Alistair Brownlee and Kristian Blummenfelt have announced their pacing teams for the bike leg of next month’s Sub7 challenge, with both going for a similar approach to their selection.
The bike leg is arguably the most important section of the challenge –and any race – in terms of time savings. So it’s no wonder that Team Brownlee and Blummenfelt have been very selective in their choices of pacers.
Both Olympians have selected some of the world’s fastest time triallists on the continental and UK circuit. Team Brownlee’s bike pacing team is made up of eight national-level and elite cyclists, five of which are on the Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling Team.
The team includes Commonwealth Games medallists Alex Dowsett, Charlie Tanfield and Harry Tanfield, plus their younger teammates Ollie Peckover and Zeb Kyfinn. There’ll also be previous Ribble Weldtite rider John Archibald and student athlete Alex Pritchard, with national champion Dan Bigham rounding off the group.
Nigel Mitchell, Brownlee’s technical project manager for the Sub7 attempt, said: “These athletes have specialised in team time trialling and their performance coach and rider Jacob Tipper has brought these riders together.
“We’ve been very fortunate that we’ve got what we think are some of the best riders in the world for this type of event.” Tipper will act as directeur sportif on race day, calling the shots during the bike leg.
Mitchell adds: “Everybody feels that they’re working as a team to support Alistair with this, so much so that they’ve all committed not just to the event itself, but also to specific training.”
Blummenfelt’s team selection
On the Norwegian side, Blummenfelt has also chosen high-level UK-based cyclists, with performance coach Matt Bottrill overseeing the team.
Members include the likes of Paralympic gold medallist Adam Duggleby, Welsh national champion Gruff Lewis, Scottish champion Kyle Gordon, British champions Chris Fennell and Phil Williams, along with Thomas Hutchinson and Axel Dopfer.
Bottrill says of the team: “I know a lot of the top time triallers in the UK, but the hardest factor was trying to get people that could ride the equipment that we were going to need to achieve this record.
“We already had some good riders in place, but the other process was getting riders that we could establish in a team and weren’t going to be selfish. We’ve got eight pacers whose goal for the last 10 years is trying to beat each other. Now you’re trying to take these guys and say to them, ‘you’re now teammates.’”
We’re expecting further announcements on the swim and run pacers for the Pho3nix Sub7 Project soon.
Top image credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images for Ironman