Ironman Lanzarote 2011, the Winners.

Not sure the legs are going to hold up tonight” was the fear from some as the Lanzarote Ironman Awards Party kicked off last night to reward those whose superhuman achievements had taken them to a podium place.

It was a dark and chilly start to the event this year as 1500 athletes lined up on Playa Grande, spurred on by an enthusiastic crowd who had sacrificed sleep to lend their support to the pre-dawn start. At the swim section Rachel Joyce and Natasha Badman led the field for the women while Konstantin Bachor and Timo Bracht set the pace for the men.
It was a fast swim section, the conditions and tide proving favourable for the athletes and the leaders emerging from the water in under fifty minutes.

As predicted, it was the cycle section that proved the toughest test for many with the wind being “brutal” in some parts as one athlete described it and even some rain making an appearance during this section. Rachel Joyce maintained her lead for the women with Natasha Badman just five minutes behind her at the start, but Rachel increased that lead to eight minutes by time she returned to Puerto del Carmen. Konstantin Bachor and Timo Bracht continued to lead the field for the men with less than four minutes between them.

Local pro triathlete and Sands Beach Resort sponsored participant, Nico Ward began the cycle section in 20th position but quickly pulled out the stops for an incredible ride, gaining five places to 15th by the time he reached Famara and another four to get him to 11th slot at Los Valles. Coming into his strongest section, the marathon, Nico was looking determined to raise his game even further.

Back in Puerto del Carmen as the spectators waited for the first of the bikes to appear, the sun finally decided to join us, blazing from behind the clouds to add an even tougher dimension to the marathon. As the first wheels came into sight, rumours spread of a new record for the event, adding to the excitement and the party atmosphere being fuelled by the music and entertainment.

To tumultuous support from the crowds, the athletes began their final test under a fierce sun. First to cross the finish line, having made up the gap between him and Bachor to snatch the lead and take the tape in record-breaking time, was Timo Bracht. Bachor came in second place just four and a half minutes behind Bracht. Rachel Joyce maintained the lead she had taken right from the swim to finish in first place for the women and just three and a half minutes short of breaking the record which has been held by Paula Newby-Fraser since 1995.

After an incredibly exciting battle for fourth, fifth and sixth place, Nico Ward finished in fifth position with a run time of 2:50:37 taking his total time to an incredible 09:02:45. Congratulations, Nico, we’re all so proud of you!

As always, Ironman Lanzarote proved to be an incredible day. A huge debt of gratitude goes to all those who participated, volunteered and supported the race and to those who provided live coverage throughout the day. A special thank you also goes to James at James Mitchell Photography for his awesome photos.

We’re already looking forward to 2012.

1 Timo Bracht GER 08:30:34
2 Konstantin Bachor GER 08:44:06
3 Esben Hovgaard DEN 08:54:38
4 Joel Jameson GBR 09:01:49
5 Nicholas Peter Ward Muñoz GBR 09:02:45
6 Gregorio Caceres Morales ESP 09:03:46

1 Rachel Joyce GBR 09:28:12
2 Natascha Badmann SUI 09:43:40
3 Karina Ottosen DEN 10:10:15
4 Heidi Jesberger GER 10:28:33
5 Emma Ruth Smith GBR 10:31:08
6 Angela Niklaus SUI 10:34:05

Interview with Triathletes Emma-Kate Lidbury and Rachel Joyce

In easy flying distance of the UK, year round sunshine, golden beaches, good restaurants and a lively nightlife, Lanzarote has long been known as the ideal winter holiday destination.

But increasingly, it isn’t just holiday makers who are enjoying the delights of this Canary Island. More and more professional athletes are choosing Lanzarote as their warm weather training destination, and for many of the same reasons that have made it such a popular holiday island.

Athletics training requires discipline and routine and any athlete will attest to the fact that time management is an essential part of your required skill set. For a Triathlete, you can multiply those demands by three. Building your performance in each of your disciplines, maintaining aerobic fitness and endurance and ensuring essential rest and recovery time makes for a demanding schedule.

In the UK winter months, short daylight hours and sub-zero temperatures can severely restrict an athlete’s training schedule. Throw into the mix time spent travelling from track to pool to gym and your time management takes a hefty blow to its performance.

Cut to the beautiful Lanzarote hotel of Sands Beach where daylight arrives at 6.30am and stays for 12 hours or more; where the daytime temperatures hover around the 68 -70º F plus mark; where a fully equipped gym, on and off-road bike routes, running trails, flat terrain, hill climbs and of course the beautiful Atlantic Ocean all lie within easy stride of your luxury accommodation and you’ve found the consummate warm weather training base. Which is exactly what triathletes Emma-Kate Lidbury and Rachel Joyce discovered when they chose Sands Beach as their hotel.

Sands Beach caught up with Emma and Rachel and asked them about the highs and lows of their triathlete careers to date, and their plans for 2011.

Top UK Cyclist Plans Training in Lanzarote.

One of Britain’s most successful cyclists is finally slowing his pedals down and has accepted a post in management of the British Motorpoint Team for 2011.

Sheffield cycling legend Malcolm Elliott gained 31 professional wins between 1987 and 1995 and remains one of only two British riders to stand on the podium of a Grand Tour having won the green jersey and points competition at the 1988 Tour of Spain.
Now aged 49 years and still racing, Elliott had a practice run at retirement back in 1997 when he stepped down from professional racing. But six years later he was back and managed to notch up more wins including the Havant International GP, stages in the FBD Insurance Rás, the National Elite Circuit Series and the UCI masters road world championships.

In an interview on the Motorpoint Team website, Elliott said he had always intended looking at a management role when his riding career finally came to an end but when the opportunity to work with the British Motorpoint Team came up, the Sheffield Express launched himself at it with his usual head of steam.

Before the ink was dry on the offer, Elliott was already planning training sessions and naturally looked towards the eternal sunshine of Lanzarote to kick off the December camps.

“When you are a rider you have a very narrow focus. You are thinking solely about yourself. Now that I am managing the team I won’t be anything like as narrowly focused. I’ll still be as determined as I have always been just in a different way.”
My plan had been to get into management but not necessarily this soon. But when it came up, I decided to step up and take the role. It’s only been a few days but already it feels quite natural. There is a lot to learn but I’ve had an extremely good mentor in Keith Lambert and if I can emulate his success then I will be extremely happy.”

One thing’s for sure, he’ll be happy with the cycling weather and conditions that he’ll find on Lanzarote they’re perfect for winter training with warm, sunny days and an almost complete absence of rainfall.
Now’s the perfect time to enjoy the wonderful cycling terrain of Lanzarote; the summer heat is cooling, days are warm, dry and sunny and Sands Beach are offering free bonus days with their cycle hire.
You never know, you might just catch a glimpse of the Sheffield Express as he whizzes past you in a blur.