Sunday – The competition weekend kicked off on Saturday with the Volcano Triathlon, a ‘European’ spring classic on the sports island of Lanzarote. No big Dutch names this time, but Dieter Comhair from the Belgian side. The Belgian was second here last year, so he has a good chance of finishing on the podium in a field with sub-toppers.
Koher and Kurran dance on the volcano
Reece Barclay, George Wilkes and Jonathan Jackson opened strongly with swims that required Comhair to concede 2.5 minutes. However, he surged forward from 18th place to start the run alongside Italian Nicola Tucci, Lewis Woodgate and Bello Osoro Gutierrez. The triathlete from Diepenbeek, who wanted to try it as a pro, showed himself to be the fastest in 31.09 minutes. Italian Duchy finished second from SP&O Mechelen, 24 seconds ahead of Limburger, with Spaniard Osoro Gutierrez third. Favorites such as Alessandro Degasperi (6th) and Reece Barclay (8th) fell.
It’s great to have the whole Hobson family of frequent Volcoano winner Richard in attendance. His sons Oscar and Forbes finished 12th and 13th, with Richard himself winning the M55 group and his wife Dorde second in the F50.
Kate Curran was third three years ago, and last year she participated almost invisibly with an eleventh place, but at the end of 2022 the British prowess has changed. And there is progress, because on Saturday he won the oldest (since 1984) triathlon in Spanish territory. Curran defeated reigning champion Sarah Perez Sala and strong Danish Maja Stege Nielsen, who beat former winner Lydia Dant. Curran has already been in Lanzarote in recent weeks, limiting the damage to Perez Salah after cycling and clocking 34.41 over 10km. Prune hard in the last part. The Spaniards had to surrender in less than three minutes. This promises a lot for Curran next season.
Eight of the 321 participants were Dutch. Best mate Richard de Haan was 142nd and fourth M60. Henk Heemskerk followed as 162nd and 12th M55. Women were slightly lower in the rankings. Cunera Koeleman was 19th best Dutch, third F40. Elaine Haarsma 40th and 9th F25, Marloes Vos 43rd and 7th F30, Michelle Boshoven 58th and 9th F50 and the only Dutch winner Marianne IJnsen in F65, also 64th overall among the women.
We are coming to Taupo. Ahead of next week’s Ironman, the Oceania Trip Cup is mapped as part of the course on Saturday. The tournament was followed with particular interest by the return of Olympic champion Gwen Jorgensen. Four months after she gave birth to her second son, she competed in a triathlon for the first time in nine years.
Gwen’s business card with bronze
Meanwhile, the American continued to run, and we saw great performances in the marathon. Now Gwen aims to compete in the mixed relay at the Paris Games. In Taupo she came third and showed her business card. Again Nicole van der Gee won at Wanaka like last week. Ainslie Thorpe completed New Zealand’s success with second place. Gwen was a further half minute in third place. “I didn’t know what to expect. So I jumped into the new adventure with joy. It wasn’t perfect, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a lot of fun to do it again. I thought the resistance was strong and therefore hard work. Especially with swimming, I haven’t been swimming much in recent years, of course. Not in the open water with the others. The cycling was fantastic, really beautiful here in Taupo. After the first attempts I couldn’t run fast and had slow transition moments. I started chasing the pioneers but couldn’t find them anymore.” Gwen Jorgensen will stay in New Zealand until March 25 to participate in the New Plymouth World Cup. Dart is needed to earn points for Paris 2024.
Nicole van der Kay is a woman to be reckoned with at the WTCS in Abu Dhabi next week. David Castro Fajardo was fastest in the men’s race after a photo-finish sprint with New Zealander Janus Stauffenberg. Both ran exactly 54 minutes. Australian favorite Luke Willian finished four seconds back in third. The race at Taupo was over the sprint distance.
The next day was the mixed relay for the New Zealand quartet of Janus Stauffenberg, Olivia Thornbury, Trent Thorpe and Brea Roderick. Team Australia finished second and New Zealand Team III third. Initially, Jorgensen would also participate, but that didn’t turn out to be the case.
to Hong Kong with the Asian Triathlon Cup. There was a European win, as Austrian Lucas Bertl, a frequent resident of Asia, beat Chinese Nanhe Wang and Yunxiang Ma, who crossed the line together second. In the women’s race, the roles were reversed, with Chinese triathletes Xinyu Lin and Meiyi Lu two seconds apart as the winner and runner-up, with Austria’s Therese Feuersinger third.
Finally, Super League’s Arena Games triathlon series powered by Swift. The first races were at stake in 1976 in the Olympic city of Montreal. I was twelve years old when I nervously watched the Olympic road race with Castelar at Tuck in the field of participants. The promotion then started doing triathlons for a while and in 1984 was based on the Oud Gastel Triathlon. Swede Bernd Johansson won, ad not involved: he finished 50th. But a good experience is enriching.
Lionel Saunders is also an experienced rich man. The Canadian was completely out of his comfort zone by competing in these super short triathlons in his home country. He actually finished sixth at the Park Olympic Sports Center, thanks in part to his killer speed on the bike. First he clocked 5.09 minutes, then in the second heat of the final he clocked an impressive 5.06 minutes, setting a new cycling record in SLT. Also, the run went faster than ever, as Britain’s Jack Stanton-Stock ran 2.31, not less than 3 figures short of Alex Yee’s record from the previous Arena Games.
The fact that the names of Hayden Wild and Alex Yee were not found in the starting field does not say much about the quality of the participants in Montreal. It was a great field at pace. The win went to Chase McQueen, perhaps not a remarkable triathlete on the road (28th in Grand Final Abu Dhabi) but more so at the Arena Games. He was seven seconds stronger in the final than American Henry Schoeman (bronze at the Games in Rio) and surprisingly strong Briton Jack Stanton-Stock, from a famous film actor family. A fourth SLT-Munich winner Aurelien Raphael, Daniel Dixon and Lionel Saunders completed the top six. Jackson Landry, rated higher than his compatriot Lionel Sanders, had to settle for twelfth.
The first stage was won by Jack Stanton-Stock, second and third to Chase McQueen. In qualifying, three wins went to Jeremy Bryant, Daniel Dixon and Lionel Sanders, and Chase McQueen.
It was not just an American doubles, but a family victory as Gina Sereno surprised the ladies. Sereno, as we all know, is Chase McQueen’s girlfriend. The 27-year-old American was sixth in Munich last year but has already finished the year with silver at the World Cup in Vina del Mar. She was no less than 32 seconds behind second-placed Sophie Lin of Australia. Dominika Zamnicki clinched Canada’s honors with bronze. Mexico’s Sarah Rohl and Benjamin Marta Grobko finished fourth and fifth.
Gina Sereno won all three stages of the final. Prior to those finals, Sophie Lin was strong twice and Gina Sereno every other time. There was no Dutch participation in Montreal. Last year we saw Rachel Glamour regularly at these SLT Arena games. 14 days of Dutch participation in Sarsi with Rani Schrunbanja and Kim van de Verlaat.
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