As 2019 kicks into gear we take a look back at some of the highlights of the triathlon calendar over the past year.
(For Part 1 see here)
The ITU Multisport World Championships headed to Fyn, Denmark in 2018 and proved a successful destination for our British Teams with elite golds for Lesley Paterson (Cross Triathlon) and Matthew Willis (Junior Duathlon) whilst the Age-Group team collected 119 medals, of which 26 were gold!
Tartu, Estonia was the destination as Sophie Coldwell picked up the European Sprint Distance Triathlon title (her first international senior title), with a further five golds picked up by Alison Patrick (guided by Hannah Drewett), Dave Ellis (guided by Mark Buckingham), Fran Brown, Hannah Moore and Lauren Steadman in the European Paratriathlon Championships and 51 medals claimed by the Age-Group team.
Vicky Holland moved up to second in the World Rankings after a victory in Edmonton which saw four British women finish in the top five, whilst back on home soil it was a busy month with Age-Group Sprint, Age-Group Middle Distance and Paratriathlon champions crowned.
The Accenture British Triathlon Mixed Relay Cup kicked off August, with Leeds I claiming the title for a second consecutive year as 11 performance centre teams and 4 international squads battled it out at London Docklands.
The focus then switched to Glasgow European Championships with a 615 British Age-Group racers dominating proceedings at the venue of the 2014 Commonwealth Games event by picking up 67 medals. Jess Learmonth couldn’t quite reclaim her 2017 title but earned a valiant silver medal behind the 2012 Olympic Champion Nicola Spirig. A dramatic men’s race saw Alistair Brownlee finish fourth on his return to racing for the first time since April, whilst local hero Marc Austin took a heavy tumble on the bike but battled through to finish the race in front of his home crowd.
On the ITU World Series circuit Vicky Holland won her third race of the season in Montreal to effectively set up a head to head battle for the world title with Katie Zaferes in the final race of the season. Georgia Taylor-Browns strong season continued and moved into third overall in the series after picking up bronze.
The International Paralympic Committee and International Triathlon Union announced the Paratriathlon categories that will compete at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, with an increase to eight medal categories.
The future of triathlon was on display throughout September with the inaugural representation of the sport at the School Games Finals and the annual British Triathlon U20’s Festival which both featured a mixed relay element for the first time.
At the Ironman 70.3 World Championships Alistair Brownlee and Lucy Charles both won silver in South Africa before attention returned to Australia’s Gold Coast for a second time in 2018, this time for the ITU Grand Final. Great British teams medalled across the board with incredibly every starting member of the paratriathlon team finishing on the podium, in addition to medals for Sam Dickinson (U23 Silver), Erin Wallace (Junior Silver), Kate Waugh (Junior Bronze), Mixed Relay Team (U23 Bronze) and 20 from the Great Britain Age-Group team – the headlines however were stolen by Vicky Holland, in what was possibly the most dramatic race of the season as she battled back from a deficit on the run to finish ahead of Zaferes and claim the World title. Georgia Taylor-Brown’s top ten finish was also enough to cement her place on the final overall series podium.
Former Age-Grouper turned pro Laura Siddall picked up her third major long-distance win of the season to become the European Champion in Madrid.
The Accenture Mixed Team Challenge also came to a conclusion in September with the final event being an exclusive triathlon mixed relay in the heart of Canary Wharf.
Cross Triathlon ?? The GB Age-Group team pick up 10 medals (3??-4??-3??) as @coleywalters secures ?? in the elite Women’s race on a stunning course at the Ibiza @ETUtriathlon Multisport European Championships (?? Marc Preece)— British Triathlon (@BritTri) October 26, 2018
Roll of Honour ?? https://t.co/MbUzHnBcIE pic.twitter.com/Aba5d9mOjy
UK Sport and EIS unveiled increased measures to facilitate a positive mental health environment across the Olympic and Paralympic sport system alongside World Mental Health Day 2018 in early October, whilst British Triathlon had it’s first graduates of the world-leading High Performing Coach Programme.
The events calendar was starting to head toward a close however there were three major events in Super League Jersey, Kona and the Ibiza European Multisport Championships taking place.
At Kona, Lucy Charles and David McNamee both repeated their podium finishes from 2017 finishing second and third respectively, as Tim Don made his return to racing on the island having been knocked off his bike and breaking his neck two days before the race last year.
Ibiza provided a stunning location for the European Multisport Championships with two elite golds coming from Sam Dickinson (U23 Aquathlon) and Nicole Walters (Cross Triathlon) and 69 Age-Group golds as over 1,100 British athletes raced across the seven disciplines held at the championships.
Jonathan Brownlee and Jodie Stimpson finished the 2018 season strongly sitting fourth in the Super League rankings respectively after events in Malta and Mallorca, putting them in contention for honours at the final showdown in Singapore February 2019.
As winter training would be setting in for many, British Triathlon aimed to help triathletes become more 'Bike Smart' in supporting Road Safety Week, whilst in other news Dr. Mary Hardwick was appointed as the new British Triathlon Chair, a role that will see her lead the organisation to Tokyo 2020 and beyond.
British Triathlon announced the 30 athletes on the UK Sport Lottery Funded World Class Performance Programme for 2019, whilst there was also recognition of Helen Jenkins services to the sport as she was named on the New Year Honours list.