Triathlon is an individual sport. Period. I get it for pros, because we need to attract viewership, fans, sponsors. But that is of no relevance to amateurs. I trust my buddies in a pace line, but I certainly wouldn't trust the testerone-fuelled morons who check their sportsmanship at the door when the gun goes off and swim fists first, or toss in an occasional whip kick to clear the swimmers behind them. I love my TT bike, and if I can't race it in triathlon, then after 28 years, perhaps it's time to find another sport that still subscribes to the same values and priorities that I do. If I want to do a swim-run, I'll do a swim run. No need to stick a draft-legal bike in the middle. Extremely disappointed in where this is headed.
Personally I'm not liking this decision either but let's be clear that it will only be happening in the AG finals and not regular races. I'm unlikely to ever qualify for a AG final and it shouldn't affect the majority of people who enjoy the sport however it does raise some questions/thoughts.
Drafting will still be illegal in the qualifiers (to get into the finals) so competitors will probably want to use TT bikes, however if they qualify, they'll also need a regular road bike as I can't see them allowing drafting and TT bikes (or aero bars) I know most people have more than one bike anyhow but it'll be a requirement now.
It does also seem odd that competitors will qualify for a race where drafting is illegal but then be expected to race where drafting is legal in the final.
Many of the AG's will have competed with each other in the qualifiers and other races where drafting isn't allowed and therefore have an idea of where they stand in the ranking with their peers. It will be interesting to then see how drafting affects the results in the finals and if those rankings change.
Will competitors be conspiring beforehand to plan strategy on the bike section?
What ever happens, it does change the sport significantly and feels like it's not been made for the benefit of the competitors.
Wait, did I just make up another reason to buy another bike?
I've got no problem with Draft legal sprint World Champs and would be excited about qualifying.
I would expect the qualifying races would have to be draft legal but that is 3 races from a calendar of hundred's of UK races. which probably means it wont affect the vast majority of competitors. so most people will still be able to compete in Triathlons in the traditional format if they so wished.
AG world champs racing is a mega bucks oultlay for the competitor so I can't imagine anyone sacrificing their race for the benefit of a GB team mate however good the team camaraderie is.
Currently AG qualifiers are open to all abilities - either they restrict the race to only people trying to qualify or they make drafting illegal. I don't think it would be wise to make drafting legal in a race where all abilities (mixture of AG's trying to qualify and regular competitors) are racing as that would surely be too dangerous. I also don't think they'd want to hold 'qualifier' only races as the number of competitors would be very low - I usually race the qualifiers with my wife who is an AG and they are big events thanks to cannon fodder competitors like me making up the numbers. I could be wrong of course, I'm sure it's all been thought out properly before the decision was announced.
I can see AG's working together though, it'll only take 2-3 to agree to chain-gang and they'll all benefit from doing so. They might be helping each other out but anyone going alone will be even more disadvantaged.
Announcement now up on British Triathlon website
Regarding AG's working together, a chain gang is going to be a lot quicker than the lone cyclist but do you want to get in a chain gang with a team mate who you know is a lot faster runner than you, there's no advantage in that. If you get a fast chain gang going there's nothing to stop other competitors sitting in at the back of the chain gang and not doing any work, great advantage to them.
What's the alternative, nobody drafting? That's not going to happen so competitors will have to join groups or be left behind/expend more energy.
drafting on the swim leg behind the best swimmer - drafting on the bike leg behind the strongest bikers - who wins ? the fastest runner who has done nothing on any of the above, by saving the most energy
as a 1 off why not set the fastest swimmer off first,20 sec gap between each competitor ( no drafting ) - no drafting for the bike - and a run against the course - which will then give the victory to the competitor with the best overall time - simples
this way anyone good on the swim or the bike at least has a chance
I'd like to see it. Exciting and more tactical.
Seems crazy for an individual sport like tri. Hope we don`t end up with so called super-domestiques and 8 person lead out trains full of road cycling ringers burning themselves out for a quick runner!
So qualifiers are non drafting and finals are draft legal.
it's almost a different sport. it makes no sense to me to qualify from a different type of event.
The best swimmers will not stay ahead of the pack.
The best cyclists will not get away from the pack
Why not save time and money and just run and save the crashes that will definitely happen
So 60% against this change - how do we get it changed back and then introduce the elites to the proper sport?
IMHO people in favour of draft legal don't really understand the sport. The Race Of Truth element in the bike section is a key feature of the sport. I could understand it if there were interest in an additional team event - the elite sport is that way to some extent - but I think it should be the aggregate time of the 2 fastest in a team of 3 or 4 that should score.
So is anyone up for an international campaign to change this?
My understanding is that the UK is an exception to the rule and the majority of other countries already host draft legal qualifying races, which is why we're switching over. I don't have any evidence to support this, it was something I was told at a race recently. Would be interested to know if it's true? I also am led to believe that one of the big challenges moving forward will be finding suitable venues that can host draft legal races as it will require wider, safer roads which limits the options. For the record, I'm with you and don't think it's a good idea either as it's a game changer and not reflective of the true triathlete. I also think it's going to make races very dangerous with more crashes and incidents which can't be a good thing at all.
RundIt - I entirely agree with Bathtub, I don't anticipate there being an overwhelming number of draft legal events in the UK.
As others have mentioned there are road safety issues and first and foremost a draft legal try would need to be on closed roads (or as alluded to above, a race track). Quite simply this is a non-starter in many instances so I wouldn't worry too much.
Secondly, I would guess that events/organisers that do opt to include draft legal would likely still have non-drafting events/waves (obviously suitably separated) so fear not.
Thirdly, middle distance races and upwards won't go draft legal... and middle distance races are AWESOME...
Don't worry, I intend on spending many hard saved pennies on a TT bike in October so I am not worried about it becoming irrelevant.
Thanks for the clarification, I can continue to look forward to improving myself and thoroughly enjoying the sport. Thanks all.
The Age Group- qualification races will be draft legal next year for Sprint triathlons. Its barking in my view especially given that competitors will be drafting behind riders from a different age group/gender. It will also probably mean that the National Water Sports Centre near Nottingham won't be used (or it will have a different bike route) as multap doesn't fit with drafting.
I think we should all voice our opinions strongly on this absurd move. NB the British Triathlon Federation opposed the change.
Cliffin Eton Dorney won't work as a venue either, too narrow and 4 laps will be chaos/entirely uninsurable from an event management perspective. Genuinely would not feel safe racing on that course with a few hundred wheel suckers.