Ben Kanute (USA) and Daniela Ryf (SUI) battled an impressive field of triathletes to win the 2019 Ironman 70.3 Oceanside triathlon on Saturday. Kanute narrowly edged the rest of the field to earn the overall victory with a time 3:49:25. Ryf produced another signature dominating performance, setting a new course best with a time of 4:09:19 (breaking Anne Haug’s time of 4:12:03 from the previous year) in her debut performance on U.S. soil outside of championship events.
Rodolphe Von Berg (USA) placed second trailing Kanute by only 12 seconds with a time of 3:49:37 and Adam Bowden (GBR) rounded out the men’s podium in third with a time of 3:53:53. Holly Lawrence (GBR) battled her way to a second place finish in the women’s field with a time of 4:14:06 followed by Ellie Salthouse (AUS) who finished in third with a time of 4:16:41.
Kasper leads American contingent at No. 2 on women’s start list
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Nine U.S. elite athletes are set to compete on Saturday at ITU World Triathlon Bermuda, a first-time ITU World Triathlon Series destination.
The Olympic-distance race covers a 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run. The action begins with a two-lap swim in the calm waters of Hamilton’s harbor. From there, athletes will complete 10 laps of a 4k bike course along the coastline, climbing and descending the infamous “Corkscrew Hill” with each lap. The four-lap run then takes competitors through the spectator-lined streets of downtown Hamilton and into the National Stadium for the finish.
The elite men race first at 12:06 p.m. ET (1:06 p.m. local time), and the elite women follow at 3:06 p.m. ET (4:06 p.m. local time). Both races will be broadcast live online at triathlonlive.tv. Both races will also air on NBC’s Olympic Channel, with coverage starting at 1 p.m. ET.
Six U.S. women will toe the line, led by Kristen Kasper (North Andover, Mass.) at No. 2 on the start list. Kasper has had a strong start to the 2018 season, collecting one gold and one silver in ITU World Cup events in addition to a fourth-place finish at the rainy and technical WTS season opener in Abu Dhabi. Katie Zaferes (Santa Cruz, Calif.) will be on the hunt for medals after crashing out of the Abi Dhabi race in March. Zaferes finished the 2017 WTS season ranked third overall, and has 11 career podiums in the series to date.
Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.), Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.) and Chelsea Burns (Seattle, Wash.) will also be in the mix. Knibb and Spivey each cracked the WTS podium for the first time last year, earning silver medals in Leeds and Edmonton respectively. Cook was the 2016 ITU World Triathlon Edmonton champion and finished last season ranked ninth in the overall WTS standings. Burns has two ITU World Cup podiums to her name, but is still chasing her first WTS hardware.
The women will face a strong international field, headlined by Bermuda’s own two-time ITU world champion Flora Duffy. Duffy won six of the seven WTS races she started last year, and will be hard to beat as she races on the streets of her hometown. Also on the start list is Rachel Klamer of the Netherlands, who is the current WTS leader after taking the win in Abu Dhabi. Other top contenders on the women’s side include 2017 U23 World Championships silver medalist Melanie Santos of Portugal and Canada’s Joanna Brown, who finished the 2017 WTS season ranked seventh overall.
Visit wts.triathlon.org for a complete women’s start list.
Representing the U.S. in the men’s race are Ben Kanute (Phoenix, Ariz.), Kevin McDowell (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo). All three athletes had outstanding 2017 seasons, and all three earned USA Triathlon Athlete of the Year recognition (Kanute in the non-drafting category, McDowell in the draft-legal/ITU category and Hemming in the U23 category).
Kanute is coming off a strong 2017, highlighted by a second-place finish at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship and a win at the Island House Triathlon. He opened the 2018 season with a top-20 finish at the WTS season opener in Abu Dhabi, and followed that with a silver-medal performance at the Sarasota-Bradenton CAMTRI North American Championships.
McDowell earned two ITU World Cup medals in 2017, and has shown he is still in good form this year by placing top-10 at two ITU World Cup events in March. Hemming has also raced well to open the season. The 2017 U23 national champion topped the podium at the Clermont CAMTRI Sprint Triathlon American Cup in March, and a week later edged Kanute for the win at the Sarasota-Bradenton CAMTRI North American Championships.
Henri Schoeman of South Africa holds the No. 1 spot on the men’s start list. Schoeman has been unstoppable in 2018, taking the win in Abu Dhabi and earning the Commonwealth Games title a month later. Defending world champion Mario Mola of Spain is in the No. 2 position after placing second to Schoeman in Abu Dhabi. Other top contenders on the men’s start list include 2017 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final winner Vincent Luis and 2017 U23 World Championships silver medalist Dorian Coninx, both of France.
World Triathlon Series opener features thrilling sprint-distance course
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Eight American athletes are set to compete in the ITU World Triathlon Series opener in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Friday, taking on a stacked international field.
The sprint-distance race, which covers a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run, is held on the iconic Yas Island. The course is built for fast and furious racing, with portions of the bike and run taking athletes around the Yas Marina Formula One circuit. The elite men race first at 4:36 a.m. EST (1:36 p.m. local time), and the elite women follow at 6:36 a.m. EST (3:36 p.m. local time). Both races will be broadcast live online at triathlonlive.tv.
Five U.S. women will toe the line on Friday, including 2016 U.S. Olympian and 2017 WTS overall bronze medalist Katie Zaferes (Santa Cruz, Calif.). Zaferes had a stellar 2017 season that included two regular-season WTS podiums in Edmonton and Yokohama, in addition to her silver-medal performance at the Rotterdam ITU World Triathlon Grand Final.
Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.) and Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.), who finished fourth and 10th respectively in the 2017 WTS rankings, will also look for strong season-opening performances. Kasper earned four top-five finishes on the WTS circuit last year, including a bronze in Yokohama.
Cook was also consistent in 2017, earning a season-best fourth-place finish at ITU World Triathlon Edmonton and placing ninth at the Grand Final in Rotterdam. She and Zaferes are the only two Americans on the start list who have reached the top step of the WTS podium, with Cook winning ITU World Triathlon Edmonton in 2016 and Zaferes taking the win at ITU World Triathlon Hamburg in 2016.
Also set to compete are Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.), who earned her first WTS medal with a silver in Leeds last year, and Chelsea Burns, who cracked the ITU Triathlon World Cup podium for the first time in 2017.
The U.S. women will be up against stiff competition, as 2017 world champion Flora Duffy of Bermuda and 2017 WTS overall silver medalist Ashleigh Gentle of Australia lead the start list. Defending WTS Abu Dhabi champion Andrea Hewitt of New Zealand, Great Britain’s Jessica Learmonth, Canada’s Joanna Brown and the Netherlands’ Rachel Klamer will also be medal threats. Visit wts.triathlon.org for a complete women’s start list.
Representing the U.S. in the men’s race are Kevin McDowell (Phoenix, Ariz.), Ben Kanute (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D.). McDowell will look to build on a successful stretch of late-season racing in 2017, which saw him earn podiums at ITU Triathlon World Cup races in Huelva, Spain, and Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida.
Kanute had a strong fall season in non-drafting races, placing second to Spain’s Javier Gomez at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in September and earning the overall win at the Island House Triathlon in November. He will look to improve upon his 16th-place performance at last year’s WTS Abu Dhabi stop.
Smoragiewicz is making his second career WTS start in Abu Dhabi; in his debut on the circuit last year in Edmonton, he placed 27th. Smoragiewicz was the top U.S. man at the 2017 ITU Under-23 World Championships last September, placing 13th.
The men’s international field is stacked, with 2017 world champion and 2016 WTS Abu Dhabi champion Mario Mola of Spain holding the No. 1 spot. Kristian Blummenfelt of Norway, the 2017 world bronze medalist, and Great Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee, the 2016 Olympic silver medalist, are also both set to compete.
Visit wts.triathlon.org for a complete men’s start list.
ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi is the first of eight stops on the regular-season WTS circuit before September’s ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Gold Coast, Australia.
September 12, 2017 – Professional triathlete Tyler Butterfield logged another world-class performance to score seventh place at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship on Sunday in Chattanooga, Tennessee, his best 70.3 World Championship finish to date. The result marked Butterfield’s steady progression through the top ten at the championship event, having finished ninth in 2013,, eighth in 2015, and now seventh in 2017, and bodes well for his fitness in the final five-week lead into the Ironman World Championship on October 14th in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. His corresponding Kona finishes in those years were his best to date—seventh in 2013 and fifth in 2015—showing a pattern of success when tackling the 70.3 Championship prior to the Ironman World Championship, his primary focus for several years now.
Butterfield clocked 25:20 in the 1.2-mile swim, emerging with the main group of men containing all the key contenders outside of swim leaders Ben Kanute, the eventual second- place finisher, and Javier Gomez, prolific triathlon champion and silver medalist at the Olympic Games, who went on to win.
Ten men—including Butterfield and Ironman world record holder Tim Don—rode in the chase pack, with hard-charging Sebastian Kienle, a two-time victor at the race, coming from behind. Entering T2, Butterfield was in third; within 30 seconds a flurry of six other top rivals flew in and out of transition and quickly sorted themselves out on the road ahead, with Butterfield now running in sixth. Gomez, known for his spectacular run speed, made quick work from further back in the field to knock off every forward challenger and claim the world title. Butterfield held steady and strong, and ultimately crossed the line in seventh with a 1:17:32 half marathon and 3:56:22 finish time.
“I wasn’t able to put in my usual attacks on the bike. It was hard enough just being there! Racing at this level gets more and more competitive every year. I looked around and everyone in the group was a world title holder, world record holder, or at least someone who has won a lot of races. You can’t just get away from these guys whenever you like,” said Butterfield.
“I also wanted to wait and test my run,” he continued. “I wanted to really get a feel for my run fitness in advance of Kona—something you can’t fully gauge outside of a race environment. I haven’t had the opportunity to get in the run training I’d like for a number of years—partly because of injury, but now, looking back, also because of where we lived.”
Since the family’s move from their mountain home to a farm in rural Boulder County, Butterfield has been able to run straight out the door, rather than spend time driving to and from town. Living at a lower altitude (5,600 feet, as opposed to 7,400 feet) has also allowed him to cope with a higher workload. Additionally, he has found that the convenience of being able to go home between sessions has helped his recovery.
“I was a little disappointed with my run, considering the training I’ve had. It was solid, but nothing special. Really, I should be running only a little slower than that for an entire marathon if I want to be in the mix in Kona,” said Butterfield, who averaged 5:55 minute miles in Sunday’s race. “I’m not sure if I was still a little tired from the training. I certainly gave this race the respect it deserves and came in tapered, but I think I may have carried in a bit too much long-term fatigue. I’m hoping I can get in the remaining training I need in the next five weeks, as well as shake some of the residual tiredness from my Kona overload. It’s kind of hard to do both at once—get fitter and fresher—but I’ll try.”
Butterfield indeed appears to be on track for another impressive race on the Big Island, as evidenced by a steady pattern of improving results. His 2017 regular season performances started with fourth at Ironman 70.3 Dubai, then third at the Ironman North American Championship, followed by second at Ironman 70.3 Monterrey, and finally a win at Ironman 70.3 Raleigh. This pattern of improvement also shows in his Ironman 70.3 World Championship progression—ninth in 2013, eighth in 2015, and seventh in 2017—and in his Kona performances, where he finished seventh in 2013 and fifth in 2015.
“I guess I like to keep my results orderly,” joked Butterfield. “In all seriousness, I do like the steady progress upward. It’s rewarding to see the results of all the hard work, as my entire family sacrifices year-round to help me be the best I can be. Hopefully with the focused training I’ve had so far and the time remaining, I can continue to improve all the way into Kona.”
Butterfield now heads back home to Colorado for his final Kona training block, with five short weeks remaining until the Ironman World Championship.
AVON — The altitude was the x factor as Major League Triathlon racing came to Nottingham Park on Saturday. Nevertheless, the Cleveland Rock & Roll were able to maintain their dominance and come away with a win at 7,500 feet.
The home team at Saturday’s competition was the Colorado Peaks, who finished in second and third in the first two Major League Triathlon events this season. With Vail native John O’Neill as their anchor, the Peaks again found themselves in second on Saturday.
“I thought when I got on the run and I heard my split was 30 seconds off the leader, that maybe I could catch him,” O’Neill said. “They’re just a good team.”
O’Neill said during the second leg of the race, when Cleveland Rock & Roll member Kevin McDowell was penalized 10 seconds for exiting his bike on the wrong side of the bike racks, the Peaks were thinking this might be their chance to finally upset the Rock & Roll.
“The fact that he was able to stand there for 10 seconds, get back in his flow, finish and the team still hold onto the win, it just goes to show you how strong they are,” O’Neill said.
The transitions between swimming, biking and running happened fast, and it was easy to get confused, McDowell said.
“The camera guys were in the middle of the bike path where I was going through,” McDowell said. “I made a decision to go right, and I was wrong, so I got a penalty. During the penalty I was just trying to keep my composure and thinking how much harder I had to go on the next lap.”
The event was broadcasted live on Facebook, part of the spectator friendly effort Major League Triathlon has underwent in an effort to develop a following in their second season.
Venues like Nottingham Park contribute to the spectator friendly nature of the event, as does the unique format employed by Major League Triathlon, which they call a “Super Sprint Mixed Team Relay.” Two male athletes and two female athletes from each of the eight teams complete a 300 meter swim, 4 mile looped bike course and 1 mile run.
The short legs allow for fast racing, with each athlete spending less than 10 minutes in each phase of the competition. The high speeds and small venues combine to give spectators something to see at all times, with individual athletes able to contribute an element of showmanship as well as athletic talent.
On Saturday, Olympian Ben Kanute gave the most crowd-pleasing performance. Bringing his team the Indy Cats into podium position from the back of the pack, Kanute’s mastery of the biking portion of the course showed fans what makes him an athlete to watch in the American triathlon scene.
“This is the coolest place I think we’ve gone so far on the circuit,” Kanute said of Avon. “Just from the interest in the local community, to the way they’ve designed this course. This has been a good event.”
Kanute said the biking portion of the competition was similar to something you might find in a European race.
“This is about as narrow as it gets, as technical as it gets,” he said of the Nottingham Park rec path. “Europe is known for that, they’re streets are always pretty narrow. Every so often you get a race like that in the U.S.”
O’Neill said road bike racing on the Nottingham bike path is similar to single-track racing in mountain biking events.
“When you want to make a pass, you’ve got to tell the person you’re passing,” he said. “So we were pretty vocal out there, we were yelling at each other quite a bit, but that’s racing.”
Major League Triathlon’s 2017 season wraps up Sept. 9 in Cleveland, where the undefeated Rock & Roll will have a home field advantage.
“I think it’s a privilege to get that pressure,” McDowell said. “Everything has been going well, and we just got to carry the momentum that we have into this series.”
The Cleveland event will be held in conjunction with NEOCycle, the largest urban cycling festival in the U.S. The event features Cyclocross, track cycling, a family friendly night ride and more than 50 vendors including food trucks, live music and craft beer.