Cardiff Met undergraduate student, Zoe Thomas put on a great performance at the British Triathlon Elite Sprint Championships in Liverpool on a wet and very windy Sunday, 10th of Aug, 14.
The event was also the last race in the British Triathlon Elite Super Series. Due to the poor weather conditions the men's race was cancelled at 4pm, but the women's race still went ahead and will be on Channel 4 at 7:30am on the 17th of August.
The International Triathlon Union (ITU) World No. 1 ranked athlete Gwen Jorgensen (USA) decided to come and race the final event of the series although she was not eligible for the British title.
Zoe Thomas led the Welsh charge with a fine display, exiting the 750m swim near the front of the race. She immediately pushed hard at the start of the 20km cycle breaking out of the main group to make sure she was riding alongside the World no.1 Gwen Jorgenson, recent British standard distance champion Jenny Manners and Hannah Drewett.
Riding with the World's Best Female athlete did not faze Zoe as she continued to be a driving force in her bike group. The two leaders entered T2 with about a minute on the 4 chasers and Zoe's group has another minute on the main chase pack. Zoe settled into a good rhythm and gave it everything on the 5km run to finish 8th overall on the day, which meant she took 6th in the British Triathlon Elite Senior Sprint Championships.
Rhiannon Middleton, an 18 year old who has just completed her A-level exams, and who is a member of the Performance Centre based at Cardiff Met also raced. She had an excellent start to the swim, got to the front of the main group but then unfortunately crashed on the first lap of the bike. She picked herself up and rode and ran strongly to finish 11th junior and 32nd overall. Earlier in the day, Jess Parry-Williams, another member of the squad won bronze medal in the Age Group National Championships.
Dr Andy Lane, team coach said, ''Zoe had a strong race in Liverpool. It was a really exciting event for spectators. I am very proud of her ability to make the right decision at the right time and ride up to Gwen and Hannah with Jenny. That was a gutsy decision because the chase pack had some strong cyclists in but it was a decision which allowed her to take advantage of her strength on the bike just as the main pack was forming. She had the skills and confidence in her abilities to do that.'
'That move essentially created a race between the chase pack and her group and then also to the two leaders. This performance provides another piece of evidence for Zoe that she is becoming a stronger and more mature athlete, balancing studying with training and can achieve her goals.'
'Rhiannon also had a really good start, executed her swim plan and performed smooth transitions. It was great to see that despite the fall she got up, dusted herself off and rode strongly and aggressively for the remainder of the race. Overall, it was a great race and the two leaders Sophie Coldwell and Jessica Learmonth provided an excellent spectacle to watch by swimming aggressively, attacking the bike and then making Gwen chase them down on the run. Gwen is a class athlete and she won the event in style but it is just as great to see Sophie and Jessica make it race.''