Volcano for Dieter Comhair and Kate Curran; Back Gwen Jorgensen; Hong Kong and Lionel strong at the SLT Arena Games – WTJ 2769 – Trikipedia.nl
SUNDAY – The weekend of competition began on Saturday with the “European” spring classic, the Volcano Triathlon on the sports island of Lanzarote. No big Dutch names this time, but Belgian side Dieter Comhair. The Belgian was already second here last year and therefore had a good chance of finishing on the podium in a field with under-toppers.
Comhair and Curran dance on the volcano
Reece Barclay, Jorge Wilkes and Jonathan Jackson opened strong with a swim, to which Comhair had to admit 2.5 minutes. However, he thundered forward from 18th so he could start the race with Italian Nicola Duchi, Louis Woodgate and Pello Osoro Gutierrez. The triathlete from Diepenbeek, who wants to try it as a pro, was the fastest in 31.09 minutes. Italian Duchi finished second 24 seconds behind SP&O Mechelen’s Limburger, Spaniard Osoro Gutierrez third. Favorites like Alessandro Degasperi (6th) and Reece Barclay (8th) fell through.
It’s good that the entire Hobson family of frequent Volcoano winner Richard is taking part. His sons Oscar and Forbes finished 12th and 13th, Richard himself won the M55 group and his wife Dorte finished second in the F50.
Kate Curran was still good for third place three years ago, last year she participated almost invisibly with an eleventh place, but the Briton turned pro at the end of 2022. And the progression is there, since she has won the oldest triathlon (since 1984) on Spanish territory on Saturday. Curran beat defending champion Sara Perez Sala and Denmark’s ever-strong Maja Stage Nielsen, who beat former winner Lydia Dant. Curran was already in Lanzarote in recent weeks, limited the damage to Perez Sala after cycling and reached 34.41 in the 10 km. carve hard on the last part. The Spaniards had to give up no less than three minutes. This promises a lot for Curran next season.
Eight of the 321 participants were Dutch. The best compatriot was good old Richard de Haan in 142nd place and fourth M60. Henk Heemskerk followed as 162nd and 12th M55. Women were slightly shorter in the ranking. Cunera Koeleman was the 19th best Dutchman, also third F40. Eline Haarsma finished 40th and 9th in F25, Marloes Vos 43rd and 7th in F30, Michelle Boshoven 58th and 9th in F50 and the only Dutch winner was Marianne IJnsen in F65, also 64th overall in the women’s category.
We arrive in Taupo. Looking ahead to Ironman next week, the Oceania Trip Cup was mapped out over part of the course on Saturday. The match was watched with particular interest as it marked the return of Olympic champion Gwen Jorgensen. Just four months after giving birth to her second sun, she competed in a triathlon for the first time in nine years.
Gwen’s business card with bronze
In the meantime, the American had continued to run and we saw him with top performances in the marathon. Now Gwen is aiming to compete in the mixed relay at the Paris Games. In Taupo, she showed her business card by finishing third. Once again, it was Nicole van der Kaay who won in Wanaka like last week. Ainsley Thorpe completed the New Zealand success with a second place finish. Gwen followed by half a minute in third. “I didn’t know what to expect. So I embarked with joy on this new adventure. It wasn’t perfect, but I really enjoyed it. So much fun to do again. I thought the opposition was strong and so it was hard work. Especially with swimming, I haven’t swam much in recent years and certainly not in open water with other people. The cycling was wonderful, nice course also here in Taupo. I couldn’t run any faster after the first few efforts and had some pretty slow transition moments. I started hunting for the first ones, but I couldn’t find them anymore.” Gwen Jorgensen will stay in New Zealand until March 25 and will also compete in the New Plymouth World Cup. Dart is needed to get points for Paris 2024.
Nicole van der Kaay is clearly 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 Staufenberg. They both clocked exactly 54 minutes. Australian favorite Luke Willian followed four seconds later in third. The race at Taupo was over the sprint distance.
The next day was the mixed relay for New Zealand quartet Janus Staufenberg, Olivia Thornbury, Trent Thorpe and Brea Roderick. Team Australia finished second and Team New Zealand III third. Initially, Jorgensen would also participate, but that turned out not to be the case.
In Hong Kong with the Asia Triathlon Cup. European victory there, as the Austrian Lukas Pertl, who often resides in Asia, beat the 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 winner and runner-up, and Austrian Therese Feuersinger third.
Finally, the Arena Games Triathlon Super League series powered by Zwift. The first races were contested in Montreal, Olympic city in 1976. I was twelve years old when I watched with intensity the Olympic road race with Gastelaar Ad Tak in the field of participants. Ad then started doing triathlons for a while and was the basis of the Oud Gastel triathlon in 1984. Sweden’s Bernt Johansson won, Ad was not involved: he finished 50th. But a nice richer experience.
A richer experience was also that of Lionel Sanders. The Canadian stepped completely out of his comfort zone by participating in these super short triathlons in his own country. At Parc Olympique Sport Center, he actually finished sixth, thanks in part to his blistering pace on the bike. He first came in at 5.09 minutes, then in the second moto of the final he clocked an impressive 5.06 minutes, a new cycling record at SLT. Additionally, the race went faster than ever as Britain’s Jack Stanton-Stock ran 2.31 which was no less than 3 points faster than Alex Yee’s record at a previous Arena Games.
The fact that the names of Hayden Wilde and Alex Yee were missing from the starting field says little about the quality of the participants in Montreal. It was a front runner in terms of speed. The victory went to Chase McQueen, perhaps not a remarkable triathlete on the road (28th in the Abu Dhabi Grand Final), but even more so at the Arena Games. The American from the famous family of film actors was seven seconds stronger in the final than Henri Schoeman (bronze at the Rio Games) and the surprisingly strong Briton Jack Stanton-Stock. Fourth, with SLT-Munich winner Aurelien Raphael, Daniel Dixon and Lionel Sanders completing the top six. Jackson Laundry, rated higher than his compatriot Lionel Sanders, had to settle for twelfth place.
In the first leg, Jack Stanton-Stock won, the second and third were for Chase McQueen. In the qualifying heats, victories went to Jeremy Briand, Daniel Dixon and Lionel Sanders and three to Chase McQueen.
It was not only an American double, but also a family success, as Gina Sereno surprised the women. Sereno as we all know is Chase McQueen’s girlfriend. The 27-year-old American finished sixth in Munich last year, but has already finished the year with silver at the Vina del Mar World Cup. She was no less than 32 seconds ahead of the Australian Sophie Linn, who finished second. Dominika Jamnicky backed up Canadian honors with bronze. Mexican Sara Roel and youngest Marta Kropko took fourth and fifth place.
Gina Sereno won all three stages of the final. Looking ahead to those finals, Sophie Linn was the strongest twice and Gina Sereno all other times. There was no Dutch participation in Montreal. Last year we saw Rachel Klamer regularly in these SLT Arena Games. Another Dutch participation over 14 days in Sursee with Rani Skranbanja and Kim van ‘t Verlaat.
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