Zoe Thomas and Morgan Davies kick started their 2019 seasons with strong performances in ITU events in France and America this weekend.
Zoe took on the Lievin ETU Indoor European Cup event in Northern France. This was an incredible new format of racing, taking place in a 4,000+ seater stadium, on an indoor athletics track with a raised pool in the centre of the track. The racing took place over multiple rounds of fast and furious qualifiers and finals (150m swim, 3km bike, 1.1km run), in an incredible atmosphere that was certainly something that most athletes would not have experienced anything like before.
Zoe went in women’s qualifier #2 and put together a brilliantly executed performance to take the win and qualify straight through to the A final. With only the first two athletes going through and avoiding the extra challenge of the repechage. Zoe took control on the bike without breaking away, before leading out of transition 2 and staying strong over the 5.5 lap run to take the victory.
The final took place just after 10pm local time amid a live band and a raucous atmosphere. Zoe and her coach had formulated a plan that involved going ‘all in’ for a podium finish and knowing that there were quicker runners in the field who had come through the other semi-finals. The field was bunched out of the water and early on the bike, before she laid her cards on the table with a massive attack to take the front of the race, lapping the second half of the ride as quick as the men’s A final went later in the evening. This gave her a 7-8s lead at transition 2, with the pack chasing hard behind. With some of her competitors electing to go barefoot on the final run leg, this gap was closed quickly at the start of the run for the line. She battled valiantly on the run, staying with the leaders as they came through until 400m to go when the sprint finish came on, and hanging on for a 7th place finish which is one of her best ever results at this level – a great start to the season!
The Tri247 write up from the race is here: https://www.tri247.com/triathlon-news/elite/lievin-indoor-triathlon-2019-chris-perham.
You can watch a replay via the TriMax website: https://www.facebook.com/TrimaxMag/videos/739003263152812/
Zoe’s heat is at ~21min, and the final is at ~3hr44min into the video.
Meanwhile, over in Florida, Morgan Davies was taking on a more traditional Triathlon format in the Clermont CAMTRI Sprint Cup.
After two ETU Cup wins last year in Sweden and Hungary, Morgan was looking for a good start to 2019 to start building his campaign. He had a great swim and bike, operating up near the front of the race, before a couple of mistakes leading into transition 2 cost him a few seconds. He battled his way back to the front of the race but was hit hard by the heat and humidity in the last 2k before finishing 6th – a solid season opener.
The action continues this coming weekend:
The action continues this coming weekend, with Morgan racing again, this time at the Sarasota CAMTRI Cup in Florida:
We are all at Welsh Triathlon excited about seeing Non Stanford back in action following her switch of training base during the winter (https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/av/wales/47116613) and she goes in the first WTS event of the season at WTS Abu Dhabi which will be live on BBC Red Button from 12pm on Friday 8th March.
Matthew Wright, a new NTPCW athlete representing Barbados, will also be kicking off his 2019 season in the Santos CAMTRI Cup event in Brazil, as he goes in search of valuable ITU points to aid his quest to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games:
And finally, the NTPCW students will be in action in their first BUCS event of 2019, at the BUCS Biathlon over in Oxford. We are sending competitive teams over from both Cardiff Met and Cardiff Uni.
Photo credits: Activ' images