US mile record holder Alan Webb’s much-anticipated triathlon debut ended with a tumble on the bike and a fifth-placed finish in the mixed relay Pan American Championships in Sarasota, Florida last weekend.
Webb, 31, retired from track running last month in New York and is now embarking on a multisport quest to make the Rio Olympics in 2016 (see Tim Heming’s column in the latest issue of 220 Triathlon, on sale now).
Featuring for a US second-string alongside Lukas Verzbicas, Tamara Gorman and Summer Cook, Webb swam 350m in 4:58mins, biked 6.4km in 10:14mins and ran 2km in 5:50mins for a split of 22.06mins and overall team time of 1:29:33. The event was won by Canada 1 in 1:25:56.
Hailing from standout running backgrounds, Webb and Verzbicas were only the fourth and fifth high school students to break the four-minute mile in the US. Verzbicas also became junior world triathlon champion in Beijing in 2011 before a near-fatal bike crash in July the following year put his career on hold.
The US, without a men’s medal in four Olympic cycles, are pinning hopes on both to deliver at elite level, but the size of task was illustrated by Canadian Andrew Yorke’s fastest relay split of the day in 19:54. Yorke finished 42nd in last year’s World Series Grand Final in London.
(Main image: sarasotatri.com)