Donnerstag, 30. Juli 2015

Professional Triathlon Union (PTU) founded to represents all professional non-drafting triathletes globally

According to their mission statement Professional Triathlon Union (PTU), founded and gone live on 29th of July 2015 wants to "represents all professional non-drafting triathletes globally". This might be the 3rd or 4th attempt in triathlon's short history to create a strong and long lasting union for better representation of athletes needs, responsibilities and the development for the sport based on pro athlete agendas. Given the new communication methods technology is providing today this attempt may last long and will establish itself as trustworthy partner, even without an "regular office" or postal address provided yet.

Professional Triathlon Union (PTU) founded to represents all professional non-drafting triathletes globally. Screenshot: PTU

The website features a FAQ section, a short list of duties and stakeholders already:
 The PTU will work towards introducing, developing or addressing the following:
  • Athlete Representation
  • PTU Code Of Conduct
  • PTU Accident Insurance
  • Live Coverage And Tracking
  • PTU Pro Database
  • Communication Channels
  • Prize Purses
  • PTU Athlete Education
  • Drug Testing
  • Gender Equality
  • Non-Drafting Rules
  • Pro Card Criteria
  • PTU Development Grants
  • PTU World Grand Slam Series
  • Ethnic Diversity
  • Athletes' Volunteer Time
The PTU will also address all suggestions presented by the PTU Pro members. By achieving these objectives the PTU will be professionalizing the non-drafting sport of triathlon to benefit Pro non-drafting triathletes and ALL Stakeholders. 
The PTU defines ALL stakeholders as:
  • Race organizations (WTC, Challenge, Xterra)
  • Race Directors (including indepenent)
  • ITU and National Federations
  • Sponsors and partners
  • Age group triathletes
  • Supporters, fans and family
  • Media outlets

A short list of benefits for pro athletes is avaibale already as well as a board to discuss things "internally".

  • Strong representation through our official communication channels, backed by strength in numbers
  • Access to purchase low cost global professional triathlete accident medical insurance with 24/7 support while training and racing
  • Invitation to apply for PTU development grants and speak to our free careers advisor
  • Eligibility to race for the PTU World Grand Slam Series prize purse*. A ranking system to determine the best all round non-drafting triathletes in the World
  • Entry into some major global events**. You will need a PTU membership to race some events from January 1st 2016
  • Discounts from our PTU Partners' services***
  • Addition to the PTU Pro database and PTU private Pro forum
  • An educational monthly members' newsletter
  • PTU voting rights on major issues that affect our professional sport

Founding members of the (currently way overcrowded board) are Rich Allen (President, CEO), Dirk Bockel, Mirinda Carfrae, James Cunnama, Scott DeFilippis, Andreas Dreitz, Mary Beth Ellis, Helle Frederiksen, Pete Jacobs, Rachel Joyce, Meredith Kessler, Sebastian Kienle, Angela Naeth, Dylan McNeice, Tim O'Donnell and Jodie Swallow. It's obvious, that the current structure will see smaller or bigger changes in near future.

  1. Professional Triathlon Union (PTU)

Montag, 20. Juli 2015

Video: 2015 ITU Sprint Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships in Hamburg

While International Triathlon Union (ITU) is still lobbying for inclusion of Triathlon's Mixed Relay into furture Olympic Games all teams put the hammer down in Hamburg, Germany. Two female and two male triathletes build one team over this fast distance: 300m swim, 6k bike, 1,6k run. Hamburg, lobbying for Olympic Games 2024, saw again the future of triathlon on shorter distances with France winning, Australia in second and Great Britain in 3rd while host Germany lost Bronze while serving a 10 second penalty 100 meters ahead of the finish line.

Freitag, 10. Juli 2015

TeamChallenge sues 4 former franchisees, who sold their businesses to World Triathlon Corporation, Inc. and IRONMAN

According to an article, TEAMChallenge GmbH sued 4 former franchisees. All of them sold their businesses and triathlon events to World Triathlon Corporation, Inc. (WTC) recently and added their races to WTC's growing IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon portfolio. The case, worth est. EUR 500,000 builds upon breach of contracts by all four former franchisees. The legal actions are a temporary tipping point of a more or less open conflict between both privateley held triathlon event organizations.

All affected events, e.g. Barcelona, Copenhagen, Kraichgau and Vichy switched from Challenge branding to IRONMAN. Former owners or core staff members are holding management positions at WTC's various subsidiary companies. Björn Steinmetz, a former owner of Challenge Kraichgau, is currently responsible for WTC's flagship triathlons in Frankfurt and Wiesbaden, Germany and reports to Thomas Dieckhoff, WTC'S CEO for the EMEA region. [1]
  1. "Der Kampf um die Sportverrückten"

Legal review on IRONMAN's and CHALLENGE FAMILY's lottery programs

Attorney Julie Gildred, reviews in her article "3 Rules to Make Your Race Lottery Legal" former and current race lottery programs. She explains, using simple examples, why World Triathlon Corporation's IRONMAN race lottery program was considered not legal and why Germany based TEAMCHALLENGE GmbH's program could be not satisfactionary meeting all U.S. law requirements in it's current setup. [1]

At the crux of the Ironman investigation was the lottery fee (between $35 – $50/person) the WTC required to enter the lottery. In reaching the settlement, the WTC Complaint concluded that ‘probable cause exists to believe that the Lottery Proceeds are traceable to proceeds of an illegal gambling business because each lottery included a prize (the entry slot); random drawing; and consideration ($35-50/person).’
In fact, shortly after the Ironman folks down in Florida got nabbed, their largest competitor rolled out a multi-faceted lottery promotion called Roth Rewards. One of the Roth Rewards’ lottery requires the athlete complete Challenge Cedar Point Full 2015 in order to be eligible to win the race lottery slot.

Under lottery case law, it’s almost universally established that consideration exists where the purchase of a product or service is required to enter the random drawing with no alternative free method of entry.

[...] one could easily make a compelling case that by requiring an individual to register and pay for another Challenge-branded event, this also amounts to consideration making the lottery illegal. 

  1. 3 Rules to Make Your Race Lottery Legal 

Donnerstag, 9. Juli 2015

Videos: STRAVA's cycling rituals

STRAVA, the social GPS activity tracking platform for endurance athletes created 8 nice 15" spots on various rituals in cycling with the intend to be a ritual itself very soon. From some coffee making in the morning in spot #1 up to spot #8 - the STRAVA app newsfeed consumption. Just watch the videos, smile and ride your bike.

Mittwoch, 8. Juli 2015

Triathlete, who competed at Ironman Frankfurt, fights life threating cerebral edema (update: athlete passed away)

Udate 08.07.2015, 11:30 CET: The athlete passed away. 

According to Frankfurter Neue Presse Iain O'May a 30 years old triathlete from Scotland,  who competed and finished the 2015 Ironman European Championship around 10 1/2 hours is fighting for his life. The athlete collapsed with massive crampings right after crossing the finish line after a long lasting race day with temperatures up to 40°C. Medical personal seems to lose the fight of his life due not stappable cerebral edema, hyponatremia, loss of minerals on race day. The finisher and experienced cyclist was taken into intensive care unit right at athletes garden, transferred to hospital and was undertaken emergency surgery and medical treatment right after arrival. [1] 

One pregnant spectator and additional 23 athletes went on race day straight to hospital too. 7 of them had to stay in intensive care, 4 of them are already discharged.

Nach dem Ironman Frankfurt am Sonntag liegt ein 40 Jahre alter Australier im Sterben. Der Amateursportler hatte am Abend die Ziellinie überquert und war kurz darauf zusammengebrochen. Die Notfallmediziner stellten ein Hirnödem, also eine Schwellung des Gehirns fest. Diese verschlimmerte sich derart, dass der Tod des Sportlers nur noch eine Frage von Stunden, vielleicht Tagen ist.
Professor Leo Latasch, Ärztlicher Rettungsdienstleiter beim Frankfurter Gesundheitsamt, bestätigte die Informationen dieser Zeitung auf Nachfrage. Der Australier habe nach seinem Zusammenbruch starke Krämpfe gehabt und sei zunächst in einem eigens für den Ironman aufgestellten „Intensivzelt“ am Ziel behandelt worden. Danach sei er mit dem Rettungswagen ins Krankenhaus gebracht und notoperiert worden. Der Zustand des Sportlers habe sich trotzdem weiter verschlechtert. Mit Medikamenten lasse sich das weitere Anschwellen des Gehirns nicht mehr verhindern, sagte Latasch. „Wir gehen davon aus, dass der Mann nicht überleben wird.“ Die Angehörigen seien informiert worden.
Als Ursache für das Hirnödem führt der Rettungsdienstleiter mangelnde Salzzufuhr an. Der Amateursportler habe nur Leitungswasser und kein natriumhaltiges Wasser getrunken, wie es bei einer körperlich so belastenden Sportveranstaltung wie dem Ironman erforderlich wäre. Natriummangel führt dazu, dass der Wasser-Elektrolyt-Haushalt des Gehirns gestört wird. Latasch berichtet, dass ihm in den vergangenen neun Jahren nur zwei ähnliche Fälle untergekommen seien. Bei den Patienten, die ebenfalls Ironman-Teilnehmer waren, sei die Situation aber nicht ganz so kritisch gewesen. Sie hätten auch beide überlebt.
Professor Latasch berichtet, dass es im Laufe des Ironman am Sonntag 24 Klinikeinweisungen gegeben habe. Mit Ausnahme einer schwangeren Zuschauerin seien nur Sportler betroffen gewesen. Von den sieben Patienten, die intensivmedizinisch betreut werden mussten, seien inzwischen vier aus dem Krankenhaus entlassen worden. Weil wegen der Hitzewelle die Betten auf den Intensivstationen knapp wurden, sei abends ernsthaft der Abbruch des Laufs erwogen worden.
The "Bundestinstitut für Sportwissenschaft" has published a document on hot climate and sports already around the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens: "Sport unter besonderen klimatischen Bedingungen - am Beispiel der Olympischen Spiele und der Paralympics in Athen". [2]

  1. Ironman in Frankfurt: Ironman-Teilnehmer liegt im Sterben
  2. Sport unter besonderen klimatischen Bedingungen - am Beispiel der Olympischen Spiele und der Paralympics in Athen

The rise of Jan Frodeno, hottest male contender for 2015 Ironman World Championship Hawaii

Prior 2008 Bejing Olympic Games, German Jan Frodeno, raised in South Africa, was on a mission. The beach boy wanted the Olympic Gold medal in triathlon. His hunger was so badly, that he decided to just train-eat-sleep-repeat month over month in Saarbrücken (Germany), Deutsche Triathlon Union's (German sports governing body) training facilities with his training squad. There was no plan B, just plan A. Add another discipline in that training regime: optimize and rethink strategy and efforts. Frodeno, well known as high mileage worker, prepared for a sprint finish during his months in training and every spectator knew what happened in Beijing: "Frodo" won, leaving the biggest names behind him.
Jan Frodeno shocked competition with new course record, new race strategy with focus on the bike. His splits: swim 0:46:02, bike 4:08:43, run 2:50:49. Photo: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images for IRONMAN

In the following years Frodeno fell over the very thin edge of overtraining, got injured and wasn't able to adapt to the new demands of a year long Olympic World Series on a very high level. Bad luck in terms of weather marked a career low in Budapest, where he lost the World Series title after his Gold medal in very cold conditions.

He's a big and tall guy, even beeing one of the skinniest in terms of body fat composition his long extremities add to weight and vulnerabily to injury, but he likes hot weather a lot. The coffee lover with his own brand Frodissimo is a one day peak performer for sure. London Olympics saw him just recovering from injury, but with a very solid Top 10 finish. The build-up was one more indicator, how Frodeno can tackle obstacles. But deep inside the strong swim-runner knew already, that the likes of Alistair Brownlee and his brother Jonathan as well as Javier Gomez are difficult to beat all year long. Time for a change. This change would likely have come a bit later, if Frodeno didn't accepted an invitation to Ironman World Championship from his bike sponsor at the time to spectate. The man was hooked with all that vibrant activity going on during pre-race week in Kona.

His appearances on 70.3 in Wiesbaden and abroad, as well as long distance races in Frankfurt and Kona later were really impressive, despite the fact he had to overcome serious (technical) issues in all of those races: ripped wetsuit, lost drink bottles, lost transition bag, multiple flat tires, bike penalty, etc. The list goes on and on. The pre-race favourite was still able to finish all of these races on the podium. Categorized as talented swim-runner he lost a year of opportunities to win both major titles in Ironman in 2014 already, the European and World Championships. Sebastian Kienle, another German Uberbiker filled the spot very well with his state of the art biking, solid running performances and a steady improvement in his swim.

2015 began with bad luck for Frodeno again, two bike crashes left him with a niggling knee injury, which forced him to focus on the swim and bike parts of his athletic mix. 10 weeks with no or a bit running should convince him, that's it's in Ironman way more important to damage the competition in Kona on the bike and be able to run solid on very tired legs. On 5. July 2015 the audience saw a historic wire-to-wire victory in Frankfurt, close to record breaking performances of Luc van Lierde in Roth and Kona. No weakness at all, minor obstacles (visor on helmet, lost bottle) to overcome, a very impressive race record (7:49:48) and even more astounishing and competion shocking bike record (4:08:43) on very hot conditions up to 39-40°C. How Frodeno crushed competition is similar to Craig Alexander's Ironman Hawii record breaking comeback. The year before fellow Australian rival Chris McCormack took away his title, isolating him on the bike with an alliance working against him in 2009. Crowie came back strong on the bike and killed everyone with his bike-run mix.

Jan Frodeno is the man to beat in 2015 and 2016 and has the opportunity to be the first athlete in the World to win both Olympic Gold and Kona. His competition, including reigning World Champion Sebastian Kienle has to get back to homework how to beat this man. We might see the begin of the Jan Frodeno legacy.

In 2017 or 2018, Ironman Hawaii will likely see the next step of performances and evolution. The triathlon industry evolves, thermal regulation and cooling gets mainstream, bikes get even better, saving a few watts at every edge of the bikes and equipment. Javier Gomez could step up after the 2016 Rio Olympics to the full-distance. The Spaniard proved already, that he can succeed on all kind of distances: drafting, non-drafting, sprint, Olympic, 70.3, XTERRA. He has a similar package like Jan Frodeno as well, with slight advantages on the swim and run segments. A battle in 2017 or 2018 between Frodeno and Gomez in peak performance could be historic and epic. World Triathlon Corporation as business owner should nurture this opportunity having two of the biggest role models in triathlon on their home turf in near future.

Daniela Ryf proved to be ready for 2015 Ironman World Championship Hawaii

Daniela Ryf, another raw diamond from Switzerland in the hands of coach Brett Sutton is ready for a serious attempt to win the 2015 Ironman Hawaii World Championship title in her 5th Ironman race. Coming from Olympic distance racing, where she faced skinny and very light athletes optimized for swim-runn performances the young swiss athlete was trapped in the whole bodyweight-power-ratio mindset leading into these races. Switching coaches opened opportunities to rethink goals and strategies. One result is the Ironman European Championship title from last sunday in record breaking time.
Daniela Ryf has already the swim-bike package to show off in Kona. Where the run would be is the big questionmark on race day in October. Her splits at Ironman European Championships: Overall time 8:51:00, swim 0;52:46, bike 4:47:50, run 3:06:06. Photo: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for IRONMAN
Ryf proved on 5. July 2015 in Frankfurt am Main, that she is ready to follow the likes of Chrissie Wellington and is able to perform in extreme hot conditions. She was able to crack the course record in Frankfurt from a time, Wellington was close but not on top of her peak perfomances and so is the strong biker. Solid on the swim, very strong on the bike her "weak" discipline, the run is improving very fast. She was able to nail with temperature up to 40°C the very first time in an Ironman her nutrition. This gave her enough opportunities to tackle the course record, even this goal was forbidden in the earlier stages of the race by her coach. He was afraid, that an all out performance in these conditions relatively close to Ironman Hawaii World Championship would compromise her build-up and race in Kona. Communicating in the last quarter of the marathon the gun went off a second time the last 5k grabbing that record.

Ryf, only beaten in Kona 2014 in all major races she attended, will be strong and a serious contender for defending champion Mirinda Carfrae and all the other podium candidates like Julia Gajer, who had a stellar performance as well, but has yet to prove she can ride a bike on a Kona day with gutsy head- and crosswinds.