By David Peddie on 02/05/14 at 4:24 pm
The 2014 ETU European Cup season continues in earnest this weekend with the second race in Antalya, Turkey.
Now in its fifth consecutive year, Antalya is building a reputation as one of the most popular races on the circuit. A full quota of 75 male athletes from 19 different countries will line up on the start line and with 52 women from 14 different countries also competing it promises to be an exciting race.
Arina Shulgina (RUS) returns again this year to defend her title she won 12 months ago. She is part of a strong Russian contingent, including Alexandra Razarenova, Olga Agapova, Irina Abysova and Elena Danilova.
All but Abysova have won previous European Cups and know what it takes to win gold, with Razarenova a winner on Turkish soil last year at Istanbul. However, Shulgina is in good form so far this year with victory at Buffalo City in the ATU African Cup in March.
Ece Bakici (TUR) will fly the flag for the home fans and he has made steady progress on the International scene over the last few years, culminating in her first top 15 finish in Istanbul last year.
Vladimir Turbayevskiy (RUS) also returns to defend his title from 2013. This was his second European Cup victory and his fifth continental cup victory in 18 months, a real purple patch for the experienced athlete.
The French have a fantastic record in Antalya with two wins in four years and their prospects this time around lie with Dorian Coninx.
The 2013 World Junior Champion and European Junior Champion began his elite career with a DNF in Quarteira last month but big things are expected of Coninx and he possesses enough talent to suggest that was merely a blip.
Raphael Montoya is another young Frenchman who achieved great success as a Junior athlete and is likely to challenge, as is Yegor Martynenko (UKR) and Alexander Bruykhankov (RUS), who can win any race on their day.
Reigning European Cross Triathlon Champion Jan Celustka (CZE) is also on the start line for the Elite Men.
Sunday, 4th May 2014
Elite Women Start List, 1030 start local time (EEST)
Elite Men Start List, 1400 start local time (EEST)