Jersey Island Announcement
Jersey Island Announcement
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Jersey’s very near neighbours and friendly rivals arrived on Jersey in large numbers to watch and support Super League Triathlon, and whilst propping up the leader board in the Corporate Mix (giggles in Jersey), Super League Triathlon and the Jersey Triathlon Club are very grateful to all of the Guernsey Tri Club members who made the trip to Jersey.
Point of interest: In 1987, the first club event was organised when a group of 12 local Police Officers decided to put on a Triathlon event to raise money for charity.
Jersey Triathlon Club is one of the oldest triathlon clubs in the British Isles having been formed in 1985. The two teams entered in the corporate mix were selected from a lucky draw and Facebook excitement around selection caused online hysteria. From seasoned triathletes to triathlon beginners, all embraced the opportunity to race on the same Super League course as the professionals and look forward to 2018 to avenge their loss to Junior Team 1.
Point of interest: Participant Philippa Worth also acted a GP (doctor) to the professional athletes in the week of the event.
Jersey Triathlon Club junior club wholeheartedly accepted the challenge thrown down by the organisers of Super League Triathlon. The club has been growing from strength to strength in the past few years, most certainly influenced by the strong performances of the Brownlee brothers at the Olympics in 2012 (London) and 2016 (Rio). The short sharp format suited the smaller bodies of these young triathletes and they certainly were not out of place in a predominantly adult race, finally ending up in 8th (Team 1) and 10th (Team 2).
Point of interest: JTC team participants Lily McGarry, Adele Maher and William Atkinson all compete in the British Super Series (age 15/16) reserved for the top 50 athletes in the UK.
After having raced many of the same women the previous weekend, Katie Zaferes knew not to underestimate anyone. She said, “I never knew what people had left in the tank or what strategies they were playing. It's hard not to consider everyone a threat but as the races went on I thought Nicola, the USA women and the Brits were going to be the most difficult to beat. It's pretty awesome having a two time Olympic medalist as one of your competitors. Also I feel like it was well balanced in that there were athletes who are super strong swimmers, great cyclists and also really fast runners. It made for an exciting race as no one could ever be counted out!”
This was the first time women would race the Super League Triathlon formats, and Summer Cook knew all too well how unpredictable this would be. “I didn't know who to expect to be strong across the new formats so it was fun getting through each round and seeing who you were matched up against. The rest of the field was pretty strong, several women are coming off strong finishes in Rotterdam and the WTS series, and of course Nicola Spirig is a two time Olympic medalist.”
Spirig was the oldest in the field but knew that at her best, few of the women could get past her in traditional triathlon formats. She understood that the short and sharp racing involved over the weekend could be a different story. She said, “Katie Zaferes had a great season and was definitely one to watch from the beginning.”
Day 1’s Triple Mix had three stages (swim-bike-run, run-bike-swim, bike-swim-run) and pursuit starts in Stage 2 and 3 that will allow athletes to build a lead from Stage 1 and challenge them to hold onto that lead until the final finish line in Stage 3. It tested their adaptability to switch-ups and to triathlon’s traditional swim-bike-run order and also rewarded a willingness and ability to go hard from the gun as Spirig and Zaferes made the podium in Stage 1, topped it in Stage 2, and held on in Stage 3. Cook showed incredible foot speed in Stage 3 to take herself to third.
The difference between Zaferes and Spirig at the end was built over small differences in transitions and positioning. In Stage 2, the two were neck-and-neck in transition before the closing swim, but Zaferes made it a point to dive into the water ahead of Spirig as the better swimmer. The win in that stage set her up for Stage 3. She said, “I just tried to race as hard as I could and make sure I really capitalized on small moments like transitions and such.”
While the three athletes led the overall rankings, the Eliminator on Day 2 would decide who would take the first-ever Super League Triathlon women’s title. The Eliminator format involved three stages of swim-bike-run, with the field progressively growing smaller. Only the top 15 finishers of Stage 1 would go on to Stage 2, and only the ten fastest finishers of Stage 3 could compete for the Eliminator win.
Any small mistakes could cause athletes to drop out of contention. Spirig was well aware that a bike crash could spell the end of the title hunt, even more so in the wet conditions that Day 2 presented. She said, “I tried to stay close to the front in the first two stages to make sure I would make the final and to avoid crashes. In the final I pushed the bike a bit to gap the second pack, then did my best in the run.”
While Spirig finished in the top three for the first two stages, Zaferes played cool coming across the finish in the Top 5. The real race began in Stage 3 where Spirig and Zaferes commanded the lead on the bike leg. Once on the run, Zaferes knew she had to make a move. “I really wasn't sure I had the win until the final stretch! I put the surge in at the beginning of the final run to make a break between the others, but wasn't sure I'd be able to hold on to the pace and also knew others like Summer Cook would be chasing down fast.”
Chase down she did, as Cook launched ahead of Spirig in the final few hundred meters. She said, “The formats tested physical, technical, and tactical capacities to the max and I was thrilled to prove that I can belong at the front of such events.”
Spirig held strong to finish third on the day and overall. She also never finished lower than third place for all six stages of racing over the two days. “It felt great to be back on the podium so quickly after my second child four months ago! I think I surprised everyone including myself a bit,” she said. “It’s only four months till giving birth to Malea, so there is lots to improve for me and I am looking forward to getting fitter in the next few months.”
Zaferes commented, “I'm thrilled to win the first women's Super League Triathlon title! Coming into this event it was hard to predict how the racing would pan out. I'm stoked that my strengths were well suited for this format and that I was able to pull it together to have good races multiple times in different scenarios, order, and even weather.”