In addition to featured races at Mallorca and Vietnam, The Weekend Box brings you news of another U.S. breakthrough at the Chengdu World Cup, winners of the classic half Ironman on the Gulf Coast, the full lineup of the Bahrain Endurance Team, and a new (famous) coach for Lukas Verzbicas.
Renee Tomlin of the U.S. and Ryan Fisher of Australia win Chengdu World Cup
Renee Tomlin of the U.S. won her first World Cup gold and Ryan Fisher of Australia won his second as they triumphed at the Chengdu ITU World Cup.
Former Georgetown NCAA runner Tomlin used her track speed to earn a come from behind victory, adding to her recent runner-up finish at the New Plymouth World Cup to mark her as another fast-rising U.S. women’s talent. Tomlin overcame a 37 seconds deficit after the swim with some patience on a hot day, waiting until the last lap of the run to pass leaders Arina Shulgina of Russia and Lisa Perterer of Austria.
“I guess coming off Mooloolaba [Tomlin finished 10th] where it was hot and [I was] having some nutrition and hydration issues… I said, ‘I have to nail it’ and thankfully I did,” Tomlin told ITU media. “I made sure those things were a priority. I am only a year into the sport and these are the things I am still learning about coming from a 4 minute race [4:08 PR in the 1500 meters] into a 2 hour race.”
Tomlin closed with a women’s-fastest 35:21 10k run to finish in 1:58:16 with a 6 seconds margin on Shulgina and 13 seconds on 3rd-place finisher Perterer. U.S. athletes Summer Cook took 4th, 20 seconds behind Perterer, and Kirsten Kasper took 10th, 1:06 behind Tomlin.
“The swim was just OK, the bike we worked hard and the run was good,” Shulgina told ITU media through an interpreter. “But at the end I had no more energy to give.”
“The swim went really bad, but when I came out of the water I thought, ‘Wow, this will be really hard today,’” said Perterer. “But we worked hard together and caught the lead group. This was very close to a win, but the energy was not there at the end.”
Like Tomlin, Fisher left the heroics to the end of the run to earn his second World Cup victory after taking the win at Ishigaki in 2013.
Fisher exited the swim in a 6th-fastest 18:52 split, 16 seconds after Gregory Billington of the U.S. 4 seconds after 4-time Olympian Hunter Kemper of the U.S., 2 seconds after U.S. rising star Kevin McDowell and 12 seconds ahead of the man he would battle in a sprint finish to the tape – Rostyslav Pevtsov of Russia.
Like many ITU races on relatively flat courses, the men formed a large pack and waited through a draft-legal procession to decode the race on the run.
Leaving matters to a sprint finish, Fisher, Rostyslav and Kevin McDowell of the U.S. broke away from the rest. After a 2nd-fastest 31:14 run, Fisher prevailed over the Russian by 1 second to finish in 1:46:07. After a 3rd-fastest 31:16 run, Kevin McDowell of the U.S. took 3rd, 4 seconds behind the runner-up.
Fisher was happy with his return to racing after taking time out for injury.
“I am over the moon to be honest,” said Fisher. “I have only raced a couple of local races so far this year and it has been a long time since I have done an ITU race, so this is a big confidence booster.”
With no recent ITU experience, Fisher was unsure how his sprint would fare.
“I have always had a little bit of confidence in my sprint,” Fisher told ITU media. “But at the end of a 10k it is not always the best sprinter who wins, it is who has a little bit left. I went on the blue carpet in second and there were three of us and – I don’t want to see the video as it won’t look good. I just closed my eyes and went for it.”
Pevtsov was happy with the second World Cup podium of his career.
“I give it everything today,” he told ITU media. “I have nothing else. He was too good in the finish.”
Like Tomlin, fellow U.S. triathlete McDowell credited patience with his podium finish on a hot day.
“It [the heat] throws down another challenge and you just have to adapt and you have to be patient,” said McDowell. “It was a big process goal for me to get through each discipline. Then on the run the key was being patient, knowing when to go and when not to. But I like the heat anyway so that was okay.”
Four-time Olympian Hunter Kemper finished 4th, closing with a 4th-best 31:21 to finish 5 seconds back of McDowell.
Chengdu World Cup
May 8, 2015
S 1.5k / B 40l / R 10l
1. Renee Tomlin (USA) 1:58:16
2. Arina Shulgina (RUS) 1:58:22
3. Lisa Perterer (AUT) 1:58:29
4. Summer Cook (USA) 1:58:49
5. Yulia Yelistratova (UKR) 1:59:00
10. Kirsten Kasper (USA) 1:59:25
36. Erin Jones (USA) 2:02:17
37. Erin Dolan (USA) 2:02:34
1. Ryan Fisher (AUS) 1:46:07
2. Rostyslav Pevtsov (AZE) 1:46:08
3. Kevin McDowell (USA) 1:46:12
4. Hunter Kemper (USA) 1:46:17
5. Brian Keane (IRL) 1:46:21
7. Gregory Billington (USA) 1:46:22
8. Manuel Huerta (PUR) 1:46:35
12. Eric Lagerstrom (USA) 1:46:47
30. Joe Maloy (USA) 1:47:54
50. Alan Webb (USA) 1:49:34
Tony White and Lori Williamson win 2015 Gulf Coast Triathlon half Ironman
Tony White of Nashville, Tennessee and Lori Williamson of Birmingham, Alabama won the overall titles at the classic half Ironman distance Gulf Coast Triathlon in Panama City Beach, Florida Saturday.
In a race that once served as a spring fixture which drew pros from around the country, Gulf Coast still thrives as a pure age group half Ironman test which is a magnet for amateurs in Florida and throughout the Southeast.
In the men’s contest, Tony White of Nashville combined a decent 27:38 swim in Gulf of Mexico waters, a best of the leading contenders 2:11:58 bike split and a 1:25:47 half marathon run to finish in 4:08:33 with a 1:15 margin of victory over runner-up Christopher Borden of Haleyville, Alabama and 10:36 over 3rd-place Matt Triick of Macon, Georgia. Best age-graded performance by far was the 4th overall finish of 57-year-old Jeff Cuddeback of Longwood, Florida.
Lori Williamson of Birmingham dominated the women’s overall by 5:40 over runner-up Emily Rollins of Brentwood, Tennessee and 13:10 over 3rd-place finisher Sofia Rossiter of Metairie, Louisiana. Williamson combined a 28:56 swim, a 2:39:50 bike split and a 1:28:15 run to finish in 4:41:19.
Gulf Coast Triathlon
Panama City Beach, Florida
May 9, 2015
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Tony White (Nashville, TN) 4:08:33 * M30-34
2. Christopher Borden (Haleyville, AL) 4:09:48 * M35-39
3. Matt Triick (Macon, GA) 4:19:09 * M30-34
4. Jeff Cuddeback (Longwood, FL) 4:22:01 * M55-59
5. Craig Evans (Hendersonville, TN) 4:22:41 * M35-39
1. Lori Williamson (Birmingham, AL) 4:41:19 *F30-34
2. Emily Rollins (Brentwood, TN) 4:46:49 * F35-39
3. Sofia Rossiter (Metairie, LA) 4:54:29 *F35-39
4. Robyn Winkler (McKenzie, TN) 4:59:08 *F30-34
5. Lauren Clifford (Pensacola, FL) 4:59:40 *F25-29
Uxio Abuin Ares and Jeanne Lehair win Madrid ETU European Champs
Uxio Abuin Ares of Spain and Jeanne Lehair of France won the Madrid ETU European Championship Sunday.
Ares blazed from a minute behind with a 30:46 run that nipped Cesar Saracho of Mexico at the finish. Ares finished the Olympic distance course in 1:55:40, three seconds ahead of Saracho and 22 seconds ahead of 3rd-place finisher Emilio Aguayo of Spain.
Hunter Lussi of the U.S. finished 30th in a time of 2:00:33.
Lehair finished in 2:10:10 with a 24 seconds margin on Sara Dossena of Italy and 45 seconds on 3rd-place finisher Sophie Coldwell of Great Britain.
Madrid ETU European Championship
May 10, 2015
S 1.5k / B 40k / R 10k
1. Uxio Abuin Ares (ESP) 1:55:40
2. Cesar Saracho (MEX) 1:55:43
3. Emilio Aguayo (ESP) 1:56:02
4. Aurelien Raphael (FRA) 1:56:25
5. Nan Oliveras (ESP) 1:56:29
6. Stuart Hayes (GBR) 1:57:03
25. Hunter Lussi (USA) 2:00:33
1. Jeanne Lehair (FRA) 2:10:10
2. Sara Dossena (ITA) 2:10:34
3. Sophie Caldwell (GBR) 2:10:55
4. Paulina Kotfica (POL) 2:11:25
5. Emma Bilham (SUI) 2:11:33
Complete Bahrain Endurance Team triathletes roster announced
The management of the ambitious Bahrain Endurance Team filled out its imposing 13-person roster as well as 7 members of a development squad which includes 2-time Ironman World Champion Chris McCormack as an honorary member who will coach and mentor the other six.
Earlier this week the Bahrain Endurance 13 Team management named as members 2008 Olympic champion Jan Frodeno, 4-time ITU World Champion and Ironman 70.3 World Champion Javier Gomez, Ironman 70.3 World Champion Terenzo Bozzone, two-time World Champion Jodie Swallow and current stars James Cunnama, and Brent McMahon.
On an extended publicity rollout, at the end of this week they added Luke Bell, Joe Gambles and Sam Appleton of Australia, plus Ben Hoffman of the U.S. and multiple world champions Caroline Steffen and Daniela Ryf of Switzerland to the Bahrain Endurance 13 roster.
In an attempt at a dramatic flourish, the 13th and final big name on Bahrain’s varsity roster was released Sunday – two-time Ironman 70.3 and 2014 Ironman World Champion Sebastian Kienle of Germany.
In addition to McCormack, the team management announced six more members of their development squad – Australians Josh Amberger, Paul Ambrose and Eric Watson, plus David Plese of Slovenia, Fredrik Croneborg of Sweden and Domenico Passuello of Italy.
According to the release, team members were handpicked by team manager Chris McCormack and His Highness Shaikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain, who has insisted that a percentage of the team winnings will be devoted to the development of sport in Bahrain.
The Bahrain Endurance team is arguably the most star-studded competitive enterprise in triathlon history, its roster of champions surpassing the talent-rich large scale rosters of Tri-Dubai, Commerzbank, Team Abu Dhabi and Team TBB.
Lukas Verzbicas is now coached by Brett Sutton
On Thursday, super coach Brett Sutton announced that he is now coaching the extremely talented but so far star-crossed 22-year-old Lukas Verzbicas of the U.S.
Verzbicas is the Lithuanian-born runner who moved to the U.S with his mother and stepfather at the age of 9. Verzbicas was the fifth American high school boy to run a sub-4 minute mile, which he did in 2011 at the end of his senior year in high school. During his high school track career, Verzbicas also trained and raced in triathlon – winning the Duathlon World Junior World championships in 2009 in the same year that he won the Footlocker Cross Country Championships for a second time. In 2010, Verzbicas finished 4th at the ITU World Junior Triathlon Championships and won the 2011 ITU World Junior Triathlon Championship in Beijing.
After a short stint at the University of Oregon where he was a member of their vaunted track team, Verzbicas withdrew and a short time later decide to also withdrew from the USA Triathlon Elite Triathlon Academy to focus full time on a professional triathlon career.
Those plans were harshly interrupted on July 31, 2012, when Verzbicas was seriously injured in a cycling accident in Colorado Springs. Verzbicas suffered a broken collarbone, two fractured vertebrae, and a collapsed lung. He also suffered post-operative paralysis in his right leg but slowly regained motor control.
While Verzbicas began rehab and was able to race the Carlsbad 5000 road race earlier this year, progress was slow and difficult in overcoming extensive injuries. In his blog, Sutton outlined Verzbicas’ extensive physical challenges: “His shoulder began to seize up in the swim. His ankle, now a distinctly different animal than it used to be [is] causing discomfort in his run, while his broken back started to call in its chips and hurt during long rides.”
Sutton stated that he planned to remodel Verzbicas’ swim stroke to not require as much flexibility in the water, changed his bike position, and adjusted his run technique so his ankle “will feel more at home.”
Most important, says Sutton, Verzbicas will be training in Switzerland without old expectations and time pressures that surrounded him in the U.S.