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July 7, 2021

Tri Bulletin: IM UK Rivalries, Weekend Winners, Vesterby Victorious And More

This week’s edition of Tri Bulletin is chock-full of all the latest from the triathlon world.

PTO athletes have once again put forward some epic performances in IM UK, Lanzarote and beyond. Meanwhile, Alistair Brownlee confirms his long-course focus and Lucy Charles is gunning for Frodo’s world record. We’ve also seen the release of part one of Beyond Human while the PTO’s Charles Adamo appears on IM Talk.

Taunting To Topping The Podium: Skipper Hunts Down Laidlow At IM UK

Before Ironman UK, Sam Laidlow (PTO World #42) went on the record to say that he was targeting the win at IM UK in Bolton and specifically to beat Joe Skipper (Europe #4 / PTO World #10).

“If there’s one person that I won’t let beat me, it’s probably him,” said Laidlow on the Oxygen Addict podcast. Skipper hit back on his YouTube channel: “I’m ready and waiting for you… if you ask me nicely, I won’t make you look silly on race day – I’ll just beat you by a little”

From the outset, it looked like it would be Laidlow who would come out on top. Getting off the bike with over 14 minutes’ advantage, Laidlow still had a six-minute lead at 30km into the run – but then the wheels came off. In the last 10km, Skipper flew by to an eventual winning margin of over eight minutes, taking the win in 8:42:58.

Alistair Brownlee Confirms Long-Course Focus

In an interview on the World Triathlon podcast, double-Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee (PTO World #2) confirmed he’s leaving short-course racing for good to set his sights on longer distances.

“That was definitely the end of my World Triathlon racing career,” said the Brit of his last race at WTCS Leeds. “To be honest, a lot of me over the last three months has asked myself, ‘Why did I even try to get back to the Olympics?’ – I was always up against it.

“I’m completely happy with that decision and at the moment I’m just really looking forward to getting my ankle sorted and being able to race over long distances.”

Brownlee, who’s just undergone surgery, is now in recovery mode. While that makes a Collins Cup appearance all but impossible, Brownlee has already qualified for Kona and has the Sub7 Project looming next Spring.

Vesterby Surprises With Second Lanzarote Win

Fan-favourite Michelle Vesterby (PTO World #109) took her second IM Lanzarote victory last weekend, nine years after her previous win. The 37-year-old, who gave birth in May 2019, got back to training fast to race three Ironmans that year. But the Dane has been quiet since with only the PTO 2020 Championships at Daytona between then and last weekend’s Lanzarote race.

Initially, it didn’t look like it would be Vesterby’s day to strike gold, but as Manon Genet (PTO World #35) faltered on the run, Vesterby was there to claim the lead. She just managed to hold off Laura Siddall (PTO World #63), crossing the line 47 seconds ahead of the Brit in 9:55:03.

“I doubted if this day would come again – if I would win another an Ironman,” posted Vesterby after the race. “I did that. I’m not done yet.”

Beyond Human Part One Out Now

If you’ve not already caught it, the first part of the PTO’s Beyond Human documentary is now available to stream online. The film follows the exploits of Lionel Sanders, Heather Jackson and Sebastian Kienle as they try to qualify for Team Internationals, Team US and Team Europe for the inaugural Collins Cup this August.

This first part focuses on getting under the skin of the athletes and how their lives intertwine as well as going behind the scenes at the PTO 2020 Championship in Daytona and Challenge Miami.

An equally satisfying watch whether on the sofa with a bowl of popcorn or fuelling motivation while on the indoor trainer, it’ll certainly set the goosebumps going and get the excitement building for the big race on 28 August.

Lucy Charles-Barclay Not Content With Sub8, Targets Men’s Record

Lucy Charles-Barclay (Europe #3 / PTO World #4) has hit back at those who’ve labelled the Pho3nix Sub8 Project a soft record.

While going 18-minutes faster than triathlon legend Chrissie Wellington’s best time – 8:18:13 at Challenge Roth 2011 – already seems a tall order, Charles-Barclay says she’s gunning for Jan Frodeno’s world best of 7:35.

In an exclusive video for Sub7 Sub8 subscribers, she said: “The feedback we’ve received publicly is that they believe that the women’s time is achievable to go sub-eight but the men’s time maybe isn’t achievable to go sub-seven, so we, in theory, have an easier task on our hands.

“But sub-eight isn’t the only benchmark I’m going to lay down – I would love to go out there and beat the current fastest men’s time over the iron-distance, which I believe is 7:35. So if I’m having a good day, I’ll just start aiming towards that time rather than thinking sub-eight is easily in the bag. I’m not the kind of athlete who’s going to slow down – I’m going to just keep pushing.”

Charles Adamo Interviewed On IMTalk

PTO executive chairman, Charles Adamo, provides the interview of the week on episode 778 of longstanding triathlon podcast IMTalk. Five weeks before the Collins Cup qualification cut-off, hosts John Newsom and Bevan James Eyles chat with Charles about the event, the athletes and how the ranking system for the inaugural works over this Covid-hit period. Check it out at IMTalk.

Weekend Winners Roll Call

Kat Matthews (Europe #5 / PTO World #11) won at IM UK in Bolton, her second-ever M-dot win. Over 20 minutes clear of second-place Nikki Bartlett (PTO World #33), the performance backs up her incredible form at IM Tulsa. On top of that, she’s sure to be the beneficiary of plenty of Collins Cup points so watch this space for new standings soon.

Alongside Michelle Vesterby, the men’s win in Lanzarote went to veteran Andi Boecherer (PTO World #62), his first full M-dot win since IM Italy in 2018.

At the PTO-supported Outlaw Half Holkham, we had victories for Ruth Astle (PTO World #65) and James Teagle (PTO World #83). It was Astle’s first professional win after fulfilling the age-group dream of racing on the Zwift Academy Tri Team and turning pro. Teagle, meanwhile, backed up his win at Challenge Gdansk two weeks prior.

70.3 Andorra was topped by Clement Mignon and Ellie Salthouse (Internationals #6 / PTO World #20). It was the Aussie star’s first race of 2021 outside Oceania and could tip the scales in her favour to move up the Collins Cup rankings and secure auto qualification.

There were two new German names in the frame at 70.3 Les Sables D’Olonne in France. Anne Reischmann (PTO World #92) took the women’s event while Mika Noodt outdid Rudy von Berg (US #2 / PTO World #8) to take victory in the men’s race.

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