Triathlon News & Notes: Spirig Announces Retirement, Who Will Replace Charles-Barclay for Sub8?

Photo: Jörg Schüler/Getty Images

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Nicola Spirig announces retirement

Olympic gold medalist Nicola Spirig, of Switzerland, will hang up her racing kit at the end of the 2022 season, she announced earlier this week. “Over the past 25 years, I’ve achieved just about everything I’ve ever dreamed of, both athletically and personally,” she posted. “I’ve been able to take part in five Olympic Games, I’ve won two Olympic medals and seven European Championship titles, I was Switzerland’s Sportswoman of the Year, I’ve built up a foundation and the Kids Cup series, and I’m a mother of three wonderful children.” The 40-year-old confirmed that she will be racing “in a few” events in her final season, including the Phoenix Sub8 project in June. Spirig is also racing the Zurich Marathon this weekend; she set her open marathon PR of 2:37:12 there in 2014. 

Project8 replacement for Charles Barclay set to be announced

Speaking of Spirig, the Swiss star is now the only woman in the Sub8 Project after Lucy Charles-Barclay was forced to pull out due to injury. But not for long, according to race organizer Chris McCormack, who shared on the MX Endurance podcast that he had selected two understudies for each of the four athletes who have been “working in the background” in preparation for the project, hinting that “it would be nice to have a German,” but that he is talking to an English athlete, as well. “We will pick the athlete who brings enough to the story narrative and is prepared,” McCormack said, adding that he plans to announce Charles Barclay’s replacement within the coming days.  

RELATED: Lucy Charles-Barclay Injury Forces Withdrawal from Ironman St. George, Sub8 Project

Massachusetts man dies during 70.3 Texas 

Tragedy struck during Ironman Texas last weekend when one of the race’s competitors died during the 1.2-mile swim. Daniel Winkler, 46, of Arlington, Massachusetts, was found unconscious and not breathing in Offats Bayou, local police reported. He was rushed to an ambulance on shore and transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. Winkler, a father of two young daughters and the vice president of a software engineering firm, is being remembered for his “positive energy, love for his family, and drive to harness all that life could offer.” Police said that it is not yet clear what caused Winkler to fall unconscious. 

Wahoo, Ironman form partnership

Wahoo and The Ironman Group have announced a multi-year enterprise-wide partnership, linking Wahoo—the company behind the popular Kickr trainers, the Elemnt Bolt and Roam bike computers, and the Elemnt Rival multisport watch—with Ironman and Ironman 70.3 triathlons, the Rock ‘n’ Roll running Series, the Epic bike series, Haute Route, and the UTMB world series. According to Ironman, this is the first company-wide partnership for the Ironman Group. 

Estonia’s Ironman Tallinn barring Russian and Belarusian competitors

Ironman Tallinn, set for Aug. 6, is the latest event to bar Russian and Belarusian citizens from competing, even under a neutral flag. The announcement follows an overall ban on citizens of both countries taking part in sports activities in Estonia.”While we recognize the difficult situation created for Russian and Belarusian athletes by these steps, we believe these are necessary to protect the integrity of our events and show solidarity to the Ukrainian people fighting for their home country,” a statement on the race site read.

Ironman had previously announced that no Russian or Belarusian athletes (age-group or professional) would be allowed to compete at the world championship events, including the 2021 Ironman World Championship coming up in St. George, Utah. No professional athletes from those countries are being permitted to compete in any Ironman events.

Hell of the West welcomes top Aussie triathletes

Sarah Crowley and Josh Amberger took the top step of the podium at last weekend’s Hell Of The West triathlon in rural Goondiwindi, Queensland. The long distance race (2K swim, 80K cycle, and 20K run) typically attracts top Australian athletes and this year was no different: Crowley earned an unprecedented seventh title, edging out countrywoman Courtney Gilfillan by 45 seconds, while Amberger took the tape two-and-a-half minutes ahead of Nicholas Free. Other notable finishers among the pros included Wyn Republic co-founder Beth McKenzie, who said she temporarily came out of retirement for the race to finish as the fourth woman, and Tim Reed, who placed sixth (after sharing with Triathlete that he’s training just 12 hours/week). 

RELATED: Rivals and BFFS: The Unique Friendship of Sam Appleton and Tim Reed

Podcast Notes

  • Catch up on everything Oceanside 70.3 on this week’s Triathlete Hour, including interviews with champs Taylor Knibb, Jackson Laundry, quick debriefs from Lionel Sanders and Daniela Ryf, plus a chat with triathlon legend Julie Moss.
  • Taylor Knibb also appears on ProTriNews with a recap of her wire-to-wire win.
  • The TriDot Podcast gets into the UltraMan, the three-day multisport race that covers 320 miles. Three of the event’s competitors join the show to discuss training, logistics, and execution.
  • Paula Findlay and Eric Lagerstrom share their thoughts post-Oceanside 70.3 on the latest episode of That Triathlon Life podcast.
  • Belgium pro Marten Van Riel heads to Zwift Powerup Tri podcast, where he reflects on the Olympics (he finished sixth in Tokyo) and mid-distance racing (he recently won Dubai 70.3 in record time).
  • Greg Bennett brings on swim coach to the pros, James Gibson, who represented Great Britain at the Olympics. He shares about his own swimming career as well as his coaching philosophies.

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