It was the first weekend of the year packed full of race, first up was the second round of the World Triathlon Series and Ironman Texas. Then on Sunday, the 70.3 Ironman circuit touched down in Marbella, while back at home in the UK the last duathlons of the year were taking place. The triathlon season seems to be getting into full swing. We just have to let the weather catch up with us here in the UK!
As predicted this race certainly was an exuberant affair, first off were the men, and HUUB’s in-form Henry Schoeman lead out of the water, however, the breakaway which has proved so successful for him never materialised and a large pack formed to take on the challenging bike course. At around 10km the HUUB sponsored Norwegian team began to make a mark on the race, with Casper Stornes making a solo breakaway, either the pack let him go, or this young athlete is the next uber biker to feature in ITU racing. Later on in the bike, compatriots Blummenfelt and Iden and Danish athlete Andreas Schilling also forged away from the pack containing the big contenders. By the end of the bike, Stornes had a gap of well over two minutes, with Blummenfelt, Iden and Schilling in between. Blummenfelt is known for his running ability, but the other two Norwegian athletes were relatively unknown. Although Blummenfelt and Iden made inroads into Stornes, the junior of the team held on over the 10km to clam his first WTS victory in only his third ever start! The Norwegian team made history with Blummenflet and Iden claiming silver and bronze, the first time a country had ever made a clean sweep in the men's race.
The women’s race was a spectacle for the Bermudians watching. Flora Duffy led out of the water and soon broke away on Corkscrew Hill. She maintained her lead all the way to the finish and then produced the fastest run of the day. A similar scenario to Schoeman’s performance in Abu Dhabi, it seems WTS is no longer the straightforward racing we have come to expect. The chase pack worked well together, but they couldn’t claw back the time Duffy had put into them during the first part of the bike. In the end it was a sprint finish between Vicky Holland, who seems to be regaining her Rio 2016 form, and Katie Zaferes. In the end, it was the Briton who took second place. Unfortunately, HUUB’s Georgia Taylor-Brown was given a 15 second time penalty in T1 after a marginal false start, it was still a great experience for the young athlete who would have gained valuable world ranking points. The next round heads to Yokohama, where we are sure to see the majority of the WTS athletes line up. Conditions are always changeable there so expect some fireworks!
Dave McNamme was the headlining name to take to the sunny climates of Spain. The HUUB athlete and Kona podium finisher has some impressive results to his name over the last couple of years, and it was hard to see him getting beaten, however, he was pushed all the way by Chris Leiferman (USA) as hundredths of a second separated them at the finish! The photo finish and Dave’s expression says it all. Dave was wearing a prototype tri suit which is part of our special aero project to be released in August. Unfortunately, Elliot Smales the other HUUB athlete competing, although in contention after the bike, eventually DNF’d. However be sure to expect more from the talented youngster this year! The women's race was dominated by Germany’s Laura Phillip, she ended up crossing the line six minutes ahead of second place and posted a mighty quick run that would, in fact, challenge a lot of the men's splits!