Oakley Triathlon Update

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2008 Richards Bay BG Triathlon World Cup

It’s not often an athlete wins a world championship before a world cup but that’s exactly what Oakley’s German Daniel Unger has done. After a stunning performance in Hamburg last year to be crowned world champion, Unger won his first world cup today in another thrilling finish in Richards Bay.

“My first victory on the world cup circuit – it’s amazing," said Unger at the finish line. "I just wanted to test myself here. I’m focused on one day in August, the Olympic Games."

Quickly on the 40-kilometer bike course the men came together to form a large lead group of 37 riders. Just past the midway mark of the bike, American Brian Fleischmann pulled away on a solo break and held a 24-second lead after the fifth of eight laps. In the late stages of the bike, Fleischmann was joined by Reed and the two Americans rode into T2 together and headed out on the 10-kilometer run course together.

Just after the first lap of the run, Reed started to pull away from Fleischmann but a group of seven men kept within striking distance. Halfway through the run Reed continued to lead but the chase pack shaved six seconds off the lead. Reed took the bell lap with an 8-second lead but at the far turnaround he was caught by DeVilliers and Unger. In the final kilometer the South African took the lead but Unger and Reed stayed close. Up the final hill Unger pushed the pace and made a mad dash for the finish line to claim his first world cup title. Reed holds on for silver, just ahead of DeVilliers in an exciting finish.

“It was my main goal just to run with these guys to the hill and then push as hard as I can to the finish," added Unger. "This is the best time of my life right now”

2008 Richards Bay BG Triathlon World Cup
1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run
Elite Men – Official Results
Gold – Unger, Daniel (GER) 1:52:49 OAKLEY
Silver – Reed, Matt (USA) 1:52:50
Bronze – DeVilliers, Hendrik (RSA) 1:52:50

Ironman 70.3 St. Croix

Oakley’s Craig Alexander and Mirinda Carfrae both came from behind on the run to win at Sunday’s Ironman 70.3 St. Croix. Crowie hunted down Italy’s Marino Vanhoenacker with an absurb 1:15:58 half marathon, while Carfrae overcame early women’s leader Felicity Hart of Great Britain by posting a 1:19:55 run split, faster than all but two of the pro men.

The men were led out of the water by Kiwi super-swimmer Bryan Rhodes and 70.3-veteran Simon Lessing, as the pair exited the warm Caribbean waters in just under 26 minutes. Once the top men made their way onto their bikes, it was all about Vanhoenacker and rising Aussie star Paul Ambrose. Both athletes tore through the challenging bike leg, including a climb of the infamous "Beast", in under 2:20, which put Ambrose into T2 first, one minute ahead of the Vanhoenacker. Crowie came into T2 another two minutes later, in fourth position, ready to go after the trio of men ahead of him.

In typical fashion, Alexander made the half-marathon look easy, quickly catching and pulling away from Vanhoenacker, Ambrose and countryman Richie Cunningham. Crowie’s run was four minutes faster than the rest of the men’s field, putting him at the finish in 4:05:34, just over three minutes ahead of runner-up Vanhoenacker.

Cunningham ran his way to third, just seconds ahead of former Ironman World Champ Faris Al-Sultan. One of the most impressive performances came from Italian Massimo Cigana. The former pro cyclist made up for a lackluster swim with the second-best run of the day, moving all the way up to sixth overall.

In the women’s race, Germany’s Nina Kraft and American Bree Wee surged to the front of the swim, followed closely by Great Britain’s Felicity Hart. The Brit pulled away from Craft and Wee as the women made their way through the hills of St. Croix, with Carfrae also making up time and pulling into T2 about two minutes behind Hart.

Much like her countryman Alexander, Carfrae destroyed the rest of the field on the run, by running about 50 seconds faster per mile than her competition. Carfrae also pulled away from most of the men’s field, with only Alexander and Cigana posting faster run splits. Carfrae finished in 4:26:56, almost ten minutes ahead of Kraft, who out-sprinted Wee for second.

Wildflower Triathlon Festival

On a perfect spring day at California’s Lake San Antonio, Oakley’s Samantha McGlone kept her Wildflower record (wins in 2005, 2006, 2008) perfect as well, breaking away from Oakley teammate Leanda Cave on the first two miles of the hilly, half marathon run to nab her third Wildflower victory in near record time. McGlone’s race-best 1:24:32 run was the difference, putting 5 minutes on the 2002 ITU Olympic distance World Champion after they left T2 elbow to elbow.

McGlone crossed the line in 4:31:38, just 30 seconds off her 2006 race record, with a 5-minute 7-second margin of victory and a reversal of fortune regarding her disappointing, season opening 5th place finish at California Ironman 70.3 at Oceanside in March. Cave finished third in Oceanside, three minutes ahead of McGlone.

Typically, McGlone started slow, emerging from the 1.2 mile swim in 65-degree Lake San Antonio in 25:51, 2:44 behind Pip Taylor and 1:20 behind Cave. “Before I could get up that first steep climb leaving the campgrounds, my chain came off and by the time I put it back on, Sam arrived,” said Cave. “So I decided to stay with her on the bike.”

While Taylor, just recovering from an illness she contracted last week at St. Anthony’s fell eight minutes back during a "bad patch" on the hilly bike, McGlone and Cave rode in formation all the way to T2. “It’s funny,” said Cave. “At California Ironman 70.3, Sam and I came off the bike together and I outran her. But the first four miles here are very hilly and tough and Sam just ran off and put three minutes on me right away.”

After her off-form bike leg, Taylor rallied with a second-best 1:25:41 run to hit the line in 4:39:25 and take third place.

At the end, McGlone and Cave congratulated one another. McGlone had nailed a message to the rest of the tri world with the second-best Wildflower time ever. Cave, taking heart that in her first ever Wildflower, feeling just this side of sick all day, she had posted one of the top 10 Wildflower women’s times ever. “This course is just like the hills of Marin where I live and train in the US,” said Cave. “Next year, I’d like to see what I can do when I know the course and I’m feeling a little better.”

For McGlone, she must be happy that she is right on target for a second appointment to see who will be the Queen of the Queen K this October.

26th Wildflower Triathlon by Avia
Lake San Antonio, California
May 3, 2008
S 1.2mi/ B 56 mi/ R 13.1 mi

  1. Samantha McGlone (Can) 4:31:38 Oakley
  2. Leanda Cave (Gbr) 4:36:45 Oakley
  3. Pip Taylor (Aus) 4:39:25 Oakley

Author

Staff Writer

Date

May 06, 2008