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Talkback: Draft-legal racing coming to ITU Sprint Distance Age Group Worlds

Ah so the anti-swim crowd win again... this is just shifts the balance away from swim and more on getting in win a quick bike group and hope you can out-run them.


  • And here's me thinking that triathlon is an individual sport...
  • nivaghnivagh Posts: 595
    I disagree Andrew. If you can't swim fast enough to make the first or second bike pack, you will stand no chance of overcoming the deficit. The main effect imo is to lessen the importance of the bike leg.
  • Andrew4Andrew4 Posts: 190
    Nivagh... similarly though whats the point in being a good swimmer because you have no chance of staying ahead on the bike. I do agree with you on the bike point as well. I think it turns racing into a combination of who can do the most wheelsucking on the bike and who's the best at running with tired legs and in general makes the run too important relative to the other disciplines.
  • Finally!!!!!
  • It happens anyway. I see it in every race. It is impossible to monitor so they may as well make it legal!
  • 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.  

  • MacaroneMacarone Posts: 58

    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?

  • bathtubbathtub Posts: 280

    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.

  • MacaroneMacarone Posts: 58

    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.



  • bathtubbathtub Posts: 280

    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.


  • MacaroneMacarone Posts: 58

    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!

  • Would help with bike splits but would definitely be a big increase in crashes. I personally don't have the skills to ride at that pace in a group. Plus what would happen to all the triathlon/tt bikes. Don't think it would be a good thing for the masses.
  • S RobS Rob Posts: 2

    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

  • It's another sop for manufacturers. Wetsuit swims compulsory. Now you'll need 2 decent race bikes also. Next step compulsory sat navigation
  • 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?


  • MacaroneMacarone Posts: 58

    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. 

  • RundltRundlt Posts: 2
    I know it is a while since this comment trail started but I was reading "Drafting and Tri" in the summer 2015 edition and wondered if anyone could clarify for me. After thoroughly enjoying a few events, I spent a long time saving and reading and finally I recently purchased an aero bike, but am now wondering whether it will effectively be useless for the majority of events - let alone my concerns riding in a pack! Is the new amendment applicable to all events approved by Triathlon England? Apologies if this is obvious to some, just a little worried that I may have spent my hard earned foolishly or maybe that I need to switch to TT, this would be a shame as I love Tri.
  • bathtubbathtub Posts: 280
    Rundlt your new aero bike will not be useless for the majority of triathlon England permitted events.

    The ITU announcement regarding draft legal racing applies specifically to the 2016 sprint distance world champs in Mexico.

    All triathlon England permitted events are non drafting events although an event can apply for a rule change such as making the event draft legal but in the UK it is difficult to find a descent venue for draft legal triathlon . One event that I am aware of as being draft legal is on 18th July at Malory park racing circuit.
  • Andrew4Andrew4 Posts: 190

    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.

  • RundltRundlt Posts: 2

    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.

  • Andrew4Andrew4 Posts: 190

    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.

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