This year Azzurra Triathlon decided to partecipate in the Italian Grand Prix series with a strong male team with the hope of finishing in the top 5 best Italian Teams, giving us good visibility and prestige for the club. Our contact with Steve Lloyd was initially at the training camp in Rio Maior before Christmas 2015 and then at our national training camp in Easter here in Baratti where we have one of our main performance centers.
Steve put forward the two athletes Jimmy Kershaw and Kelton Aldridge to take part in the first of the three races, in the heart of the Italian capital, Rome. The starting list included nearly all of the top male Italian athletes. Both Jimmy and Kelton raced well finishing 15th and 33rd respectively, which lead to a 4th place in the male team ranking. We are looking forward to their taking part in the further two races in coastal towns of Cesenatico 10th September and the grand final in Sapri on 15th October.
This collaboration continues as 5 youth athletes from our team will be taking part in the training camp in Morzine in August giving them a great experience and an opportunity to train in a totally different environment.
We are very much looking forward to continuing this collaboration between teams and would like to thank Steve for setting up the start of what we believe will be a mutually beneficial relationship.
Azzurra Triathlon Team
This past weekend, Absolute Tri athletes Jimmy Kershaw and Nixie Turner took a trip to Belgium to race with Tri team SP&O. Jimmy flew out early on the Wednesday to do some pre race training with the team and squad based in Mechelen.
When he arrived he spent three days training with the SP&O squad and with the great partnership we now have as able to stay with a member of the team which ensured not only that Jimmy was looked after by the team but also to build a relationship with his new team mates, SP&O are clearly a team that value good chemistry between teammates. All training was provided and included some team specific training and race practice ready for the race on Sunday.
This race was a seven man team time trial in which seven people started but your time was taken when the fifth person crossed the finish line. A new race experience for Jimmy as it’s not something we come across very often in the UK but Jimmy was not only excited about the race but also optimistic about the performance of the team
During the race each member had specific roles and Jimmy had specific jobs for each stage as he was one of the strongest in the SP&O team. In the swim he was to protect the less abled swimmers and make sure no one got dropped, it was important to get everyone on the bike so they could all work together. In T1 there was a small crash due to a bad mount which held SP&O up which later on in the race proved to be extremely frustrating. When on the bike Jimmy’s role was to stay on the front of the team for as long as he could. This worked out to about four or five minute turns, he would then move to the bacj and someone else would take their turn on the front. On the run Jimmy acted very much like a leader, keeping morale high and sprinting ahead at water stops so the rest of the team could keep their rhythm. After a solid race all round SP&O finished third overall and were only twenty four seconds behind second place, leaving the team to wonder if the crash in T1 didn’t happen if they could have fought for second place.
On evaluation, Jimmy felt that he had a good race. He thought the swim was comfortable, he enjoyed the bike and especially taking big turns on the front. Even if it was on harsh, narrow Belgian roads. In the run as the leader he felt comfortable and saw keeping motivation and helping his team as a fulfilling and worthwhile job. This soprt of team work is no surprise is no surprise to anyone at Absolute as we see him do this on a day to day basis with the young athletes he coaches and trains with.
SP&O’s team manager Thomas Steurbaut was very impressed with not only with the teams performance but specifically Jimmy’s performance
Jimmy is now looking forward to his next race in Rome a week from now.
Nixie’s trip was abit shorter due to school commitments but came out on the Friday with her parents who drove down and had a stopover at Dunkirk. After completing the drive on the Saturday morning Nixie arrived with the team on Saturday to catch up with team tactics.
With a less competitive womens team the race for Nixie was very much around preapartion for the race the following weekend at Llanelli and overall Nixie was happy with her performance and input to the team and her own individual perfrormance and returned ready to race the following weekend
This partnership is something that has been built over the past 18 months between Absolute Tri and Thomas Steurbaut, head coach of the team in Mechelen and means that not only do athletes get to race together but also have times training together in the other teams environment as well as building sponsorship links together. Both athletes were lucky enough to return with new kit and sponsors goody bags to keep them going over the summer.
Absolute Tri head Coach Steve Lloyd was really happy with the opportunity for the athletes and pleased with their performances at this early stage of the season.
Special thanks to Ben Ratcliffe who was able to sort out a low cost flight for Jimmy in yet another link we have developed.