By David Peddie on 20/07/14 at 6:52 am
by Paul Groves
If you are planning to race the ETU European Championships in 2015, then the Geneva ETU Triathlon European Cup, sponsored by “Gaz Natural” is your race this weekend. The Elite and Juniors will be battling it out over the new and improved course with both standard and sprint distances in this, the 26th year of racing triathlon in Geneva and in this, the test event for the 2015 Championships.
The re-designed finish is on Quai du Mont-Blanc with the famous Jet d’Eau as a back-drop but the bike course retains its challenges as it climbs from the shores of the lake high into the hills, past the US Embassy and the Palace of Nations before dropping in spectacular manner back to the shore. Described as “six laps of ouch” by the previous women’s winner, this is a tough, tough bike course that will really push the athletes. This is the only public event that gets the streets closed in Geneva and the whole weekend will be a festival of triathlon with the LOC providing not only racing for the Elite and Juniors but also Age Group competitions, relays and a kids event.
Coming back to defend her title in the Women’s race, featuring 12 nations, is the Australian athlete Felicity Sheedy-Ryan. She has raced and won here now in 2011 and 2013 and will be hoping to claim a third victory. She will be up against the US athlete Lindsey Jerdonek whose last podium was in 2011 but who has been racing consistently this year with a fine 14th place in the superfast Hamburg sprint last weekend. Ranked 3rd for this race is France’s Charlotte Morel, who has previously taken bronze in Geneva and is on the road to recovery after a fall from her bike during a long distance race earlier this month. Also on the start line is the winner of the recent Kyiv ETU Triathlon European Cup, Lisa Sieburger from Germany.
The Elite Men see the return of last year’s winner from France, Aurélien Lebrun. He will be up against Sven Riederer, the local hero and 2011 winner, GB’s Matt Sharp. Riederer and Sharp both raced at Hamburg and showed amazing pace over the sprint distance. Previous European Champion, France’s Fred Belaubre will be on the start line along with the Australian athlete Jacob Birtwhistle, who took the Junior Men’s world duathlon title in Pontevedra. If his swim times are good then he must surely pose a threat with his cycling strength. 18 nationalities will provide 66 men and this is going to be a tremendous race for the podium.
The Junior Women have a massive 53 on the start line with top ranking going to Italy’s Angelica Olmo, the Junior World Duathlon Champion who has also shown consistent top-ten placings in Kitzbühel and Quarteira. Belgium’s Amber Rombaut has shown strong performances in Holten, Weert and Vierzon and Jeanine Kocken, from the Netherlands, with a bronze in Kupiscis will be racing the winner of that race, Ukraine’s Sofiya Pryma for the fight for the podium.
The Junior Men’s race will see one of the biggest start lists of the year with 76 signed up. Highest ranked with two silver medals already this year, taken in Holten and Brno, is Austria’s Lukas Pertl. He is up against the Hungarian athlete Bence Bicsák who took gold in Holten, so we could see some payback. Jonathan Wayaffe from Belgium has been a top-ten finisher in his last four races and this consistency cannot be ignored. Alongside these top three athletes are those who have raced the ETU Junior events and so the strengths and weaknesses will be well known amongst these rising stars.
The racing kicks off on this triathlon weekend on the Saturday at 10h30 for the Junior Women and 12h30 for the Junior Men. Sunday will see the Elite race, with a 12h30 start for the women and a 15h30 start for the men. Results, race report and photos can be found on this website.
Find more details about this event - 2014 Geneva ETU Triathlon European Cup