Couples Championship results: No Stanford and Aaron Royle claim $100,000 prize – Elite News


Non-Stanford Briton and Australian Aaron Royle claimed the $100,000 top prize by winning the inaugural Florida Couples Championship on Sunday.

Stanford passed Kirsten Kasper (and her partner) Matt Sharpe in the final race at Fort De Soto Park for a tremendous win. French stars Marjolaine Pierré and Clément Mignon took the last place on the podium.

The race, the brainchild of Ben Atkins of sponsors Waterfall Bank, took place on Facebook Watch via a PPV stream, and the lack of live timing made it difficult for commentators, fans and journalists. But here is a recap of what we were able to glean.

Leg 1 – Strategy employed

The first decision the couples had to make was who went first – they all had to confirm their decisions minutes before the 0700 local time (1200 UK, 1300 CET) start. In the event the vast majority went to men first.

The format remembered was the relay – with each member of each pairing performing a 0.25m swim, a 10m bike and a 3.1m run. The prize money was $100,000 for the winner, $20,000 for the runners-up and $10,000 for the third-place finishers. The couples all received $10,000 in appearance money.

The aforementioned Sharpe and Royle were the first out of the water with Eric Lagerstrom, while the chasing pack was about 40 seconds off the pace in choppy waters. Roksana Slupek and Rachel Klamer were the first women in T1.

Royle took control early on the bike to open up a healthy gap and was 40 seconds ahead of Sharpe when they came into T2. Lagerstrom and Tim O’Donnell – in his first race since that heart attack a year ago – were close behind.

Klamer was the first woman to enter T2, just over five minutes off the pace with Slupek a minute further.

Royle continued to lead the way on the race and he gave way to Stanford with the clock just after 51 minutes. Mignon (passing the baton to Pierre) and Sharpe (passing the baton to Kasper) followed closely.

Stage 2 – Stanford brings it home

Stanford maintained the advantage throughout the swim even though the gap was tight as they raced into T1 with Kasper taking the lead. Paula Findlay (after a good performance by her partner Eric Lagerstrom) was still very much in play alongside Pierre.

Kasper would take over during the bike up front and she headed to T2 with a 12 second lead over Stanford. Findlay was about 45 seconds off the pace and Pierre at 1:20. At this point, first man Seth Rider was five minutes off the pace, just ahead of Richard Murray.

It was now a question of who would win the race – Stanford or Kasper – with $100,000 at stake. to claim this exceptional paycheck.

Pierré, who announced her brilliant racing ability on the big stage at CLASH Daytona last December, passed Findlay to claim the final step of the podium for her and Mignon.

2022 Couples Championship Results

March 6, 2022 – Tierra Verde, Florida (0.25m swim, 10m bike, 3.1m run)

  • 1. Aaron Royle/Non Stanford ($100,000)
  • 2. Matt Sharpe/Kirsten Kasper ($20,000)
  • 3. Clément Mignon/Marjolaine Pierre ($10,000)
  • 4. Eric Lagerstrom/Paula Findlay
  • 5. Justin Metzler/Jeanni Metzler
  • 6. Roksana Slupek/Seth Rider
  • 7. Sam Osbourne/Samantha Kingsford
  • 8. Rachel Klamer/Richard Murray

PPV or not to be?

It’s always good to see new formats and investments in the sport of triathlon, and we were interested to see how the live PPV would play out on Sunday.

Greg Bennett and Heather Jackson in the pit did a great job trying to keep viewers up to date with what was happening on the course, but it was quite difficult at times.

The lack of time splits (a global timing clock was the only data available to viewers of the stream) was a big miss and made it difficult to really get a sense of the state of the race.

From a camera perspective, there were issues too – Fort De Soto Park is a beautiful place, but we probably saw a bit too much here.

The focus on drone footage and static cameras meant we had long gaps between meaningful action. Add to that the fact that all the athletes were apparently wearing matching Waterfall trisuits, and it added up to a difficult event to follow properly.

Bennett referenced some technical issues, so it’s entirely possible that things were set up to be better, but conditions didn’t allow it.

Concurrent viewers of the live stream appeared to reach around 500 by the end of the run – paying up to $9.99 or £9.99 for the privilege. We don’t have access to official figures of course, but making the race free and gaining additional media exposure could have been an alternative approach.


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