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First, Third and Fourth at Ironman Cairns

First, Third and Fourth at Ironman Cairns

Posted by Joe Laverick on 21st Jun 2024

An overall course record, a bike record, and a trip to the top step of the podium. Matt Burton had one hell of a weekend. It was a Sync Ergonomics affair at the top of the standings, with Mike Phillips and Arnaud Guilloux rounding out the results in third and fourth using our products.

The Course

The Ironman Cairns course is set against the backdrop of Tropical North Queensland. The athletes faced a 3.8-kilometre swim in the clear waters of the Coral Sea, followed by a 180-kilometre bike ride through diverse terrain that includes coastal roads and challenging hills. Finally, competitors completed a full marathon (42.2 kilometres).

Burton Rides Riot

Matt Burton ⁠had ten weeks away from triathlon at the start of the year. A foot infection became complicated, and for a moment it seemed like it could’ve been the end of the line for his triathlon career, it could’ve even meant having his foot amputated.⁠

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Matt since working with him, it’s that you can never count him out. Never ever. We asked him to sum up his race:

⁠“It’s a performance I am still a little in disbelief about. Cairns hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for me so to finally perform at a level I felt possible and away from Busselton is special. Breaking a course record and winning the event is still the surreal component.

I swam with the large chase group, rode to my own plan and allowed my effort and speed to break the race without having to burn a match. A big gap into T2 isn't something I fear as I was able to settle into my own run tempo and let the race fight for the chance to catch me.

I had a few issues out of T1 and dropping a bottle of personal nutrition is never ideal but to be honest, I felt a different sense of calm on the day. Take the good with the bad but not overthinking it was the key for me.”

  • Matt Burton

Phillips and Guilloux Finish 3rd and 4th

It was a Sync Ergonomics affair at the top of the standings, with three of the top four running our cockpits.

Arnaud Guilloux - 4th:

"I found myself leading the main pack, feeling incredibly strong and smooth in the swim. Knowing that the leading group consisted of only 2 to 3 athletes, I was confident about the rest of the race, especially given my cycling abilities. On the bike course, my legs felt great. Our group quickly caught up with the leaders. My new bike position, with a 4 cm offset, allowed me to be more stretched out, gaining both comfort and aerodynamics, which is a significant advantage given my height.

When Matt Burton attacked on the hill, I chose not to follow, preferring to save my energy for the run. Matt did an incredible bike overall, congratulations mate! I finished the bike segment with the chase group, ready for the marathon.

From the start of the marathon, I felt amazing, quickly moving into 3rd place just behind Braden, who is a role model for me. Everything was going well until kilometre 32, when my pace suddenly dropped. Despite my efforts to hold onto a podium spot, the incredible Mike caught up with me in the final kilometres.

Although I missed the podium, the three athletes ahead of me were truly stronger. The race was filled with suspense and emotion. I am proud of my 4th place, which also qualifies me for the Ironman World Championships in Kona! This experience in Cairns will be remembered as a significant milestone in my career."

Mike Phillips - 3rd

We caught up with Mike straight after the race:

"Third place at Ironman Cairns which is the Asia-Pacific Championships. I took a more conservative pacing approach with the heat and humidity, which paid dividends late in the marathon where I moved onto the podium in the final km.

I did lose my rear hydration cage and bottle on the bike in one of the rougher road sections. It meant I had to pivot on my nutrition strategy and could only carry one bottle at a time.

After this, it’s home to New Zealand to recover from this Oceania block of racing before heading to Europe to prepare for the next block."

About the Author

Joe Laverick’s cycling introduction was via the British time-trial scene, since starting the sport, he has been all about speed. He’s a freelance writer and privateer racer who mixes road, time trial and gravel racing. To this day, he remains one of the only riders on the planet to have beat Remco Evenepoel in a time trial.