WEDNESDAY, JAN 18: It was a big gamble that paid off.
Tyler Butterfield had a new bike shipped to him barely a week ahead of the Pan American Championships, and it was a difference maker in him claiming victory.
It was a huge victory as it shot Butterfield up through the rankings where he now has a tenuous hold on an Olympic spot.
Flora Duffy was 12th in her event in La Paz and currently holds down an Olympic spot as well.
The Pan American Championships was worth double points to both Colorado-based athletes.
Butterfield said: “I don’t go into any race expecting to win. I always want to win and don’t think it’s impossible but it’s not a likelihood.
“That was my first ever professional win in triathlon.”
Butterfield came out of the water with the third group of swimmers about 50 seconds behind the leaders.
He was able to jump across from his cycling group to the next pack and then made the transition by riding hard to the lead pack.
“Once I got to front group I stayed in with them for one whole lap.”
He said a couple riders tried to make a breakaway but they were reeled back in.
“Then I attacked and attacked hard enough that no one wanted to go with me because it takes a toll on the run.
I know I can run well after a hard bike, which is an attribute a lot of people aren’t good at.”
From there Butterfield ran two steady laps on the 2.5k course judging the rest of the pack on the looped course.
He crossed the line in 1:53:36, 31 seconds ahead of Canada’s Bent McMahon.
He attributes his success to his new bike sponsorship with Cervelo.
“They are focused on making aerodynamic bikes for road racing and they claim its one of the fastest bikes on the circuit.
“It was nice to breakaway as it was designed to ride alone. I’m excited to ride that bike and have the fastest bike split.
“They overnighted a bike to me nine days before the race — it was a bit of a risk to make a change before the race, but it paid off.”
He added: “I’m very excited and its nice to win, but by know means am I getting ahead of myself there is still a long way to go to qualify for the Olympics.”
Bermuda Triathlon Association president Neil de ste Croix said on Butterfield’s win: “I’m elated. It’s good for him and his confidence to ride away from people in a race.
“He’s been in a lot longer distance races so to win a shorter distance one shows he’s coming into form at the right time.”