Kat Matthews and Nicola Spirig announce bike pacers for Sub8 attempt

Last week Alistair Brownlee and Kristian Blummenfelt announced the bike pacers for their Sub7 attempt, and now it’s time for Kat Matthews and Nicola Spirig to announce theirs for Sub8.

If you’re not sure what we’re on about, the Sub7 and Sub8 projects will see four of the world’s top triathletes attempt to set new records over a full-distance triathlon (3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run).

The men will be hoping to go under seven hours, while the women will be hoping to go under eight.

To help them achieve that, each athlete will have a team of pacers for each leg of the triathlon, with some being used across multiple disciplines. After much anticipation, Matthews – who has stepped in at the last minute after Lucy Charles-Barclay dropped out due to injury – and Spirig have now announced both their pacing teams for the bike.

Who’s on Kat Matthews’ bike pacing team?

Ruth Astle, who recently finished fifth at the 2021 Ironman World Championship (pictured here) will be supporting Matthews on the bike and run legs of the sub attempt (Credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images for Ironman)

Matthews is drawing on skills from pro cyclists and triathletes. Her team will include three cyclists UK domestic team The Independent Pedaler Nopinz, including two-time Scottish national champion Jennifer George, Irish national record holder Kelly Murphy and three-time vice national champion Alex Clay.

They’ll be joined by multiple British national champion Emily Meakin, Frankie Hall, a student athlete that’s part of the British Cycling elite development team Loughborough Lightning, and Leah Dixon, 2021 Welsh national road race champion and national closed circuit champion.

Meanwhile, multiple Ironman champion (and 2019 age-group champion in Kona 2019) will pace Matthews on both the bike and run, while two-time European and three-time Ironman 70.3 India champion Lee will pace her on the swim and bike.

Speaking about her selection, Matthews said: “Selection for my Sub8 team has been challenging and very whirlwind-esque. However I have not had to compromise at all on the absolute dream team that I had wanted, which was incredible…

“Selection obviously was based on performance predominantly, but there’s been a big factor of communication and the relationship between me, them, and the team as a whole. That’s been really important to me because I think that’s such a key element of the whole day and the week in the build-up to this.”

Who will be pacing Nicola Spirig?

Luisa Baptista, pictured here competing at Ironman 70.3 Portugal Cascais, will be supporting Spirig on the bike and run

Spirig’s pacing team has much more of a multisport flavor to it, with Irish national cycling champion Joanna Patterson (part of The Independent Pedaler Nopinz cycling team) and five-time Ironman 70.3 winner Imogen Simmonds being the only athletes supporting on just the bike leg.

For the bike and run, Spirig will be supported by five-time UK time trial course record holder Lizi Brooke, whose CV also features wins at Ironman 70.3 Oman and Ironman Tallinn, pro cyclist and two-time Powerman vice world champion Melanie Maurer, and Ironman Maastricht winner Els Visser.

Joining them will be Olympian Luisa Baptista, Ironman Asia Pacific Champion Amelia Watkinson, plus Olympian and two-time mixed relay world champion Lucy Buckingham, who’s now regularly found racing at the front of the pack in middle-distance races.

Spirig is said to have initially been looking to recruit more pacers from professional cycling, but couldn’t due to conflicts in their calendar.

“That led me to looking at the strongest female triathletes, and also some duathletes” Spirig said. “I started to ask athletes who I know and train with. I was very lucky to be training on an international squad.

“In the end I am very happy with my team. I think it’s a great mix. I have strong riders; I also have tall riders, which is important to get a good draft behind them. I have three or four riders who can actually hold the required pace over a longer time so we don’t have to switch every two minutes.”

The Sub7 and Sub8 attempts are set to take place on 5 June 2022. Keep an eye on our website for the latest news, insight and reports.

Top image credit: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for Ironman

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