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Triathlon News & Notes: Another Frodeno-Sanders Battle, ‘Race Fixing’ Accusations, Triathlon Makes the News, and More

We bring you this week’s tri-related news and notes from around the world.

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Another Frodeno v. Sanders showdown set for Ironman California

Call it Tri Battle Royale 2.0: After a much-hyped showdown between Germany’s Jan Frodeno and Canada’s Lionel Sanders in Germany this past July, the pair will go head-to-head again at Ironman California next weekend. But, unlike the Tri Battle, it won’t just be the two of them in California. There’s currently a deep pro field, including Ironman 70.3 world champion Gustav Iden of Norway—who will be making his Ironman debut. Ever the showman, Sanders—who last month posted a video on his YouTube channel proclaiming the end to his season after a second-place finish at Ironman Chattanooga—announced his entry in the race with another video entitled “Encore” that didn’t include any dialogue, but rather race footage, ending with a shot of all three men. Sanders also posted on Instagram, saying “Cats out of the bag now. Excited to be toeing the line next weekend at @ironmantri California. Then a little off-season, I promise!”

Top triathletes weigh in on St. George venue change for Ironman World Champs

This week, the New York Times ran a story about Ironman’s decision to switch the world championships location from Kona, Hawaii to St. George, Utah, and included insight from both Frodeno and 70.3 world champ Lucy Charles-Barclay, among others. When weighing in on if he’ll feel as driven to win in May in Utah as he has felt each fall in Hawaii, Frodeno was hesitant. “I think I’ll struggle to put the same kind of heart and soul into it,” Frodeno said. “Of course, it’s a world championship, but it just doesn’t have the same prestige and the same feel and the conditions aren’t as iconic. You know, that heat, the wind, and all those things that really make or break athletes.” 

Charles-Barclay also commented on the new format, which has the women racing first on Thursday (the men race on Saturday), saying, “I’m hopeful that if we get the coverage that we deserve then it will just bring a lot more attention to the women’s sport.”

RELATED: Commentary: Why St. George Trumps Kona

RELATED: Commentary: IMWC, Don’t Leave!

World Triathlon President named to IOC Future Hosts Commission

Marisol Casado, the head of World Triathlon, was named as a new member of the IOC Future Host Commission this week. The new title means that Casado, a former pro triathlete for Spain and one of the only three female presidents of international federations, will play a key role in the selection of locations for future Olympic games. In a statement, Casado acknowledged the honor and said, “It is now our turn to lead by example, to be the role models of the future generations and to make sure that we work all together to ensure that the future Olympic hosts continue delivering excellent Games.”   

Accused of “race fixing,” Triathlon Australia denies any wrongdoing

The hits keep coming for Triathlon Australia. After scathing accusations of “poor governance” and “athlete mismanagement” from former World Champ Emma Carney, who called for an independent review of the federation, Triathlon Australia is now being accused of race fixing. According to reports, three Australian coaches have independently reported that they were told by Triathlon Australia that they only wanted certain athletes to win qualifying races in the lead-up to Tokyo so they could boost their rankings and secure the extra quota spots. A spokesperson for Triathlon Australia denied the allegations, stating, “No race results are predetermined, particularly in an open, international field,” adding, “Many sports make strategic decisions that are a part of competition and fall within the fabric of sport and fair play. It would be an expectation that Australian teams consider a strategic approach to competition scheduling.”

Zwift Academy Tri is back in session

Zwift Academy is back! The virtual training platform returns to session on Oct. 18, rolling out an eight-week program with 10 structured workouts, plus four progress events aimed at increasing watts on the bike and pace on the run. Coached by Dr. Dan Plews, who also holds the Kona course record for the fastest ever age-grouper at 8 hours, 24 minutes, the Academy is open to triathletes of all levels. New this year are the progress events—also known as the Baseline and Finish Line runs and rides—which offer athletes a chance to track improvement at the start and end of the program, and are required for graduation from the Academy. (The top Academy amateurs can compete to join the platform’s fully-sponsored tri team; read more about that here.) Registration for the Zwift Tri Academy is now open, click here to sign up.

Rach McBride teams up with Diamondback for Scholarship

Aiming to encourage more female, trans, and non-binary participation in the sport of gravel cycling, Diamondback is offering the Eat My Dust Gravel Scholarship. A partnership with gender non-binary pro triathlete Rach McBride, the scholarship offers a prize package including a Diamondback Haanjo 8C bike, a LifeTime gravel race entry, Nuun Hydration tablets, a Wahoo Kickr Core, Smith sunglasses and helmet, a Wyn Republic bike kit, and more. The scholarship is open to female, trans, and non-binary applicants. It’s a move that McBride hopes will “offer support at every level of riding and would truly give someone the confidence and opportunity to grow as a rider.” The application is open to U.S. residents only from Oct. 15-31. Fill out the application here.

Blind paratriathlete finishes marathon through a random act of kindness

Champion blind paratriathlete Haseeb Ahmad found himself in a bit of a bind in last week’s Manchester City Marathon. Ahmad—a national champion paratriathlete out of Great Britain who holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest time to complete an Ironman blindfolded (11:03:31)—was left solo on the marathon course after his guide pulled off the course around mile 18 due to blisters and cramping. Determined to finish the race, Ahmad asked the first person to approach him to guide him to the end. That person, Stuart Whitehouse, was struggling himself, but said he found an inner strength to help Ahmad all the way until the end, clocking 4:51. Whitehouse, who almost did not take part due to injury and mental health issues, added: “It’s changed my life, I’ve made such a great friend.”

Podcast Notes

  • Jackson Laundry, who recently placed fifth at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships, heads to The Triathlete Hour to chat about what’s ahead (Ironman Mallorca and his wedding), as well as what he’s left behind (injuries, a heart condition, and almost walking away from the sport).
  • Fresh off her runner-up finish at Lanzarote 70.3, professional triathlete Nikki Bartlett heads to the Ironwomen podcast to rehash her race, discuss her career, and detail her experience as a guide in the Paralympics in Tokyo over the summer.
  • The Yogi Triathlete brings on rookie pro Ari Klau, who recently quit his full-time job as a software engineer to pursue triathlon. He discusses the challenges of doing just that, as well as training with Lionel Sanders, among other topics.
  • Australia’s Sam Appleton, widely considered one of the most successful middle-distance triathletes ever, joins Greg Bennett for an open and honest conversation about being a professional athlete.
  • The folks at MX Endurance share their thoughts on the Frodeno vs. Iden vs. Sanders match-up at Ironman California next week.