By David Peddie on 13/06/13 at 8:52 am
The Turkish city of Alanya is ready to host the 2013 European Triathlon Championships.
The President of the Turkish Federation, Hamdi Gunes, has already spoken of his desire to host the best ever European Championships and it is with much excitement and anticipation that well over 1,200 athletes across Elite, Junior, Paratriathlon and Age Group competitions head to Turkey for these Championships.
As part of their dedication to hosting top-level Paratriathlon events, the ITU developed a busy Paratriathlon calendar in 2013, spanning five continents.
Much of these events have coincided with the ITU World Triathlon Series, but Bescançon held a dedicated Paratriathlon event last month and now the top paratriathletes in Europe head to Alanya bidding to become European Champions, with multiple past winners looking to defend their titles in the start lists.
One of the most eagerly awaited clashes will come in the Female Tri-4 category, where six athletes have made the podium of at least a World Championships, World Series race or European Championship before.
Double World Champion and 3 times European Duathlon Champion, Edith Dasse (FRA), has remarkably never won a European Championship title, but she is in great form having tasted victory twice in 2013 at Bescançon and Horst.
Claire Cunningham (GBR), the 2009 European Champion, finished ahead of Dasse in Auckland and with Alena Kaufman (RUS) and Andrea Thamm (GER) also in the field it promises to be an intriguing clash.
Charlotte Ellis (GBR) is going for an incredible fourth European Championship title in a row in the Tri-6 category. She pipped compatriot Melissa Reid in Eilat last year and the two will go head to head again.
Also in the Tri-6 mix is Susana Rodriguez (ESP). The much-decorated Spaniard is in good form having won in Madrid earlier in the month and she won the Grand Final in Auckland ahead of Reid and Ellis.
But, again, Rodriguez has never tasted victory in a European Championship and along with Edith Dasse will hope to break her duck in Alanya.
In the Male Tri-3 category there is another mouth-watering clash as last year’s podium of Michele Ferrain (ITA), Steven Judge (GBR) and Geoffrey Wersy (FRA) face off again.
Last year in Eilat, it was Ferrain who finished on top and he was victorious in Bescancon last month where he pipped Wersy to victory.
Wersy, who became European Duathlon Champion in Horst earlier this year, has finished third in both previous European Championships in Pontevedra and Eilat – will it be third time lucky? But Britain’s Steven Judge, the 2011 European Champion, has a remarkable record of finishing in the top two of every International race he has competed in.
A podium place beckons for all three but in what order?
In Tri-5, the ETU are delighted to see the return of Austrian Ernst Scheiber to International racing. Scheiber’s last competition was the 2011 European Championships in Pontevedra, a race he won for his third European Championship title in a row.
But he returns to face another Champion in compatriot Martin Falch. Since 2006, Falch has become a 3 time World Duathlon Champion, European Duathlon Champion and European Cross Triathlon Champion.
But his last European Championship title came in Lisbon in 2008. He has finished on the podium every year since with last year’s second place in Eilat his highest finish.
Falch will be hungry to land another European gold medal and it will be interesting to see how Schieber performs after his absence from this stage. Andrea Bozzato (ITA) won in Eilat last year and will defend his title against these two Austrian stars.
With the likes of Francesc Solo-Garcia (ESP) and Jane Egan (GBR) also competing across the classifications, along with a wealth of new names, it once again promises to be a fantastic spectacle for Paratriathlon in Alanya.
To view all the start lists for each category of the 2013 European Championships, click here.
The Paratriathlon European Championships start at 1300, Sunday 16th June.
For live coverage of the 2013 European Championships visit http://www.triathlon.org/live
Find more details about this event - 2013 Alanya ETU Triathlon European Championships