Well this to me was an outstanding SWIM – BIKE – RUN race. From start to finish it was a true Triathlon.
I have heard of people saying this wasn’t a great course….what was not so great about the course??! It was a technical bike, and athletes that know their way around a bike truly benefited on this course.
It didn’t help that there was hurricane forced winds that delayed the start. But to me this benefited the swim – Bikers. It was a course that you can get away on with little help from others because as soon as you got speed up, you hit another tight corner.
There were a lot of crashes on the bike, and a staggering 22 females did NOT FINISH!! Now this is a wake up call for a lot of athletes who may have did a lot of work on strength and speed , but nothing technical.
When you have the likes of Flora Duffy, Georgia Taylor-Brown, Katie Zaferes, and Jessica Learmonth in the front pack driving it, It is near impossible to catch. However, Nicola Spirig did an amazing job basically by herself to drive the second pack. But it wasn’t quite enough. The front pack drove it that hard that it got whittled down to 5 athletes by the end.
As you can tell I loved the bike, it was challenging, technical and the weather played into the cards of the leaders.
The run – I thought Laura Linderman and Duffy were going to have a head to head at the end of the bike, but this is the Olympics, and big events like this play into the cards of the experienced.
It was over within 500m. Flora Duffy looked too good for everyone. She was off on the run looking relaxed, low shoulders, quick turnover. Whereas others that worked hard on that bike looked a lot worse for wear! I mean hell I would be too with a tough breakaway then trying to run Flora off it.
The race was then for silver. This was remarkable! Zaferes vs Taylor-Brown, What is more remarkable about this story, is that Georgia got a flat tyre on the last lap of the bike and lost 22 seconds! It wasn’t until the final lap that Georgia made her move to overtake Katie.
An unbelievable amount of grit was shown not to give up, even when things go bad mechanically, do what you can with what you have and never give up!
The Olympic spirit was in full motion.
Gold – Flora Duffy
Silver – Georgia Tayor-Brown
Bronze – Katie Zaferes
This reminded me of the Brownlee and Gomez era. The swim was super fast, you could see the swimmers getting strung out by over a minute. A very fast breakaway that has the usual suspects over the past 3 years, and then finishing with the usual champion!
Are we going to see this style of racing change in the next few years? Probably not, Jessica Learmonth and Georgia Taylor- Brown are still young, and have the ability to drive that front pack out of the swim in a breakaway.
Now as for the Kiwi girls – This was a great experience for them as their first Olympics, they now know the pressure and emotional stress it plays. I know they are fully capable of more and so do they. But this is just a steppingstone, and no doubt if they can keep that determination and drive for another 3 years they have the ability for a top 10 if not a top 5!
How to train for an Olympic distance triathlon:
If you’re new to the sport and just looking to get ready to be able to take on the challenge of an Olympic distance triathlon, you can chose any one of a number of our training plans from Beginner / Intermediate all the way to Advanced programs.
Take a look here https://www.evolvetriathloncoaching.com/olympic-distance
Photos: By Wagner Araujo