This week Coach travelled with Nicola (Spirig) to the European Games in Baku. With the winner being guaranteed a spot at Rio next year, this was an important one. Early qualification gives one autonomy in choosing their own path to the big showdown. It also means that the preparation isn’t undermined by the uncertainty of whether one will be selected or not, a stress we’ve seen weigh heavily on many a former champ.

In Baku, Nic stepped up when it counted with a comprehensive victory, sending a message to the world in the process. Major championships are won on the bike. Neglect it at your peril. A point the Olympic Gold and Silver medallists made very forcefully to the new age ITU girls on the weekend riding 2:45 into a ‘chase’ pack with an old fashioned display of bike power.

Congratulations to Nicola on her 4th Olympic Games qualification.

A full race report from can be found here.

I’d like to thank all at our home camp who have worked with Coach Robbie so well in my absence. I’ve had nothing but great reports that the training efforts were equal as to when I’m there. Robbie’s grown enormously in coaching knowledge and stature over the last three seasons, and I’m very proud to see how he can now step in to train world champions without them missing a beat. So guys, Nicola and I thank you.

Carina WinCarina Brechters victory at the Half Iron Distance.

As for the other races, Carina (Brechters) had a breakthrough race in Germany. ‘Boo Hoo’ was asked by coach to break out of the ITU mindset and enter a smaller level Half Iron Distance to help develop her run for the future. It is a big thing to adjust to, especially when she’s only been in the team for about 12 weeks. However, her work has suggested she would cope with the jump in distance and having her worst discipline exposed for longer. Thus far, I have been very frugal with praise as she mustn’t underestimate how far she has to climb to reach her goals. At we don’t deal in hope, we deal in reality. To receive the note that she lead the whole day and accelerated away on the last 10km was very pleasing. Carina can be a good triathlete and a real all-round triathlete, but it’s now up to her. Well done.

MBE PodiumMary Beth Ellis 2nd at Challenge Denmark.

This weekend we also saw the return of prodigal daughter MBE (Mary Beth Ellis). We’ve seen her come to St Moritz and fire every day like the true champ she is. While she may have had doubts about her place in the sport, I’ve been nearly flippant with confidence about her inevitable return to the podium with a Runner’s Up at Challenge Denmark this weekend.

It’s only sad that a ridiculous 4 minute penalty (for wetsuit legs half hanging out of the bag) stopped the Honey Badger from taking the gold first time out. Her fitness is there from all her work earlier in the season with Siri. Just a tweak here and there and the Badger is back. MBE will reach 10 Ironman wins before she moves on. You can bet on it.

Having just recently joined the team, it was also encouraging to see Jessie Donavan quickly back on the podium at the Challenge Denmark Full distance. A re-modelling of her swim stroke is a work in progress and we are happy to see is bearing fruit already.

In other races, one of the most pleasing results from the weekend came from our resident swimmer, Susanne Keller, who put in an excellent performance in her 800m (9:27) and 200m (2:16) at her swim championships, winning her category and just missing the European age group record by 0.2 seconds.

It Italy, we had Ritchie Nicholls competing at Ironman 70.3 where despite positioning himself well off the swim leg, was beset by mechanical problems and finished with a puncture at the 80km mark. Congratulations to age group athlete Jane Hansom taking out the win in her category with a typically tough effort.

Congratulations also to Alicja and Rafal Medak who were competing at Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire. Another podium for Alicja and a sold 7th from Rafal. Well done to all a great weekend. Online Coaches

Jo ResultsAndrej Vistica and Thomas Schäfer on the podium weekend. 

Round up from Coach Jo Spindler:

With a swim in the lead group, fastest bike and run splits and a total time of 1:55h Andrej Vistica won the International Plavnica Olympic Distance triathlon in a superior manner. This speedy race will serve him well at upcoming ITU Long Distance Champs.

After Thomas Schäfer was involved in a fatal crash at the sprint finish of last weeks Paracycling World Cup, he managed to recover himself just in time for this weekend’s Paracycling World Cup in Yverdon, Switzerland. At the Time Trial today he won silver and proved his excellent form another time. I’m very happy that he stepped up from national to international level within the last 6 months of hard training. Thomas is definitively in for another podium at the road race World Cup on Tuesday. Good luck for that one!

Joachim Reiter had a strong showing at the Ingolstadt Half Distance Triathlon. He had a good bike and run. And once he figures out how to swim straight in open water, his swim time will be competitve as well.

At the the sprint triathlon in Heinsberg, Germany, Steffi Jansen took the overall win. Similar to Andrej, the speed stimulus of this shorter race sets her system ready for upcoming longer races. Very well done and a very nice win!

Finally, I’d like to mention Markus Hörmann’s performance at Challenge Denmark, as racing and triathlon career is not always sunshine, but every athlete has to handle downs as well. We had high hopes for a podium at that race. For a long time it looked very good: He exited the water with the first group. Strong and steady bike close to the leader. Unfortunately, at the 140km mark he suffered a hay-fever attack and his breathing went very hard and laboured. Markus started the run, but repeatedly had to stop coughing and gasping for air. So I pulled him out of the race at the 8km mark to prevent serious damage to his respiratory system. Despite to this disappointing DNF, I’m happy with his effort. He executed coach’s guidelines with military precision. The asthma attack was not in his power. As the marathon didn’t take place on Saturday, I threw him right back into training with a long bike and run. I’m looking forward to his next race in only 2 weeks time.

Well done to all.

Bella ResultsAndy Hamilton, Victor del Corral, Dean Edwards outstanding performances on the weekend.

Round up from Coach Bella Bayliss.

Andy raced Windsor Triathlon in London. He did an outstanding job, 1st Amateur overall, and 3rd overall in the whole race!

Andy is one of my first guys since I started coaching back in October 2013, he had just had surgery in his knee and he had not done so much triathlon, he has come so far and I know with the way he works he will continue to go so far, Well done Andy, I am so proud of you.

1st Stuart Hayes 1.56.22

2nd Dan Halksworth 1.57.48

3rd Andy Hamilton 2.01.55

4th Richard Stannerd 2.02.11

Victor raced the Zarauzko half distance Triathlon in Spain. I was very happy to see him turn himself around, get himself back on track and with confidence, 3rd place was another step in the right direction, Well done Victor. Keep this going!

1st Gustavo Rodríguez, 4.02.11

2nd Stanislav Krylov, 4.03.56

3rd Victor del Corral, 4.04.19

Dean raced 70.3 Staffordshire, a race right on his doorstep. Dean was in the lime light!  Everyone knew Dean was racing, but he stayed calm within this excitement around him and came 26th overall. A very very solid race in his preparation for Ironman UK in 5 weeks time, I plan to be there to help support you Dean.  Keep up the great work.

Swim: 31:33
Bike 2:28:36
Run 1:28:54
Overall 4:36:17

Round up from Coach Robbie Haywood:

Congratulations to my athletes racing this weekend.

Melanie Benson who only 7 weeks after breaking her arm had in her own words ‘the race of her life’ to finish second in her age group at 70.3 Pescara, Italy with the fastest female age group swim of the day. Melanie attended our training camp in St Moritz prior to the race.

Sandrine Benz, running a personal best and placing top 5 in her category at Schweizer Frauenlauf Bern 5km road race.

Gisela Reichmuth, 4th place in her category at the German Championships Sprint race. Speed work for Ironman Frankfurt next month. 😉

Melanie BensonMelanie Benson at camp with Brett and Robbie.

Round up from Coach Edith Niederfriniger:

This weekend I had 8 athletes competing at the Ironman 70.3 Pescara. Congratulations to; Mary, who was first in her age group and earned a slot for the World Championship (6:18:08), Francesca 6th place in the W45-49 (5:32:40), Antonio 32nd in the M45-49 (5:32:00), Emanuela 28th W45-49 (7:46:21), Valeria 7th W30-34 (5:55:09), Antonella 4th place W50-54 and earning a slot at the World Champs and to Barbara who was 3rd in the W40-44 (5:15:07).

Thanks again for everyone’s co-operation and hard work. online coaching options can be found here.

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