By David Peddie on 25/08/13 at 6:10 pm
Felicity Sheedy-Ryan and Yegor Martynenko took home the honours in the penultimate European Cup of the season in Karlovy Vary.
For Sheedy-Ryan, it was her second European Cup win of the season, the fifth of her career, and a powerful run, the fastest 10k time of the day, saw her overhaul her rivals on the final discipline and claim a comfortable win.
For Martynenko, this is a course he loves and having won here in 2011, he won again to claim his first victory since October 2011 and only his second podium of 2013.
In the Women’s Elite race, the strong Italian swimmers Daniela Chmet and Alessia Orla proved their qualities by setting the early pace in the water and exiting into T1 first.
Aneta Grabmullerova (CZE) and Jolanda Annen (SUI) followed quickly as the field was split into three packs after the swim.
On the bike the athletes had to contend with a technical course, with one section featuring a 21% incline and another featuring a contrasting fast downhill section.
Within three laps, a leading group of 9 women had formed a front pack and they included pre-race favourites Mateja Simic (SLO), Vendula Frintova (CZE) and Paulina Kotfica (POL) aswell as Sheedy-Ryan, Lisa Schanung (ITA) and Romana Slavinec (AUT).
It was then that the spectators were treated to a spectacular running performance from Sheedy-Ryan. She jumped off the duo of Simic and Annen and would not be caught, increasing the gap lap by lap.
Simic had enough in the tank to focus on securing second place which she managed, just ahead of the galloping Charlotte Morel. The Italian made up substantial ground over the four laps, finally passing the unlucky Annen into third on the final lap, her second podium of the year.
In the Elite Men’s race, a wet and windy afternoon greeted the start of this race, and the change in conditions would have a dramatic effect on the race.
Only 39 out of the 67 athletes starting managed to finish the race, with a number of crashes on the testing course.
The conditions put paid to the efforts of Tommy Zafares (USA), who had demonstrated his potential with a powerful swim which saw him exit the water first. ETU Ranking leader Aurelien Lebrun would also fail to finish.
In the end, the athletes who kept their concentration and focus, as well as enjoying a rub of the green, were in contention and it was Martynenko who demonstrated his running strength as he powered through the streets of Karlovy Vary to seal victory.
Stefan Zachaeus (GER) secured his first ITU European Cup podium with second place but behind him the real drama was unfolding as a three way sprint developed for third place.
Italian duo Alberto Casadei and Riccardo de Palma were battling with Jan Celustka (CZE) for that final podium spot and in a pulsating sprint finish it was Casadei who did just enough to win the bronze medal.