By David Peddie on 31/07/13 at 8:54 am
Just seven weeks after a thrilling ETU European Championships in Alanya, the European triathlon calendar returns to Turkey and the iconic and historic Istanbul for a double bill this weekend.
Having made its debut on the circuit last year, Istanbul will once again host an ITU European Cup alongside an ETU European Junior Cup race for the first time.
Two impressive and competitive fields line up for both races as athletes continue to chase ranking points, as well as titles, as we enter the final few months of the season.
ITU EUROPEAN CUP
In the Elite Women’s race, Yuliya Yelistratova (UKR) comes into the race on the back of her victory in Tartu two weeks ago in the Sprint European Cup. If she can convert her sprint pace into the full Olympic distance discipline, a chance of back to back wins is very much there for the taking.
The Russian trio of Olga Agapova, Alexandra Razarenova and Evgenia Sukhoruchenkova could offer a triple threat to Yelistratova and the field. All three have posted some impressive results in 2013 although littered with inconsistencies, as podium places and top ten finishes mingle with DNFs. But on their day, they are all capable of winning this race.
Agapova has arguably been the most consistent, finishing in the top 20 three times as she makes the step up from Junior competition to Elite level.
Ece Bakici (TUR) will carry the hopes of the home crowd and a top ten finish would be a dream for her and the Turkish Federation.
Margie Santimaria (ITA) and Anna Grzesiak (POL) have improved their results as the season has progressed and if the trend continues they could be in with a shout of a top five or even a podium finish.
Similarly, in the Elite Men’s race, Aurelien Lebrun (FRA) has the chance to record back to back victories following his victory in Geneva two weeks ago. Lebrun also won here in Istanbul last year so has the added incentive of defending his title.
Countrymen Simon Viain and Yohann Vincent will support Lebrun and but are also capable of making their own mark on this race if they remain in contention until the run.
The experienced Vladimir Turbayevskiy (RUS) has arguably been in the form of his life over the last two years but he suffered a disappointing DNF in Tartu last time out and will be desperate to make amends.
Jonas Schomburg (GER) has made a huge impression in what is his debut season racing at Elite International level. Three races have produced three top seven finishes and this could be the podium breakthrough.
ETU EUROPEAN JUNIOR CUP
An intriguing field line up for the first Junior European Cup in Istanbul. The biggest challenge to the European athletes may be the threat of a highly promising group of South African Juniors in Charne Prinsloo, Nicole Brits and Robyn-Leigh Jones, who have a dearth of Junior titles and podium finishes under their collective belts.
From a European perspective, Zsanett Horvath (HUN), won in Brno earlier this year and finished 6th in the European Championships in Alanya so is well placed to lead the European charge here.
Oxana Grot (KAZ) has also two podium positions and a victory in Asian Cup races in 2013 but this is her first European race of the year and it will be interesting to see if she can convert her form.
In the Junior Men’s race, Andrey Moiseenko (RUS) has consistently proven his quality at this level with a podium in each of his last four Junior European Cup races which included one victory (his last outing in Kupiskis in June).
However, he recorded a disappointing DNF in Alanya at the European Championships before a credible 39th place racing as Elite in Palamos. He will start this race as favourite.
In contrast, Russian team-mates Ilya Prasolov and Maxim Subbotin did complete the European Championship in Alanya with Prasolov the most impressive, finishing in 8th. Subbotin was third in the Junior Cup in Antalya earlier this year and this will be a fascinating battle between the three Russians.
Ireland’s Christopher Mintern has had a successful 2013 with two top seven finishes, including a podium in Athlone and if his form continues he should be well placed to challenge for a breakthrough.