LICHFIELD, ENGLAND - JUNE 10: Elliot Smales of Great Britain celebrates as he wins the mens pro race during the IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire on June 10, 2018 in Lichfield, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images for IRONMAN)
Elliot Smales

Elliot Smales

Elliot Smales Year Review 2018

2018 was a big year for me. It was my second year as a pro and I needed to prove to myself that a career in triathlon was still worth chasing, and that I was good enough to do so. Results speak for themselves, and a podium at my first professional Ironman 70.3 event at Staffordshire in 2017 was all I needed in my first year as I gained experience.

The following year I needed to build on this with at least more podiums and maybe a win. I teamed up with Reap at the beginning of the year and went off to start my season in Marbella. After a long time off racing my body wasn’t quite used to the demands of running off the bike but the ride itself had shown some very positive changes.

Three weeks later I went into 70.3 Barcelona in a strong field and produced one of my best rides to date. Unfortunately, just after halfway a change in surface led to me sliding out on a corner, and out of the pack chasing the sole leader, Javier Gomez. I recovered and took 6th place but knew there was a lot more to come.

I knew at Staffordshire 70.3 three weeks later that my bike was now a weapon. But no one else knew that. I took the opportunity and pushed all day, leading gun to tape, to take my first professional win. Shortly after I took 4th at 70.3 Edinburgh. I qualified for the world champs after this race and knew a mid-season break from racing was needed. In order to prepare for the second half of my season.

I went into 70.3 Dun Laoghaire with some confidence from my maiden victory and employed the same tactics. It paid off again and coupled with good form meant the dream situation of early qualification for 2019 World champs was a reality, all before I’d even competed in my first.

I went out to South Africa for the Worlds with no pressure but a goal of learning and trying to place inside the top 20. It was probably the best field ever at the 70.3 World Championships, and even with a few mistakes I was happy with my performance to take 16th.

Weymouth 70.3 would be the last race I would complete last year. Conditions were

dreadful but luckily something I had experienced before. It was a day of resilience rather than speed, which suited my fatigued state from a hard season. Luck was on my side that day and I took the top step for the 3rd time in the season.

In 2018 I won three Ironman 70.3 events, qualified for the 70.3 World Championship in South Africa and finished 16th in the world, all before my 24th birthday. I hope to progress on these results through the 2019 season, with my main focus on the World Championships in Nice, France.

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