough Council -- had surely never witnessed such a spectacle at 6.15 a.m. on Saturday, 29th July. Out of 55 entries, 41 potential Iremen and women started. There were triathletes from all over the British Isles, USA and Malta, and they gazed at the big crowd of spectators on the beach, and the mirror-like sea in equal astonishment.

Chris McFeely, one of the sponsors, sounded the klaxon and the lemming-like posse sprinted under the 12ft-high swim start structure into the 14-degree (C) water. The three-lap course was marked by 6 x 8ft-high buoys. Both conditions and visibility was perfect as the Dogleap Canoe Club and Foyle Search and Rescue personnel watched.

Exiting first was James Leitch of Glasgow in a super-fast 52:41, five minutes clear of Jon Pursey, the Gwent policeman who was, in turn, two minutes clear of Malta's Nicky Farrugia. Farrugia has swum the English Channel, and was doing his 11th Ironman-distance race.

In the women's race, Scotland's Mary Rose Cross was out first in 1:11, two minutes in front of the Royal Navy's Jeanette Beaton. Third was Catherine Marshall, a GP from Belfast who had only done one triathlon before -- the 3-Day Race organised by the Triangle Club. But she had been persuaded to race for Ireland to fill out her country's Home Nations team.

The cycle course took in the delights of Downhill (which was actually a massive uphill) and Castlerock, before the three loops of the Coleraine, Garvagh and Kilrea triangle. There were enthusiastic marshalls and spectators all over the 30-mile loop. Moving through the field were those renowned bike specialists, England's Clive Middleton -- organiser of The Longest Day (also an Ironman-distance event) in Wolverhampton, and Scotland's Stan Stewart.

Thanks to his good swimming and cycling, however, Farrugia returned first into the second transition after a 5:21 ride. Middleton was only minutes behind with a 5:18, and Stewart third with a 5:20. Adrian Devine of the Irish team had a 5:31 and, at that stage, was in fourth, while Scotland's Leitch was now back in fifth after a 5:38.

Moving into sixth was Michael Brown of Portadown, Northern Ireland, and seventh back in was Scotland's Jason Smith. Brown had intended to race Ironman Europe on July 9, but had damaged his ribs in a Go-Karting accident and couldn't sneeze -- let alone train -- for four weeks. Brown had a corker of a race here, eventually finishing third overall in 10:25:48.

At the head of the race, Middleton had very quickly overtaken the tiring Maltese champion, and actually led the marathon for 22 miles. But Smith was on fire: He had taken two minutes to stretch before he started running, and managed another minute-long stretch at one of the turns on the run course. He was very confident of catching all six ahead of him.

Smith -- racing only his second-ever Ironman-distance -- managed the fastest run split (3:21:35) for an overall winning time of 10:12:20. Next came England's Middleton (10:19:59) and Ireland's Brown. Fourth was Scotland's Stewart (10:39:11), and fifth was Garrie Prosser (10:46:25), England's second points-scorer. Malta's Farrugia, who had been looking forward to racing in a cool climate, didn't drink enough on the bike course and suffered big time on the run: After a 4:21 marathon he finished sixth overall in 10:49:32.

For the women, Scotland's Cross had extended her lead on the bike by 10 minutes. But on the run, Beaton's petite frame and synchronised rhythm meant that she overtook her rival to come home first in 11:24:00, some 30 mins ahead of Cross (11:56:04).

Meanwhile, ploughing a lonely furrow in third place, was Ireland's Marshall. Everything was going swimmingly until she had a tumble off the bike near the transition area. Despite having trouble with her shoulder, she bravely started the run, where she ran down many of the men. She carried her left arm very stiffly, but still finished the marathon in 4:06 (and the race in 12:37:24). When she went to the casualty department of Coleraine Hospital later, she was told (although she probably knew already, as she is a doctor), that she had a fractured collarbone ...

Wales' Terry Edwards completed his 23rd Ironman-distance race proudly waving his Welsh flag. He presented the organisers with a momento from his home country, as did Malta's Farrugia. At the prize giving, Edwards also gave all the kids in the hotel sticks of Welsh rock. It's people like these two gentlemen who make the sport of triathlon what it is -- not the political bureaucrats in suits.

Edwards was third from last in 14:02:40. Then there was Ballymena lawyer Terry McAllister (14:20:58) who was determined to finish -- although suffering from dehydration in the 25-degree C temperature.

In last place (14:29:50) came American John Allario. He had travelled over from Texas with his training and racing buddy Michael Pentland, originally from Bangor, Northern Ireland. Pentland (12:58:57) was able to compare and contrast the Northern Ireland he knew and loved, with the "N'orn Irn" he saw on the TV screens of the world.

Race organisers Peter Jack, Claire Wheeldon and Geoffrey Warke were delighted with the response from the athletes, and the enthusiasm and sheer dedication of their 100-strong team of marshalls.

There were flowers for the winners, flags for the internationals, fervour from the crowd and fulfilment for the athletes, as they completed this unique event -- which will not take place again.

It couldn't ever be as perfect as this in the future -- so why spoil it? It certainly was "A Day Of Pain For A Lifetime Of Pride".

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Sweden's Nilsson killed in hit-and-run

June 21, Gothenburg, Sweden (www.slowtwitch.com):

Top Swedish triathlete Anders Nilsson, an 8:44-level Ironman, was killed last Sunday in a hit-and-run accident as he was finishing a long training ride. The news was broken to the triathlon world by Jonas Colting, another Swedish national teammember, who remembered his friend on behalf of Nilsson's Triathlon Väst club.

"Anders loved his sport like no one else I knew," Colting said. "He was a hard worker, as hard as they come, managing to combine Ironman-training and a fulltime-job as a carpenter. Many are the stories of Anders riding his bike through frigid winter mornings at six o´clock, only to be at work at seven."

Nilsson, 28, died on Sunday afternoon outside his hometown of Gothenburg. He was finishing a 120-kilometer ride when a speeding car hit him from behind and threw him 30 meters. Nearby residents sought immediate medical attention, but Nilsson had died instantly on impact.

"I have spent many days with Anders on the nationalteam, either racing or training. He always set the standard for me when it came to dedication and pure joy for training," Colting added.

Swedish triathletes gathered on Tuesday at the scene of the accident, bringing flowers, photos, candles and support for each other. "It was a beautiful summer day, one of a kind," Colting described. "I was even more sad that Anders couldn´t enjoy it with a full day of training, as he used to love to do."

Nilsson, who was pointing toward racing the Swedish Olympic-distance championships later this summer, had finished second in the 1998 championships and sixth last year. Last September, he had finished 21st in the Ironman-distance Almere Triathlon in the Netherlands. His time, 8:44:47, was second-best ever for a Swede.

He raced mostly in Sweden, but had looked forward to racing the 2001 ITU World Long-Distance Triathlon Championships at Fredericia, Denmark, a year from August.

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Gaag steals the Belgian show from Van Lierde

June 20, Kapelle-op-den-Bos, Belgium (www.slowtwitch.com):

As television's VRT channel broadcast the race live on Sunday afternoon, Kazakstan's Dmitry Gaag kept Belgium's own Luc Van Lierde from winning at home in the Eternit Triathlon Flanders, the second race in the ETU Triathlon Cup.

Van Lierde was out of the water first alongside Rasmus Henning, the rising Dane. Germany's Dirk Bockel joined the pair on the bike, and they worked together until the second transition. That's when Gaag, the 1999 world champion, closed the gap from the chasing group, beating the leading Van Lierde by just two seconds at the line.

Gaag's 33:07 run, 50 seconds faster than Van Lierde's, helped him to his finish in 1:50:37.

Belgian Kathleen Smet was also shut out of the winner's role when Germany's Anja Heil drop her and third-placing Nina Anisimova of Russia on the very hot run. Heil's 38:20, to Smet's 39:07, was the difference, as both were evenly matched in both swim (21:07) and bike (1:22:47) splits.

(RESULTS)

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HUP, TWO: Germany's Unger, Kosser are World Military Champs

June 15, Sabaudia, Lazio, Italy (www.slowtwitch.com):

Two Germans, Daniel Unger and Barbara Kosser, were the winners Wednesday in the 7th Military Triathlon World Championships in Sabaudia, a small Mediterranean town.

The Championships drew 114 athletes -- all active or reserve military -- from 16 countries.

The women started first in the Olympic-distance race. Kosser swam alone to a lead (21:20), which she carried through both the bike and the run. A chase pack of six couldn't catch her, so she finished 43 seconds up on Italy's Silvia Ricco. Sweden's Helen Willix ran a 37:16 10k -- the fastest of all women by nearly two minutes -- to finish third.

The men followed the women by 25 minutes. France's Stephane Poulat led all swimmers with a 19:31. He was followed by a sizeable pack, but Sweden's Joakim Axelsson dominated to break away and ride alone. From that pack emerged Unger, the young German who had just two weeks ago won the overall title in the Top4 Tour (four races in four days).

Unger's run split of 31:51 was three seconds faster than the race's runner-up, France's Sylvain Dodet. Germany's Maik Petzold, another strong runner, finished third.

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Available: One Ukrainian triathlon coach

May 16, Kiev, Ukraine (www.slowtwitch.com):

Dmitriy Kalachov -- head coach for the Ukraine national triathlon team -- is nearly available to work elsewhere.

"My contract with the Ukrainian federation will be over after the Olympics-2000, and I'm open for the employment proposal from the other national federations or clubs," he writes. "Ukraine, as you know, got two Olympics slots and qualified in the World Country Ranking as No. 7."

Kalachov coached Volodymyr Polikarpenko to a No. 16 world ranking, and Andriy Gluschenko to a No. 25 world ranking.

Both those men will be in the Sydney Olympics in September. And once that race is over, Dmitry Kalachov is available to work elsewhere. Gluschenko is best known as the 1997 junior world champion, and Polikarpenko's biggest moment was winning a bronze medal in the 1997 ITU World Triathlon Championships at Cancun. He also was third, more recently, in the Sydney World Cup in April and the 1998 European Championships.

Kalachov may be reached at the following contacts:

Tel/fax: (380-44) 220 1121
Mobile: (380-44) 561 4101
Mobile: (380-44) 201 7132
E-mail: adm@triukr.kiev.ua
Street address: 20,M.Gorkiy str.,apt.12,252 005, Kiev, Ukraine

The Ukrainian is the first of the international coaches to use Triathlonlive.com to make known his available status to a global triathlon audience. He will surely not be the last, because quite a bit of coaching and administrative turnover is expected following the Olympics.

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Italians win at home

April 24, Cefalu, Sicily, Italy (www.slowtwitch.com):

Italians Stefano Belandi and Silvia Gemignani won the season’s second Italian ITU Points Race, this one in Sicily on Easter Monday, a holiday.

By winning, Belandi paired with Alessandro Bottoni, Italy’s fourth-place finisher, in managing to dampen any American hopes of moving further up the rankings ladder. The points earned by Belandi moved him from No. 50 to No. 44. Bottoni’s points moved him from No. 54 to 53. That actually moved the Italians into the last country-spot to earn two Olympic slots by the rankings -- ahead of both the Mexicans and the Americans.

Belandi’s last international win came nearly three years ago, in the Triathlon de Milano in May, 1997.

Gemagnani was a winner by four minutes over Russia’s Eugenia Matveeva, a newcomer to international racing.

(RESULTS)

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Jenkins, Pagon win in Portugal

April 23, Praia Victoria, Azores, Portugal (www.slowtwitch.com):

Wales' Marc Jenkins scored his biggest international win ever, when he won on this Atlantic island and boosted his ITU world ranking from No. 81 to No. 65.

It's a nice return to form for Jenkins after a difficult second-half of his season last year. British teammate Craig Ball -- who is also racing on Monday in Sicily, another ITU Points Race -- gave the Brits another boost with his fourth-place finish. He provided a more comfortable safety margin when he brought himself from No. 98 to No. 87: Only those Brits in the top-100 can race off for the third Olympic slot, after Andrew Johns and Simon Lessing.

Behind Jenkins, Spain's Jose Merchan outsprinted Hungary's Csaba Kuttor for second.

American Amanda Pagon, second on April 9 in the ITU Points Race in Anzio, Italy, topped a smaller field of women. Her run was four minutes faster than runner-up Nathalie Daumas of France, so her win was never in doubt.

Both Jenkins and Pagon will be racing next week in the St. Anthony's Triathlon in Florida -- their last chance to move up in the rankings before the May 1 Olympic-qualifying cutoff.

(RESULTS)

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Four men: 2 races in 3 days

April 23, Cefalu, Sicily, Italy (www.slowtwitch.com):

Britain’s Craig Ball, ranked No. 98 before Saturday’s ITU Points Race at Azores, Portugal, and Richard Stannard, No. 120 before the same race, should get an award for pushing harder than anyone else in this last run-up for Olympic-qualifying points.

Anyone besides Italy’s Alessandro Bottoni and Hungary’s Csaba Kuttor, who are also trying to pull off high results with two races in three days.

The geography makes it possible. After racing on the Portuguese island, they fly on Easter Sunday to race on the Italian island. In Portugal, Ball finished fourth (pushing his ranking to No. 87), and Stannard took sixth (rising to No. 110). Kuttor, ranked No. 40, finished third, pulling himself to No. 32. Bottoni, ranked No. 54, failed to finish.

The starting list for Cefalu is interesting in that there are 10 Italians lining up, and Italy is currently just behind the US men in the race for two slots. Stefano Belandi, ranked No. 50, is in the position to do the most damage to US interests: He is just 90 points short of Hunter Kemper (after Kemper’s Noumea race on Sunday). Should he finish ninth or better, the US men would lose ground in the race for two slots by rankings.

Here are the starters for Sicily:

- Men from Chile: Matias Brain
- Men from Great Britain: Craig Ball, Richard Stannard, Pierre Yurow
- Men from Germany: Andreas Grohe
- Men from Hungary: Peter Hobor, Csaba Kutter
- Men from Italy: Stefano Belandi, Alessandro Bottoni, Jonathan
Ciavettalla, Andrea D'Aquino, Gianpietro DeFaveri, Giuseppe Ferraro,
Gianfranco Mione, Danilo Palmucci, Dimitri Rici, Gianpaolo Sala
- Men from Russia: Fedor Filippov, Leonid Ivanov, Evqueni Morozov, Anton
Tchontchko
- Men from Spain: Fernando Cabellos, Raùl Cordoba, Carlos Gil, Xavier Llobet
- Men from Ukraine: Andrey Glushechenko, Oleksandr Gumenyuk, Vasyl Hayduchok,
Tymofiy Kozachuk (UKR)

And the women:
- Italy's Daniela Locarno (Ultralite Triathlon)
- Italy's Silvia Gemignani (national team)
- Italy's Marata Giardelli (Ultralite Triathlon)
- Russia's Nina Anisimova (national team)
- Russia's Evguenia Matveeva (national team)
- America's Kathryn Estep (USA national team)
- Australia's Kyle Ryan (Cronulla Tri Club)

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Points in Portugal -- Azores race packs ‘em in

April 20, Praia de Vitoria, Portugal (www.slowtwitch.com):

Saturday's ITU Points Race here, the International Triathlon de Azores -- one of four such races remaining outside of the World Championships for triathletes to state their cases for Olympic selection -- should be a race among four closely-ranked men.

Those four headliners are Brazil's Leandro Macedo, with a world ranking of No. 38; Hungary's Csaba Kuttor (No. 40), Austria's Johannes Enzenhofer (No. 43) and Spain's Jose Merchan (No. 44).

They are racing for different reasons, all affixed to the key cutoff day, May 1, for Olympic qualification by country rankings:

• Macedo needs points in his country's effort to solidify Brazil's two slots. Countryman Juraci Moreira is racing Sunday in Noumea, trying for points there.
for the International Triathlon of Azores:

• Kuttor needs to race well to preserve or gain the one slot that is likely to go to either Hungary or Argentina. Argentina has the official edge going into the weekend, because the ITU has awarded regional points for the South American Championships, which was -- at the same time -- promoted as merely an international-level points race on the ITU calendar.

• Enzenhofer and Austria are just out of the single-slot territory, so there is pressure on him to race well here.

• Merchan, the third-ranked Spanish athlete, is also the one best-positioned to move up. Spain is just six slots away from gaining a third slot.

Here is the full field:

- Men from Austria: Johannes Enzenhofer
- Men from Brazil: Leandro Macedo
- Men from Costa Rica: Jose Rodriguez
- Men from Germany: Bernhard Fichtl, Oliver Presser, Axel Reusch
- Men from Great Britain: Craig Ball, Marc Jenkins, Richard Stannard, Pierre Yurow
- Men from Hungary: Csaba Kuttor
- Men from Italy: Alessandro Bottoni
- Men from Portugal: Joao Baptista, Lino Barruncho, Mario Cabecas, Nuno
Calvario, Alberto Campos, Mario Casimiro, Andre Campos, Pedro Cordeiro,
Ricardo Costa, Bruno Dias, Jorge Duarte, Rafael Gomes, Gustavo Hachmeister,
Antonio Jourdan, Mario Machado, Jose Oliveira, Sacha Pereira, Hugo Ribeiro,
Luis Santos, Jose Tiago,
- Men from Spain: Jose Merchan
- Men from Ukraine: Oleksandr Kruk, Roman Melnykov, Ihor Naum, Dmytro Skrytskyy
- Men from Venezuela: Camilo Gonzalez

- Women from France: Delphine Py
- Women from Germany: Julia Brengel
- Women from Great Britain: Karen Gordon, Heather Williams
- Women from Portugal: Rita Cabrita
- Women from Spain: Maribel Blanco
- Women from USA: Amanda Pagon

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Peterkova still chasing Olympic marathon dream

April 20, Debno, Poland (www.slowtwitch.com):

The Czech Republic’s Alena Peterkova, the winner on April 9 in the Powerman Jersey duathlon, has now won another race: this one, a marathon.

But even winning the 27th International Marathon Debno didn’t bring her what she wants, because her time of 2:34:22 was outside the Olympic standard of 2:33:30. No other Czech woman has run an Olympic qualifier, and Peterkova was hoping to achieve automatic selection by being the first, according to Race Results Weekly.

Peterkova, 39, had an extensive international marathon career before she turned to duathlons. Once the fourth-place finisher in the Boston Marathon, running 2:25:19 in 1994, she also sat out for two years after a steroids offense in 1995. She had won the Prague International Marathon in June 1995, but a post-race blood test drew her a four-year ban, shortened when the IAAF replaced four-year bans with two-year bans.

Peterkova started in duathlon in June 1997, as soon as her drugs suspension was over. She has since won 10 duathlon races -- six of them in 1998 -- in Europe, a mix of European Cup and Powerman events.

Debno was Peterkova’s second marathon this spring in her effort to land an Olympic-qualifier: She had finished a disappointing 26th in the Nogoya Marathon in Japan last month, Race Results Weekly reported.

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Leder, Py win a chilly Anzio Triathlon

April 10, Anzio, Italy (www.slowtwitch.com):

Triathletes chasing last-chance ITU world-ranking points at the Anzio International Triathlon met with a chilly sea, rain and strong winds on Sunday. There were numerous DNFs in the difficult conditions, but Germany’s Lothar Leder and France’s Delphine Py persevered for the win.

Leder, who was ranked No. 40 at year’s end, but had slipped to No. 59 as other, more-active athletes moved past him earlier this year, used the opportunity to regain lost spots in the Olympic-qualifying list. His 375 points for winning helped him move up to No. 49, and, more importantly, helped Germany regain two slots for Sydney that -- as of March 1 -- the German men had lost in the rankings that change wildly by the week.

France’s Py was making her debut not only for the 2000 season, but on the competitive senior circuit as well. The fifth-place finisher in the ITU Junior World Championships at Montreal last September, she showed she’ll be a new French force among elite races in Europe and elsewhere this summer.

Speaking of young French triathletes, Fréderic Belaubre -- still a junior, and a last-minute addition to the field -- took second to Leder. Leder won in 1:46:55, with the rising Belaubre -- also fifth last year in the World Junior Champs -- just seven seconds behind. He is the son of George Belaubre, one of the more celebrated French triathletes in the early ‘80s.

In the women’s race, Py -- a 21-year-old from Montpelier -- took the lead on the first lap of the run. Running in the rain, she finished 16 seconds ahead of the American, Amanda Pagon, and top Italian junior, Beatrice Lanza.

(RESULTS)

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April 9 Points Race in Anzio draws the Europeans

March 31, Anzio, Italy (www.slowtwitch.com)

In the rush for ITU world-ranking points, several top triathletes are heading for Anzio, Italy, on April 9, which will be the first of the year's ITU Points Races in Europe.

It falls on the same day as the third of the ITU World Cup races, in Ishigaki, Japan. Nonetheless, some of the athletes who are bypassing that -- including Americans Juliana Nievergelt and Amanda Pagon -- are heading for Italy in search of last-minute points.

Here is how the Anzio field is looking, so far, for the race not far from Rome:

- Women from Czech Republic: Lucie Zelonkova
- Women from France: Nathalie Daumas, Delphine Py
- Women from Russia: Nina Anisimova, Anna Ivanova, Euguenia Matveeva
- Women from Switzerland: Francisca Russli
- Women from United States: Juliana Nievergelt, Amanda Pagon

- Men from Canada: Philippe LeDuff
- Men from Chile: Matias Brain
- Men from Germany: Andreas Grohe
- Men from Great Britain: Stuart Hayes, Pierre Yurow
- Men from Italy: Marco Melchiori, Danilo Palmucci
- Men from Portugal: Miguel Casimiro, Luis Diago Santos, Jose Tiago Coutinho
- Men from Ukraine: Andrey Glushchenko
- Men from Russia: Leonid Ivanova, Eugene Morozav, Igor Sysoev, Anton Tchuchko

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Luxembourg to send Kemp-Arendt to Sydney

January 17, Luxembourg, Luxembourg (www.slowtwitch.com):

Nancy Kemp-Arendt, Luxembourg's best-known triathlete, and the ITU's No. 42-ranked woman, has been selected by the National Olympic Committee of Luxembourg (COSL) to represent the country in the Sydney Olympics.

This will be the second Olympics for Kemp-Arendt, now 30. She competed in the Seoul Olympics in swimming in 1988. She is a former member of Luxembourg's parliament, having served five years through last June.

Kemp-Arendt is one of a handful of athletes who will make the trip to Sydney for Luxembourg. The others are three swimmers, one tennis player, two in table tennis, one or two cyclists and one or two in athletics.