This weekend triathlon took a supporting role on the sporting world stage to stirring Wimbledon and World Cup contests and a nervous start to the Tour de France in England.
Still there was worldwide swim-bike-run action on the streets in Canada, Norway and the Netherlands as well as along some rugged forest trails in France. We also have an ESPY awards contender and an amazing young guacamole consumer in Oregon as messy and as hungry as those 4th of July hot dog eating contestants at Coney Island.
Timothy O’Donnell and Mirinda Carfrae make it a household double at St. Andrews
One day after Hurricane Arthur blew through town, competitors at the inaugural Challenge St. Andrews half distance triathlon enjoyed sunny skies and only modestly windy conditions that welcomed swift performances by triathlon's current most talented couple.
Timothy O’Donnell and 2-time Ironman World Champion Mirinda Carfrae pulled off a second straight household double as husband and wife won the men’s and women's titles at the inaugural Challenge St. Andrews in New Brunswick, Canada.
O’Donnell, the U.S. star coming off three straight podiums at 70.3 races -- a win at St. Croix and runner-up finishes at Eagleman and Brazil -- earned the bigger margin of victory as he finished in 3:53:03 with a 12 minutes 32 seconds margin over runner-up Canadian Cody Beals and 14:45 over 3rd-place finisher Cedric Boily of nearby Moncton, New Brunswick.
O'Donnell's dominance of the day was complete as he posted the day's best swim (22:52), best bike split (2:12:30) and best run (1:13:19).
Carfrae finished 7th overall including the men with a 4:18:35 finish that gave her a slightly-smaller-than-her-husband 10:19 margin over runner-up Charisa Wernick of the United States and 12:26 over 3rd-place finisher Annie Gervais of Canada.
Carfrae combined the 2nd-best 26:37 swim, race-best bike split (2:27:32) and race-fastest run (1:19:44).
The O'Donnell-Carfrae double is getting to be a habit. Back on April 6th, the sport's current best husband and wife combination won the men’s and women's titles at Ironman 70.3 Brazil.
Karen Smyers, the 1995 ITU Olympic distance World Champion and 1995 Ironman World Champion, won the women's 50-54 division and placed 6th woman overall in a time of 4:54:01.
This race, situated in the New Brunswick maritime resort of St. Andrews, just across the St. Croix River from Robbinston, Maine, was the first Challenge family half distance triathlon in North America. It followed by a week the inaugural full distance Challenge Atlantic City event in New Jersey.
Kingsbrae Garden Challenge St. Andrews
St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada
July 6, 2014
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Timothy O’Donnell (USA) 3:53:03
2. Cody Beals (CAN) 4:05:35 * M20-24
3. Cedric Boily (CAN) 4:07:48
4. Nathan Buttrick (USA) 4:12:40
5. Scott Cooper (CAN) 4:13:24 * M25-29
1. Mirinda Carfrae (AUS) 4:18:35
2. Charisa Wernick (USA) 4:28:54
3. Annie Gervais (CAN) 4:31:01
4. Carolyn Pfalzgraf (USA) 4:43:49 * F25-29
5. Angela Quick (CAN) 4:49:38
6. Karen Smyers (USA) 4:54:01 * F50-54
Filip Ospaly and Susannah Hignett win Ironman 70.3 Haugesund
Filip Ospaly of the Czech Republic won his third straight Haugesund title by 79 seconds and Susannah Hignett of Great Britain dominated the women's field to win the men’s and women's titles at Ironman 70.3 Norway.
Ospaly opened his day with a 3rd-fastest 22:05 swim that was 12 seconds behind swim leader Mark Threlfall. Ultimately more important, he was 1:48 ahead of Andreas Dreitz, who was coming off impressive victories at Challenge Fuerteventura and Mallorca 70.3.
Ospaly, in his first start of 2014 just five weeks after arthroscopic knee surgery, staked out a 3:42 lead at T2 over Todd Skipworth and 3:44 over Dreitz after his race-best 2:10:42 bike split.
Halfway through the run, Ospaly was seemingly in no danger as he maintained a 3:06 lead on Chris McCormack and Skipworth and 3:22 on Dreitz. As McCormack faded and Skipworth maintained his pace, Dreitz turned on the afterburners on his way to a race-best 1:12:44 run split that was 2:37 better than the Czech. That still left Ospaly with enough reserve to finish in 3:50:43 with a 1:19 margin of victory over the German and 2:18 over 3rd-place finisher Skipworth.
Rebeccah Wassner of the U.S. grabbed the women’s lead with a 25:09 swim split that gave her a 1:18 lead on Hignett and 2:36 on Marit Vala of Norway. Hignett then took all the drama out of the race with a race-fastest 2:29:19 bike split that gave her an 8:38 lead on Wassner and 10:45 on Louise Rundqvist of Sweden.
Wassner pushed hard, but her 2nd-fastest 1:23:50 run split gave up 35 more seconds to Hignett’s race-best mark and left her in second place, 9:22 back of the winner. Kristin Lie of Norway took the final spot on the podium, 5:42 back of Wassner.
Ironman 70.3 Norway
July 6, 2014
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Filip Ospaly (CZE) 3:50:43
2. Andreas Dreitz (GER) 3:52:02
3. Todd Skipworth (AUS) 3:53:01
4. Little-Georg Potrebitsch (GER) 3:56:27
5. Gudmund Sniltveit (NOR) 3:57:43
7. Chris McCormack (AUS) 3:59:54
1. Susannah Hignett (GBR) 4:22:31
2. Rebeccah Wassner (USA) 4:31:53
3. Kristin Lie (NOR) 4:37:35
4. Louise Rundqvist (SWE) 4:40:18
5. Nicole Klingler (LIE) 4:45:20
Ruben Ruzafa and Kathrin Müller win XTERRA France
Current XTERRA World Champion, XTERRA European Tour leader and former pro mountain biker Ruben Ruzafa of Spain won it on the bike leg and Kathrin Müller of Germany won the women's title on the swim and bike legs at XTERRA France.
Ruzafa needed every second he gained on the twisty mountain bike course to hold off a strong challenge on the swim and run by Australian Braden Currie.
Ben Allen of Australia was quickest out of the water with an 18:12 clocking. Currie and 2013 XTERRA World Championship runner-up Asa Shaw tied for next-best swim with a 19:05 splits which were 1:24 faster than Yeray Luxem of Belgium, 1:25 faster than Ruzafa and 1:59 quicker than Kris Coddens of Belgium.
Ruzafa then worked his off road magic with a race-best 2:03:31 split which was 5 minutes better than Currie and Coddens, 7 minutes better than Luxem and Shaw and 13 minutes better than an off-form Ben Allen. Ruzafa started the run with a 3:20 lead on Currie, 5:34 on Coddens, and 8:37 on Shaw.
Currie then went to work on the run, posting a 2nd-fastest 45:44 split that chopped 2:23 off Ruzafa’s lead but left the Spaniard with a 59 seconds margin of victory and a 3:20 margin on 3rd place finisher Kris Coddens. The win puts Ruzafa in a seemingly unassailable lead in the XTERRA European Tour men’s standings with a perfect four wins in four starts that leaves his nearest pursuer Yeray Luxem 180 points behind.
Müller, who came into this race with a 37-pount lead in the European Tour women's standings after a second place at XTERRA Spain and wins at Greece and Switzerland, had an easier time than Ruzafa. She started with a race-best 20:04 swim that gave her a 25 seconds advantage on Jacqui Slack of Great Britain, 1:25 on Chantell Widney of Canada, 2:37 on Renata Bucher of Switzerland and 2:42 on Carina Wasle of Austria.
Like Ruzafa, Müller put the hammer down on the mountain bike leg with a race-best 2:34:15 split that gave her a 3:53 lead on Bucher, 7:17 on Wasle, and 9:10 on Widney.
Müller then cruised to a 57:01 run that gave back 3:37 to Wasle and 3:19 to Widney but gaimed 1:52 on Bucher. Müller finished in 3:53:47 with a 3:49 margin of victory on Wasle and 5:51 on 3rd-place finisher Bucher, with Widney another 9 seconds back in 4th place.
Valee des lacs, France
July 6, 2014
1. Ruben Ruzafa (ESP) 3:14:41
2. Braden Currie (AUS) 3:15:40
3. Kris Coddens (BEL) 3:18:01
4. Yeray Luxem (BEL) 3:19:07
5. Asa Shaw (GBR) 3:23:22
6. Ben Allen (AUS) 3:28:52
1. Kathrin Müller (GER) 3:53:47
2. Carina Wasle (AUT) 3:57:36
3. Renata Bucher (SUI)3:59:38
4. Chantell Widney (CAN) 3:59:47
5. Sandra Koblmüller (AUT) 4:02:19
Dmitry Polyanskiy and Rachel Klamer win Holten ETU European Cup
WTS veterans Dmitry Polyanskiy of Russia and Rachel Klamer of the Netherlands won the Holten ETU Triathlon Premium European Cup in the Netherlands Saturday.
Polyanskiy could be said to have won this race in the transition. After a race-long duel with Germany’s Christopher Hettich, most of his margin of victory was accounted for by his swifter T1 and T2.
Polyanskiy emerged from the swim first in 17:46, three seconds in front of his brother Igor, 10 seconds ahead of fellow Russian Andrey Bryukhankov and most important, 24 seconds ahead Hettich. In T1, Polyanskiy gained 5 more seconds on Hettich, then gave back 26 seconds on the 40 kilometer bike segment. After posting a 1:19 time in T2, he gained 5 more seconds on Hettich and started the run with an 8 seconds advantage.
Polyanskiy sealed his victory with a race-best 32:30 run which was 4 seconds better than Hettich and brought him to the finish in 1:49:54 with a 12 seconds margin of victory.
Regardless of his modest margin of victory over a third-tier race, Polyanskiy’s win marks another in a long string of consistently excellent results stretching back two years. In 2012, Polyanskiy won the Tongyeong World Cup, took 3rds at the Yokohama World Cup and WTS Stockholm and was 7th at the WTS Grand Final. In 2013, the Russian veteran was 3rd at the Cozumel World Cup and 4th at the WTS Grand final in London. This year, he was 3rd at WTS Cape Town, 2nd at the Kitzbuhel European Championships and 4th at WTS Chicago.
In the women's race, Klamer was near the front of the swim in 19:09, posted the second-fastest 1:05:41 bike split and cinched the home country victory with a 3rd-best 37:38 run which gave up 1:23 to Audrey Merle of France but was enough to finish in 2:04:48 with a 1:23 margin of victory over Merle and 1:56 over 3rd-place finisher Kate Roberts of South Africa.
This win is the highlight of Klamer’s 2014 season, coming after a 6th at the European Championship in Kitzbühel, 43rd at WTS Cape Town and 10th at WTS Auckland.
ETU Triathlon Premium European Cup
July 5, 2014
S 1.5k / B 40k / R 10k
1. Dmitry Polyanskiy (RUS) 1:49:54
2. Christopher Hettich (GER) 1:50:06
3. Simon Viain (FRA) 1:50:14
4. Tyler Mislawchuk (CAN) 1:50:35
5. Raphael Montoya (ESP) 1:50:52
24. Rodolphe Von Berg (ITA) 1:54:14
26. Sean Jefferson (USA) 1:54:43
1. Rachel Klamer (NED) 2:04:48
2. Audrey Merle (FRA) 2:06:11
3. Kate Roberts (RSA) 2:06:44
4. Alexandra Cassan Ferrier (FRA) 2:07:14
5. Gaia Peron (ITA) 2:07:57
Jamie Whitmore nominated for the ESPY Award
Jamie Whitmore has been nominated for the 22nd Annual ESPY Awards as one of five candidates for the Best Female Athlete with a Disability which will be awarded July 16 at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.
Whitmore won 37 XTERRA championship races, five XTERRA USA National titles and one XTERRA World Championship before being struck by a rare and virulent form of cancer known as spindle cell carcinoma early in 2008. After they removed her left gluteus and cleaned out cancer cells around her sciatic nerve, doctors had low expectations for a return to competition. Back in 2008, one of her cancer doctors told her: “You might be able to ride a stationary bike again one day.”
Two years after her illness struck, she and husband Courtney Cardenas decided to have children and she gave birth to twins. Three years after the onset of her cancer, Whitmore went for her first outdoor ride on a tandem bicycle. A year later she won the 12.18 mile time trial in the C-3 category for Paracyclists at the USA Cycling Nationals.
Since then, Whitmore has been a shooting star in Paracycling. In 2013, she went undefeated in the 2013 Road World Cup series and won all six C-3 road and time trials events at the 2013 UCI Paracyling Road World Championships. In 2014, she took first place at a C-3 category road race in the 2014 UCI World Cup in Italy and won gold medals and set world records in time trial and pursuit events at the 2014 UCI Paracycling Track World Championship.
If you wish to vote for Jamie as the Best Female Athlete with a Disability for the 20914 ESPY Awards, go this link: http://espn.go.com/espys/2014/vote/?id=11044668&lang=en.
The Guacamole Kid
Four-time Wildflower winner Jesse Thomas and his wife, 5,000 meter track star Lauren Fleshman posted this fantastic picture of their son Jude polishing off a glass dish of guacamole with gusto.