Weekend Box May 11 2014

This week’s choicest triathletic fare include two half Iron distance contests with excellent international fields held at breathtakingly lovely European resorts, a new Chinese World Cup venue which became the occasion of several career breakthroughs, and the 5th annual stage race held on the five major islands of the Hawaiian chain.

Andreas Dreitz and Lisa Hütthaler outpace famous foes to win Ironman 70.3 Mallorca

Andreas Dreitz of Germany won his second straight half-Ironman distance event and Lisa Hütthaler of Austria defended her title against excellent men’s and women’s fields at Ironman 70.3 Mallorca Saturday.

Dreitz overcame a 1:26 deficit after the swim with a dominating, überbikers-level 2:09:09 bike split and a just-good-enough, 5th-best 1:14:29 run to finish in 3:51:38 with a 1:55 margin of victory over runner-up Bart Aernouts of Belgium and 2:11 over 3rd-place finisher Andreas Raelert, the 2011 Mallorca 70.3 champion.

Aernouts, who dropped 1:32 to Dreitz on the swim and 5:18 on the bike leg, posted a race-best 1:10:08 run split which made up 4:21 but fell short. Raelert, who started 1:12 ahead of Dreitz on the swim but gave up 7:50 on the bike leg, ran a second-best 1:10:19 which fell prey to Aernouts’ surge in the final kilometer and left the German with the final spot on the podium.

Eneko Llanos of Spain, who ran down Aernouts and Raelert with a 1:08:41 closing split to win this race last year, could only manage a final 1:12:53 run split and finished 4th, 4:22 off the winning pace.

Dreitz, who finished 10th at this race last year, showed signs of excellence in 2013 with a 7th at Ironman 70.3 Wiesbaden and 3rd at Ironman 70.3 Timberman. But the young German announced he was ready for the big time this year with a dominating win at Challenge Fuerteventura where he also posted the day’s best bike split as well as the fastest run to top the runner-up, 2-time ITU long course World Champion Sylvain Sudrie of France, by a 1:34 margin.

Hütthaler, who prevailed in a fierce duel with Yvonne Van Vlerken to win this race last year, had no such trouble dominating Mallorca 70.3 in 2014, despite the presence of established rivals Sofie Goos of Belgium and Liz Blatchford of Great Britain.

Hütthaler’s 25:17 swim split trailed Blatchford by 1:45 and Natascha Schmitt of Germany by just 3 seconds. Like Dreitz, Hütthaler put the race away on the bike with a 2:25:49 split that outgunned Blatchford by 6 minutes 17 seconds and outpaced Goos by 8:03 and left everyone else a time zone in arrears.

Hütthaler showed she may well be ready to improve on her 7th place finish at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship last year by posting a race-best 1:22:44 run split that was 19 seconds better than Goos and 5:48 better than Blatchford, the Ironman World championship 3rd place finisher.

The win adds to Hütthaler’s growing résumé which includes 70.3 wins at Haugesund, St. Pölten and Mallorca last year and domination of the TRISTAR 111 series in 2012. But Hütthaler may never erase the cloud that hangs over her for use of the performance enhancing drug EPO which resulted in a two-year ban in 2009.

Thomas Cook Ironman 70.3 Mallorca
Mallorca, Spain
May 10, 2014
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.



1. Andreas Dreitz (GER) 3:51:38
2. Bart Aernouts (BEL) 3:53:33
3. Andreas Raelert (GER) 3:53:49
4. Eneko Llanos (ESP) 3:56:20
5. Ivan Raña (ESP) 3:56:52


1. Lisa Hütthaler (AUT) 4:18:50
2. Sofie Goos (BEL) 4:27:58
3. Liz Blatchford (GBR) 4:29:32
4. Laura Philipp (GER) 4:30:49
5. Astrid Ganzow (GER) 4:32:16

Wian Sullwald and Gillian Backhouse win Chengdu World Cup

Wian Sullwald of South Africa and Gillian Backhouse of Australia won their first career World Cups Saturday in the debut of Chengdu on the ITU calendar. Two U.S. triathletes also earned their first ITU World Cup podiums with silver medals as Kevin McDowell lost a finish line sprint with Sullwald by 1 second and Jessica Broderick finished 29 seconds behind Backhouse.

Sullwald broke out fast with a tied-for 5th-best 18:33 swim which topped Joe Maloy of the U.S. by 1 second as well as every rival who eventually finished in the top 10. U.S. veteran Jarrod Shoemaker and rising talent McDowell tied with 18:47 splits, 23 seconds back of swim leader Minghao Li of China.

While several ambitious competitors tried to break away on the first lap of the bike, the large 66-man field proved too big to shake and a front pack of 37 hit T2 in a clotted rush hour snarl.

Once the run began, the cream rose to the top and Sullwald and McDowell were the last two left out front. In the finish chute, Sullwald, the 2012 ITU Junior World Champion who finished 15th at the recent Cape Town World Triathlon Series event, nipped McDowell by a single second at the line. While McDowell outran Sullwald 31:05 to 31:11, the South African evened out the difference by posting a 6 seconds faster time in T2.

McDowell may have been disappointed to lose the sprint, but there was a lot to celebrate. “This was my best performance, in just my second World Cup race, to come out and get on the podium,” McDowell told USA Triathlon media. This was McDowell’s second straight podium, as he won the FISU World University Triathlon Championship last month. This season has been McDowell’s triumphant return to competition after battling Hodgkin’s’ lymphoma last season.

“This is real special for me,” said McDowell. “It is a signifying moment to say I have made it through. There were lots of trials and my friends, coaches and parents have been so supportive of me and helped me through. Without them I would not have made it.”

Unlike the men’s race, a group of 15 women broke away on the bike leg and established a lead of nearly 2 minutes at T2. Backhouse, who came into this race on a winning streak that included victories at Oceania Cups in Melbourne and Devenport as well as the Luke Harrop Memorial, broke away with a 3rd-fastest 36:22 run to finish in 2:01:04. Broderick, who was feeling the heat, ran 28 seconds slower, almost precisely Backhouse’s margin of victory, but it was enough to hold off fast-closing Claire Michel of Belgium for the runner-up position.

Michel and Lisa Perterer of Austria, who both lost 90 seconds when they fell behind the lead pack on the bike leg, charged back hard with 1st-and 2nd-fastest run splits of 35:09 and 35:43. Michel took 3rd, 13 seconds behind Broderick while Perterer finished 4th, 37 seconds behind Michel.

Broderick, who won the USA Triathlon Collegiate Women’s overall title in 2009 at age 18, endured setbacks last year as she dealt with injuries and was forced out of her apartment in the great Boulder, Colorado flood in September.

“I haven’t raced in 11 months so I had to be a bit cautious,” she told ITU media. “I had an injury last year and with the floods and all in Boulder it was too chaotic to race at the end of last year. I just started to work with [famed coach] Darren Smith this year and I had a consistent training block for the past four months and things are working. This is my all-time high for sure.”

Chengdu World Cup
Chengdu, China
May 10, 2014
S 1.5k / B 40k / R 10k



1. Wian Sullwald (RSA) 1:48:47
2. Kevin McDowell (USA) 1:48:48
3. Aurelién Lebrun (FRA) 1:48:59
4. Tony Dodds (NZL) 1:49:03
5. Jarrod Shoemaker (USA) 1:49:09
11. Joe Maloy (USA) 1:49:37
57. Jason Pedersen (USA) 1:55:00
66. John O’Neill (USA) 2:01:21


1. Gillian Backhouse (AUS) 2:01:04
2. Jessica Broderick (USA) 2:01:33
3. Claire Michel (BEL) 2:01:46
4. Lisa Perterer (AUT) 2:02:23
5. Tamsyn Moana-Veale (AUS) 2:02:40
16. Chelsea Burns (USA) 2:04:27
19. Erin Dolan (USA) 2:05:02

Domenico Passuello and Eimear Mullan win Challenge Rimini

Ireland’s Eimear Mullan and Italy’s Domenico Passuello won the second Challenge Rimini half on a course made somewhat easier than the inaugural.

In the men’s race, Passuello gave up 3 minutes to top swimmers including Bart Colpaert of Belgium, pre-race favorite Terenzo Bozzone of New Zealand, and 2012 Ironman Arizona winner Nils Frommhold of Germany. When Bozzone crashed on the bike, Passuello took advantage with a race-fastest bike split that gave the Italian the lead. Passuello closed the deal with a race-best run that brought him to the finish in 4:03:01 with a 4:33 margin of victory over runner-up Andreas Giglmayr of Austria and 5:14 over 3rd-place finisher Ritchie Nicholls of Scotland, who is the current Ironman 70.3 Europe champion. Massimo Cigana of Italy and Maurice Clavel of Germany took 4th and 5th, while Bozzone regrouped as best he could to take 6th.

Passuello’s win follows a 3rd place finish at Ironman Los Cabos earlier this year.

Like Passuello, Eimear Mullan lost 3 minutes to top swimmers including multiple Iron distance champion Gina Crawford of New Zealand. Mullan then caught every woman ahead of her on the bike leg save Tine Deckers of Belgium, who arrived in transition with a 2 minutes lead. Mullan then uncorked a race-best 1:22:58 run which gave her a 2:45 margin of victory over the Belgian and 5:24 over 3rd-place finisher Daniela Sämmler of Germany. Mullan’s win followed her recent 2nd-place finish at Challenge Fuerteventura.

Gina Crawford who finished fourth crossed the line with her son in her arms on this Mother's Day.

Challenge Rimini
Rimini, Italy
May 11, 2014
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.



1. Domenico Passuello (ITA) 4:03:01
2. Andreas Giglmayr (AUT) 4:07:34
3. Ritchie Nicholls (GBR) 4:08:15
4. Massimo Cigana (ITA) 4:09:31
5. Maurice Clavel (GER) 4:09:46


1. Eimear Mullan (IRL) 4:33:09
2. Tine Deckers (BEL) 4:35:54
3. Daniela Sämmler (GER) 4:38:33
4. Gina Crawford (NZL) 4:40:51
5. Gabriella Zelinka (HUN) 4:41:10

Epic5 Challenge - a stage triathlon for those for whom an Ultraman is not enough

While sitting in the audience after winning the 2009 ESPY Award for the Best Disabled Male Athlete, triathlete Jason Lester had a vision. “That vision was to go back to Hawaii and create an event that would bring communities together... while creating a platform for other athletes to stretch their minds and body to places they had never experienced. People told me I was crazy. Most said it was ‘humanly impossible.’"

That vision was the Epic5 Challenge – a quest for triathletes to finish an Iron distance triathlon on five straight days on the five major islands of the Hawaiian chain – Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui and Hawaii.

Jason Lester recalls the doubts leading up to that first event in 2010: “I sat and watched people doubt me in front of my face and watched from afar to see me fail. I tucked 3 Epic5 finishes under my belt and we've now had athletes from Spain, Chile, Argentina and the USA participate. There was ‘One’ single person who believed in me and she is the rock and glue of this event -- Rebecca. We are a small family that has a big heart, big mind and big dreams. We are The EPIC5 Challenge. We laugh, cry, suffer and drag each other to the finish line. This event is NOT possible without all the support from our family, friends and volunteers.”

This year 25 résumés were submitted. Five were chosen. The week before, two athletes pulled out due to injury. Two athletes completed all five, another finished three of the five, and two athletes completed the Kona leg and did it on behalf of the Never Stop Foundation.

Christopher Brennan (New York NY) became the 7th athlete ever to finish the Epic5 Challenge.
Chris Solarz (New York NY) became the 8th athlete ever to finish the Epic5 Challenge.
Keith Reiger (Surprise Arizona) completed 3 Iron distance triathlons in 5 days.

“We do not publish the times per islands due to respecting the athletes.” -- Epic5 founder Jason Lester.