Travers overcomes mishap to hold off pursuer Norman

DOMESTIC triathlon finishes rarely get closer than the one James Travers experienced on Sunday.

Quite impressively, the long-term number one managed to hold off a charging Chris Norman to win the Grandes Rocques triathlon by 6sec., just about avoiding paying the price for a navigational blip halfway into the run.

That neck-and-neck competition bodes well in an Island Games qualifying year and the return of triathlon from the winter break was welcomed by many.

After shifting from Pembroke to Vazon due to roadworks, the location of the season opener changed again at late notice.

Finally, to still and pleasant conditions on the west coast, it was good to go.

Up-and-coming star Thierry Le Cheminant wasted no time in getting to the front of the 750m swim, where Travers latched onto him.

Le Cheminant struggled during transition and Travers hammered the bike leg, which was 18km, to amplify the advantage.

But he could not count his chickens. Norman had produced a marginally faster cycle to enter second, with Le Cheminant just behind, and both loomed within 90sec. at final transition.

The 5km run made for entertaining spectating as Norman hunted down Travers, closing to under 55sec. before the first of two laps was completed. That gap reduced significantly when the leader went long around the turnpoint.

Ultimately, he just about held on to win in 57min. 45sec. from Norman (57-51) and Le Cheminant (58-54). Ove Svejstrup and Olly Lawrence followed outside the hour mark.

‘Thierry had a good swim and I got on his feet,’ Travers said.

‘I went hard on the bike, as hard as I could, and I thought I was going to get caught by both of them, but I had enough in the tank to hold them off.

‘It was nice to get out.’

Travers had actually got his season going two weeks earlier – and in some fashion.

He won the overall title at the Stourhead Immortal Triathlon, which over one weekend blended a 10km run (fourth), sprint tri (first) and a Half Ironman (13th).

He will be targeting a full Ironman later this season, but he will also have to stay sharp for the domestic Island Games qualifier on 31 July.

‘It’s a busy season and we’ll have Island Games qualifying again, mark two,’ he added.

‘That’s going to be tough qualifying as obviously Thierry’s in there now and Josh [Lewis] will nick a spot, so it will be a really good, competitive race.’

In the women’s race, the fast-improving Chloe Truffitt enjoyed a straightforward victory.

Women's race winner Chloe Truffitt in transition. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30874158)

The relative newcomer posted the fastest time in all three disciplines to cover the course in 1-05-23, enough for a very clear victory given that the other core Games contenders were on the sidelines.

After a fast swim, Izzie Grierson just about held on to second overall in 1-15-21, just 11sec. clear of Claire Smit.

One of the top female performances came from a less-expected source – England national development programme swimmer Hannah Kennedy.

Competing in the super sprint option over half the distance, the 15-year-old won outright in 37-21.

Although swimming is where her Island Games ambitions lie, she showed strength across all three disciplines to win from James Bush and fellow junior Sam Davidson.

‘I did the novice tri too and I really enjoy it,’ she said.

‘It’s just nice to have something on the side of swimming to do as well.

‘Training for cycling and running, it benefits swimming.’

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