GB Elite European and World Duathlon Championships 2016

My aim over the last year or so ever since I won my first Age Group World title in 2014 was to compete for Great Britain in the elite duathlon team. In 2016 I achieved this and am very proud to have represented my country at the highest level. In order to do this, I first of all had to qualify.

QUALIFICATION:

At the start of 2016 I competed in the British Elite Duathlon Championships in Windsor Park, which is held over the sprint distance only. The cycle leg is draft legal so my aim was to stay at the front of the pack on the first run then not get dropped on the cycle leg, and that all went to plan. However the cycle leg was hard and although I was up at the front on the second run I lost ground and finished 5th overall. But on the strength of this performance I was delighted to be selected for the GB Elite squad (of only 2 men, myself and the very experienced Phil Wylie) for the European Championships in Germany later that month.

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS:

European Elite Duathlon Championships, Kalkar, germany April 2016
European Elite Duathlon Championships, Kalkar, Germany April 2016

Again I ran well but struggled on the cycle leg as the draft legal cycling in the elite events is so new to me, especially tactically.  I finished 14th in a strong  field and learnt a lot. It was a great experience and I know exactly what to work on with my cycling!

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS:

After Germany I wasn’t expecting a GB Elite call up again any time soon. So when I got the call to represent GB in the World Duathlon Championships in Spain in June 2016 I was surprised but very pleased to be given another chance. This time there is a team of 5 elite men,  namely  Richard Horton, Phil Wylie, Danny Russell, Dan Jenkin and myself.

The pace in the individual event was fast and furious. After the first run I managed to stay with the chasing pack in the second cycle group. The second run was a good one and  I was delighted to finish 10th  and the highest placed in the GB team on the day. The crowds and the support were tremendous – a great event to be part of.

Elite World Championships, Aviles, Spain 2016

The following day I raced as a member of the GB Elite Mixed Relay team, which included the winner of the women’s elite race the day before, Emma Pallant. We won a silver medal and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Medal ceremony World Championships 2016 - a silver for GB relay team
Medal ceremony World Championships 2016 – a silver for GB relay team

The full results are available on the ITU website, click here. There is also a British Triathlon report with more information and even a comment on my sprint finish, possibly the first ever!

 

 

French Grand Prix Series 2016

In addition to my GB elite appearances this year I am also racing for the Envy-Epinay team in the French Grand Prix series. This is a series of 5 races for elite duathletes from April to October based around Paris. The standard is high with some very experienced cyclists. Selection criteria for the GB Elite Duathlon team take into account the results in the French Grand Prix Series so participation is not only expected but good results are important.

My first  race, as with the GB Elite European Championships,, highlighted tactical cycle racing as a weakness for me. I ran well but finished 55th after being dropped on the cycle leg.

French Grand Prix 8/5/16
French Grand Prix 8/5/16

The second race went much better and I was in the lead cycle group in the last mile.

french gp cycling

Unfortunately two riders in front touched wheels and brought a few of us down. I finished 24th but would have been hopeful of a much higher placing without the crash and was pleased to have stayed with the lead cycle group this time. Just a bit of bad luck at the end but a good race.

The third race was a team time trial. We went well on the cycle leg and were 8th as a team, but lost a few places on the final run finishing 12th overall. A good race though with solid performances all round and enjoyable, even in the French rain – again!

The fourth race took place in the rain – again! So although I ran well the bike leg was difficult and we finished well down the field as a team. This will put pressure on for us to avoid relegation this season.