This week we celebrate two Olympic gold medalists atop the podium in Austria, two first time off road winners in Greece, last year’s Life Time Fitness Series winners conquering Philly, and two tough Germans taking the cake in Germany.
Brownlee and Spirig strike gold in Kitzbühel
Alistair Brownlee, the 2012 Olympic champion still on the mend after losing months due to an injury, won his 5th victory at Kitzbühel and his third European Championship by a 24 seconds margin over Dmitry Polyanskiy. Nicola Spirig, the 2012 Olympic champion, won her 4th European Championship by a 16 seconds margin over young German challenger Sophia Saller in her first elite international race of the season after taking time off in 2013 for the birth of her first child.
Brownlee, who was off his world-best form early this season with 4th place finishes at World Triathlon Series races in Yokohama and London, edged a little closer to 100 percent against a second tier field on one of his favorite venues. On a multi-loop bike course that was nowhere near as challenging as last year’s climb up the daunting 20-percent mountain grade, a ridiculously large pack of 54 men came off the bike together at T2. Whereupon the man with a 28:32 10k PR on the track left the mere mortals in his wake with a race-best 31:05 split to leave runner-up Polyanskiy and 3rd place finisher Vicente Hernandez in his wake.
“I’m getting better in each race but I’m still not at 100 percent of my full potential,” said Brownlee. “For those who were thinking that Alistair Brownlee was finished and his best days were over, I ‘m glad I can say I have still got plenty left.”
On a cold, rainy and rare Friday start, 2012 Olympic champion Nicola Spirig remained calm after emerging from the swim 10th, 56 seconds behind leader Sara Vilic of Austria and nearly a minute behind the dangerous Rachel Klamer of the Netherlands. In a pouring rain, Spirig charged hard, working with Lisa Perterer on the bike to close the 1 minute gap on the leaders. On the run, Spirig took advantage of the fitness she displayed with a 2:42:54 marathon in April to survive some last lap cramps and post a tied-for-race-best 36:19 run split to finish in 2:10:24 with a 16 second margin over Saller.
“It was ironic – I was happy to catch up to the leaders on the second lap of the bike,” said Spirig. “But it was so cold I still had to work hard on the bike and the run to keep warm.
ETU European Championship
June 20-21, 2014
S 1.5k / B 40k / R 10k
Elite men – June 21
1. Alistair Brownlee (GBR) 1:54:08
2. Dmitry Polyanskiy (RUS) 1:54:35
3. Vicente Hernandez (ESP) 1:54:39
4. Fernando Alarza (ESP) 1:54:54
5. Alexander Bryukhankov RUS) 1:55:07
Elite Women – June 20
1. Nicola Spirig (SUI) 2:10:24
2. Sophia Saller (GER) 2:10:40
3. Annamaria Mazzetti (ITA) 2:10:58
4. Hanna Philippin (GER) 2:11:16
5. Lois Rosindale (GBR) 2:11:35
6. Rachel Klamer (NED) 2:11:47
Francois Carloni and Kathrin Müller win XTERRA Greece
Francois Carloni of France and Kathrin Müller of Germany won their first major XTERRA victories at Lake Plastira in Greece.
Carloni, who had an XTERRA European Tour breakthrough second place finish a few weeks ago in Portugal, emerged from the swim a minute or two behind Spaniards Roger Serrano and Albert Soley. Carloni, a superb mountain biker, caught the two on a steep climb on the second lap of the bike and hit T2 with a 3-minute lead on Soley. Serrano, who lost a minute with a wrong turn, was 4 minutes back. While Carloni broke a bone in his foot earlier in the year and took it easy on the run, he cruised to the finish in 2:23:38 with a 4:16 margin of victory over Serrano and 5:14 over Soley.
“I was so worried about the two Spanish guys,” said Carloni. “I take the first lap at a good pace and then as I start the second lap my foot feels much better and I did the second lap faster than the first.”
While Carloni had to come from behind, Müller led from the gun and emerged from the swim far ahead of two-time XTERRA European Tour champion Helena Erbenova of the Czech Republic. By the end of the first lap on the bike, Müller maintained a 2-minute lead, but Erbenova was closing fast. By the finish of the bike, Erbenova had closed to within 30 seconds.
If not for the energy she expended catching Muller, the fleet footed Erbenova would have been a good bet for the win. But on this day, Erbenova’s tank was empty and Müller extended her lead to 1:53 at the finish. “I just could not run today,” said Erbenova. “When I started to run my body just would not go.”
Lake Plastira, Greece
June 21, 2014
S 750m / B 30k / R 10k
1. Francois Carloni (FRA) 2:23:28
2. Roger Serrano (ESP) 2:27:44
3. Albert Soley (ESP) 2:28:46
4. Rory Downie (GBR) 2:29:55
5. Tomas Kubek (CZE) 2:30:45
1. Kathrin Müller (GER) 2:40:52
2. Helena Erbenova (CZE) 2:42:45
3. Brigitta Poor (HUN) 2:51:07
4. Louise Fox (GBR) 3:01:01
Jesse Thomas and Meredith Kessler prevail at Ironman 70.3 Mt. Tremblant
After a year off to tend to his injuries, Jesse Thomas has come back strong. After a 4-peat win at Wildflower long course in May, Thomas had a hiccup as he went 10 kilometers off course at Eagleman – but retained his renewed optimism as he raced well and remained healthy. Today, Thomas broke away from Trevor Wurtele of Canada by a 1:15 on the bike and 1:12 on the run to finish in 3:52:31 with a 2:46 margin of victory over Wurtele and 12:49 over 3rd place finisher Leon Griffin of Australia.
Meredith Kessler continued her 2014 hot streak which includes a race record win at Ironman New Zealand and a win against a top rank field at Ironman 70.3 St. George. Kessler and comeback kid Julie Dibens, back in action after losing two-plus years to injuries, broke away with 25:15 and 25:17 swims, remained like Bobbsey Triathlon Twins through 2:19:21 and 2:19:21 bike splits before hitting the run with a 12 minute lead on the field.
At that point, Dibens’ years away from training showed, and Kessler ran away to the win with a 2nd-fastest 1:24:39 run which was 7:28 faster than the 2009 Ironman 70.3 World Champion’s split. Kessler finished in 4:13:23 with a 7:30 margin of victory over Dibens and 10:25 over fellow Aussie Laura Siddall, who ran 1:22:25, the women's fastest.
Ironman 70.3 Mt. Tremblant
Mt. Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
June 22, 2014
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Jesse Thomas (USA) 3:52:31
2. Trevor Wurtele (CAN) 3:55:17
3. Leon Griffin (AUS) 4:05:20
4. David Kahn (USA) 4:06:42
5. Louis Therien (CAN) 4:11:54
1. Meredith Kessler (USA) 4:13:23
2. Julie Dibens (GBR) 4:20:53
3. Laura Siddall (GBR) 4:23:48
4. Sarah Cameto (USA) 4:30:38
5. Magali Tisseyre (CAN) 4:31:15
Cameron Dye and Alicia Kaye win Tri Rock 5i50 Philadelphia
Cam Dye beat Andy Potts on the bike and Alicia Kaye ran away from Sara McLarty at Tri Rock 5i50 Philadelphia.
Andy Potts edged Cameron Dye by one second in the swim, then Dye worked his magic on the bike leg and smashed Potts by 2:38. Dye then held Potts to a 1:11 advantage on the run to finish in 1:48:06 with a 1:35 margin of victory over Potts and a 1:47 advantage over 3rd-place finisher and 2014 USA Triathlon Collegiate nationals champion Rodolphe von Berg,
The win was Dye’s 3rd in 2014 after victories at Life Time Fitness South Beach and Cap Tex, plus a 2nd at middle distance Rev3 Knoxville.
Alicia Kaye continued her string of excellent performances at Life Time Fitness races, which included 2013 wins at Oceanside, Dallas, Tempe and Chicago as well as a recent 2nd place at Cap Tex. Kaye trailed Sara McLarty by 53 seconds after the swim, then passed her rival with a race-fastest 1:02:14 bike split, then sealed the victory with a race fastest 37:47 10k run that brought her to the finish in 1:59:36 with a 4:35 margin of victory over runner-up McLarty and 6:24 over 3rd-place finisher Laurel Wassner.
Tri Rock Philadelphia 5i50
June 22, 2014
S 1.2 mi. / 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Cameron Dye (USA) 1:48:06
2. Andy Potts (USA) 1:49:41
3. Rodolphe Von Berg (USA) 1:49:53
4. Mark Bowstead (NZL) 1:50:06
5. Jason West (USA) 1:50:52
6. David Thompson (USA) 1:52:17
1. Alicia Kaye (USA) 1:59:36
2. Sara McLarty (USA) 2:03:59
3. Laurel Wassner (USA) 2:06:00
4. Abby Geurink (USA) 2:07:18
5. Rebeccah Wassner (USA) 2:08:07
Dreitz beats Kienle, Bazlen tops Lisk at Heilbronn City Triathlon
Andreas Dreitz of Germany proved once again he belongs among the best in the world at the middle distances with a third victory over stellar opposition in 2014, this time at the City of Heilbronn Triathlon. Fellow German Svenja Bazlen, coming off a win at the Abu Dhabi International short course and a 3rd at Ironman 70.3 Panama, buried all opposition with a dominant bike split to take the women's crown at this 2k swim-70k bike-15k run event.
It’s not that Dreitz has won three times in 2014. It’s the high quality of his opposition that marks him as a contender for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship. After winning Challenge Fuerteventura where he beat 2-time ITU long distance world champion Sylvain Sudrie, Dreitz really got going at Ironman 70.3 Mallorca where his stellar bike and excellent run topped Bart Aernouts, Andreas Raelert, Eneko Llanos and Ivan Raña. At the slightly less than 70.3 distance Heilbronn race, Dreitz faced no less than two-time Ironman 70.3 World Champion Sebastian Kienle and the similarly world class resume of Andreas Raelert.
Dreitz led Kienle by 2 minutes out of the swim, and maintained that advantage after the bike leg. Kienle made a try on the run, bur could only cut the advantage to 1:41 at the finish. Maurice Clavel trailed by 6:20 to take 3rd, while Raelert, obviously off form, took 4th, 7:38 arrears.
In the women's race, Ricarda Lisk led the swim but fell behind the onslaught of Bazlen’s 6 minutes faster bike split. Lisk pushed hard, but Bazlen prevailed in a time of 3:18:40, which gave Bazlen a 2 minutes 31 seconds margin of victory.
City of Heilbronn Triathlon
June 22, 2014
S 2k / B 70k/ R 15k
1. Andreas Dreitz (GER) 2:56:58
2. Sebastian Kienle (GER) 2:58:39
3. Maurice Clavel (FRA) 3:03:18
4. Andreas Raelert (GER) 3:04:36
5. Henry Beck (GER) 3:11:37
1. Svenja Bazlen (GER) 3:18:40
2. Ricarda Lisk (GER) 3:21:11
3. Natascha Schmitt (GER) 3:31:15
4. Nina Kuhn (GER) 3:34:48
5. Tanja Erath ( GER) 3:36:31