Monday, October 19, 2009


I get a few questions on these topics every year, so I thought I'd create a post for future reference.

Generally, someone will e-mail asking, "How do I race junior draft-legal?", "Now that I'm no longer a junior, what do I need to do to race U23?", "How do I get my elite card?", or "How do I enter ITU races?"

Keeping in mind this is specific to draft-legal racing (and Ontario athletes), here we go.....


Marshalling the Junior Men at Coteau du Lac (2009)

If you are between the age of 16-19 by December 31st in the year you want to race, you are a junior. Therefore, athletes eligible to race junior in 2010 will be age 16-19 by December 31st, 2010. If you want to race in a junior draft-legal event (usually the Canadian Junior National Series), you need to be certified for draft-legal racing. You can be certified for draft-legal racing in the following ways:

1. You can be certified by me (Craig Taylor) or a coach designated by me, at a Training Day, Drafting Clinic, or OAT Training Camp. (Note: the training day/draft clinics usually take place in the spring)

2. If you are a member of the ByTown Storm, C3 Club or Hamilton Hammerheads, designated coaches in your club can certify you, provided that they have regularly observed you in group riding situations.

3. A NCCP Certified Cycling Coach (level 2 or higher) can evaluate you, and recommend to me that you be certified.

Please note that to race junior draft-legal races, you will need a traditional road bike (not a TT bike), with aero bars that do not extend beyond the brake hoods. I would actually recommend that all KOS athletes race on road bikes, rather than TT bikes, as they develop their bike handling skills.

Once you have your drafting certification, you will be issued a 'drafting card', and you can register for any of the Junior National Series races, including Junior Nationals. There is currently no selection or qualification process for domestic Junior Series races. There is however a qualification/selection process for PanAm Champs (aka "PATCO") and ITU World Championships.

The Junior National Series schedule is typically posted early in the new year, on the Triathlon Canada website.

U23 (Under 23)

Kyle Jones runs to 9th place at the 2005 ITU World Championships

The U23 category includes athletes aged 18-23, who race in International Triathlon Union (ITU) events. This category was created to facilitate the transition of athletes from junior racing (sprint distance) to the Olympic distance, with "U23 racing" typically referring to draft-legal Olympic distance ITU events. Most athletes generally wait until they are 20 years old (as of Dec 31st) to move to U23 racing.

The U23 category is really only recognized at National, Regional (ie. PATCO) and World Championships. In fact, the ITU World Championship is the ONLY time that athletes will race in a separate event against other U23 athletes. For National and Regional Championships, the U23 athletes toe the line with the other elites (ie. Simon Whitfield, Kyle Jones, Lauren Groves, Kathy Tremblay, etc.), and they are listed in the results as U23 athletes, with a separate podium presentation. For example, at the 2009 Canadian National Triathlon Championships, Paula Findlay finished 3rd overall, but 1st among U23 athletes - so she was recognized on the podium twice: once as the bronze medal winner in the Elite race, and also as the 2009 U23 National Champion. In 2008, Paula was first overall in the Junior National Championships on Saturday, and first overall in the Elite National Championships on Sunday, so she was the 2008 Junior, U23 and Elite National Champion.

At all other races (outside of National, Regional and World Champs), there is no separate U23 category, and no separate U23 podium. For example, ITU Continental Cups, World Cups, and World Championships Series Races do not have a U23 category, unless the race is also serving as a National or Regional Championship, or World Championship Grand Final.

Before you go signing up for an ITU Race, you need to get some paperwork organized:

The first step is to apply for an OAT Elite card.

After you have successfully obtained your OAT Elite card, you can apply to Triathlon Canada for an International Competition Card (aka ICC). You'll need this, because the only way to enter ITU races is through Triathlon Canada (contact: If TriCan doesn't register you for an ITU race, you won't be on the start list.

In most cases, you will be able to enter almost any ITU Continental Cup via TriCan. Occasionally however, these races fill up, and priority is given in order of athlete ranking. If the race registration reaches capacity, and you aren't ranked high enough, you won't be able to get to the start line.

For entry into ITU World Cups, you must meet Triathlon Canada's World Cup Criteria.

For entry into the ITU World Championships Series, you need to be on the National Team.

For a list of ITU Events, follow this link.


Kathy Tremblay runs to a 3rd place finish at 2006 ITU Mazatlan World Cup

The story for the elites is essentially the same as the U23s. You'll need a provincial elite card, and then an ICC from Triathlon Canada. After that, you can enter ITU races via TriCan, provided you are ranked high enough, and meet TriCan's criteria. Note that Triathlon Canada may reserve entry spots to targeted races for National Team and/or National Development Team athletes.

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