Daniela Ryf was the world’s best female triathlete in 2014.
Looking back on 2014 we’ve seen ‘new’ directions from the WTC, ITU, and recently some impressive improvements implemented by Challenge. I’m hopeful that these initiatives will be of some lasting value to the sport and to the hard-working pros who have long deserved better. Time will tell.
Even more recently we saw the sad closure of TeamTBB. Personally, I spent 6 great years with the team and I’ll always be proud of my time there. We gave an opportunity to so many athletes who may have otherwise never had the chance to fulfil their triathlon dreams. Thank you to all who were involved and were a part of something special.
However, the show goes on and the soul and ethos of the team is very much alive and well at trisutto.com. The coaching knowledge and methodologies that have been so successful at the pro level are now available to every person in the sport and we’re seeing great success with our age-group athletes. This year my goal is to show those who I often see walking in Ironman events that with the right knowledge and support we can help them achieve their goals.
Looking back on our pro squad’s performances. While I won’t go through each individual athlete’s year, personally I was so pleased to see Ritchie Nichols back in the fold. We have yet to see the best of Ritchie and it will be something special when we do. Skippy (Todd Skipworth) fought back from dengue fever earlier in the year only to be struck down with an acute burst appendicitis. To see him overcome these dangerous health problems and train his way back to winning Alpe D’Huez and an IM 70.3 by the end of the season made me very proud. Dan Mcintosh finally persuaded me to train him for short course and he finished the year out with a podium in an ITU race and a win in an XTerra race, which was also very satisfying. Finally, to see Stephen Bayliss back on the podium again at Ironman and 70.3 level made all the members of our own and extended tri community very happy. So performance wise, again it has been a good year.
As for our perennially over-achieving women athletes? I’ve left them to the end of the blog because at this time of year every triathlon magazine seems to have a ‘Top 10’ athletes or performances and I’m often asked if I’m disappointed that Sutto squad athletes aren’t ranked higher (or at all). I don’t want to the start the new year arguing the merits of what they did in the context of other athletes, but I’ll tell you straight out:
The Angry Bird, Daniela Ryf, was the world’s best female triathlete in 2014.
It was a season so stunning it left even me speechless.
She started by winning the European 5150 Championship (Olympic distance) by a devastating margin over an Olympic silver medallist. One night’s sleep later she made an Ironman debut that can only be described as scary. A first up win at Ironman Switzerland. Over the next half of the year she cut a swathe through the best athletes in the world at every non-drafting distance there is. Two weeks after a stunning Ironman Denmark victory, she obliterated the field to take her first Ironman World 70.3 Championships victory. She backed this up with one of the best Kona debuts we’ve ever seen, perhaps only equalled by one other.
So yes, in terms of her ability to compete across distances + in non-drafting races I genuinely think she was the best.
So as to not stir up any additional ‘you’re just a biased one-eyed coach’ feedback I’ll let Nicola Spirig’s results over 2014 speak for themselves. You decide whether you think her performances warrant being listed in the top 10 of 2014:
2nd Swiss Marathon Championships (Qualifying for the European Athletics Championships)
2nd Swiss X-Country Championships
Back to triathlon:
1st ITU European Women’s Championships (4 time champion)
Back to the track:
1st 10,000m Swiss Track Championships (Personal best)
1st 3,000m Swiss Club Championships (Personal best)
1st 5,000m Switzerland Athletics Grand Prix (Personal best)
2nd Swiss Half Marathon Championship (Personal best)
24th European Marathon Championship
(2:37 on a hard course after ‘blowing up’. Her half marathon split was 1:13:25)
Back to triathlon:
1st Locarno Half Ironman (3rd overall)
1st ITU World Cup Cozumel (Sprint distance)
1st ITU World Cup Columbia
1st WTC Ironman Cozumel (on debut)
That’s not a good year. That is a good career for some athletes.
The versatility – major wins from sprint distance to Ironman + major results from 3,000m to Marathon in the one year – is quite simply absurd. I ask myself, which other woman in our sport could have done that?
So yes, the dynamic Swiss have done me very proud and I think are deserving of more recognition than they sometimes get.
Finally, I would like to take the opportunity to thank all who have helped my new direction and make 2014 a very memorable year. We want to involve so many more people at the grass roots level so they can too be the best athlete and person they can be. Upward and onward.