Cameron Wurf of Ineos Grenadiers is the only WorldTour professional who also races in the top tier of long-course triathlons. On May 7, with his teammates at the Giro d’Italia, Wurf raced the rescheduled 2021 Ironman World Championships, in St. George, Utah.
Usually hosted in Kona, Hawaii in early October, Ironman was postponed in 2021 due to COVID concerns. The event consisted of a 4km (2.4mi) swim, a 180km (112mi) bike, and a 42.2km (26.2) run.
For Wurf, this new date and location meant adjusting his training schedule, and in the lead-up to this world championship event; he barely trained for the swim and did minimal run training, but his bike fitness was excellent.
Wurf was part of the Ineos Grenadiers squad that helped Dylan van Baarle to victory at the 2022 Paris-Roubaix.
Racing at the Ironman World Championships, Wurf looked at ease on the bike, effortlessly spinning up one of the climbs that shredded the legs of most of his competitors. Ultimately, the Australian finished in 18th place with a time of 8:30:30, some 40 minutes behind winner Kristian Blummenfelt of Norway.
Under the hot Utah sun, Wurf was aboard a special version of a Pinarello Bolide designed for triathlon, and which would be prohibited from use in a WorldTour event. While the UCI has plenty of rules about what is and is not permissible — a rider’s position on the bike, dimensions of tube sections, and more — the governing body for Ironman has fewer regulations, and so bikes are a lot more exotic.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the two different bikes Cam Wurf uses when racing against the clock in a road cycling race, and when racing in an Ironman triathlon.
Cameron Wurf’s Pinarello Bolide tri bike with a Princeton CarbonWorks Mach 7580 front wheel, and Blur 633 rear disc wheel. While there are some similarities with his road racing time trial bike, there are notable adaptations to the bike for use when racing a four-plus-hour test against the clock.
On his tri bike, Wurf had a nutrition storage compartment on the top tube, and another storage location above the bottom bracket. (Photo: Brad Kaminski)
Cam Wurf’s position on his time trial bike had his elbows slightly closer to his knees, and there was some curve in his back. The UCI has rules about saddle position behind the bottom bracket, as well as how far forward the bars can extend. (Photo: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
Wurf raced in St George, Utah, on a position that allowed for a slightly more extended — his back had slightly less curve than when racing in a road time trial, his elbows were slightly more forward, and his hands were in a slightly higher position relative to his time trial position.
Instead of a timing chip attached to a fork blade, Wurf wore a chip on a band above his left ankle, which was worn in all three triathlon disciplines. (Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Ineos was one of the first teams to custom 3D-print titanium cockpits for its riders, and Wurf used a relatively standard cockpit on his road time trial bike. (Photo: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
Wurf’s tri bike had a 3D-printed titanium cockpit with an Elite bottle cage that sat between his forearms, and a mount for his bike computer that was positioned between his hands. (Photo: Brad Kaminski)
For reference and comparison: Geraint Thomas also used a custom, 3D-printed titanium cockpit at the 2022 Tour de Romandie. Of course, each rider has a unique cockpit setup, but the Pinarello and MOST components are not too dissimilar across the Grenadiers’ bikes. (Photo: Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)
Wurf’s 3D-printed titanium cockpit with further customizations for his fit. Comfort was as important as aerodynamics when he raced a 180km (112mi) test against the clock.
Wurf has previously covered this distance in 4:02, at the 2021 Ironman Copenhagen. In Utah, his bike split was 4:15. (Photo: Brad Kaminski)
The temperature for the Ironman race in Utah was nearly 86 degrees, and athletes had to carry enough fuel to make it between refueling stations.
Many triathletes placed a bottle cage between their forearms, which allowed them to drink hands-free. Wurf carried an X-Lab Torpedo bottle between his arms, with a greater capacity than a standard bottle, and a drinking straw so that he did not have to take his hands out of the aero position. (Photo: Brad Kaminski)
Wurf’s view of the cockpit on his Pinarello Bolide TR+. (Photo: Brad Kaminski)
Racing at the Vuelta a España, Wurf used a standard Shimano Dura-Ace 9150 drivetrain. (Photo: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
At the May Ironman World Championships, Wurf used an as-of-yet unreleased CeramicSpeed OSPW Aero upgrade to his Shimano Dura-Ace 9150 rear derailleur. The jockey wheels were oversized, and the cage featured a very aero shape.
Read more about this $800 modification to the rear shifting mechanism.
The fork on Wurf’s road cycling Pinarello Bolide was aerodynamic within the rules set by the UCI technical commission. (Photo: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
And for reference, the same fork was used by Dylan van Baarle, when he raced the “chrono” at the 2021 Vuelta a Burgos. (Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
The fork used by Wurf at the Ironman worlds had a much flatter and elongated profile, which previously had not been approved for use by the UCI. This shape offered a drag-reducing aerodynamic advantage, which added up when racing in excess of four hours.
For the 2022 season the Ineos Grenadiers, including world champion Filippo Ganna, are still using TT bikes with rim brakes. (Photo: Brad Kaminski)
Another UCI-prohibited feature of the Pinarello Bolide TR+ is the fork with a shape that covered the front brake rotor.
At 40kph (25mph) most of Wurf’s effort on the bike went to overcoming aero drag. Decreasing drag meant a faster speed for a given wattage. Marginal gains are not just for road cyclists. (Photo: Brad Kaminski)
Coming up short on hydration during the bike segment of an Ironman could result in a terrible experience. Wurf had another bottle stored behind his saddle to ensure he had enough fuel between refilling stations. (Photo: Brad Kaminski)
Some features and components transfer directly between road time trials and Ironman triathlons.
This tubed Continental GP 5000 clincher tire was one of those things, but what is curious is that it was not the latest — or fastest — version of the tire. (Photo: Brad Kaminski)