By Paul Groves on 08/10/17 at 11:14 am
With a slight cloud cover in the early stages of the race, the athletes had some respite from the sunshine that arrived mid-way through the Junior Men’s race.
All checked-in and ready to go at 09:00, the Junior women launched themselves at the sea from the beach start.
With the first 60m of shallow beach, the water kicked up spectacularly and then suddenly, it was deep enough to swim. A one-lap 750m swim did not give us the expected breakaway for Austria’s Therese Feuersinger. She led them out but was not alone. Could Dorka Putnóczki HUN and Roksana Słupek stay with her?
They were just a metre apart as they left the water for the run up to T1. Italy’s Beatrice Mallozzi was safely in contact with the leaders but within a few minutes, Feuersinger had broken loose from the pack and was building up her lead.
The pack worked well together and it was there, pretty much that the remaining medals were decided as the Austrian athlete pulled further and further away.
A massive lead had been created as she entered T2 meant that she would be able to ease up a bit on the run but not too much.
Feuersinger crossed the line to take the gold and the all-important points for her Federation.
Behind her, Mallozzi was running with the wind and had broken away to make hers the silver medal. At one point it looked like it would be both Mallozzi and Carlotta Missaglia on the podium but a powerful kick at the start of the final lap saw Russia’s Valentina Riasova break away and run comfortably into the bronze position.
The Junior Men started their race as the sun started to burn off the early morning clouds and by the time they had finished, it was scorchio! The crowds had made their way down to the beach for the always impressive beach start and tension could be felt as you watched the young men line up, run down to the blue carpet, select their position and then, as the heartbeats boomed out, focus on their race.
A mass of spray enveloped the athletes at they hit the water running. The one-lap swim did not create a significant break-away and the honour of leading them into T1 went to Italy’s Alessio Crociani. A pace behind was race favourite, Csongor Lehman with teammate, Levente Karai and Belgium’s Simon Folens alongside.
To the delight of the local crowds, there was a strong Spanish presence in the leading peloton as the cycle segment developed. Javier Romo Oliver worked well alongside the bronze medal winner from this year’s Istanbul race, Carlos Oliver Vives and Ander Noain Lacamara. Italy’s Azzurri uniform was there as well with Mirko Lazzaretto.
Behind them was a powerful group of riders who were doing everything they could to catch up. Grigory Antipov led the group of about 15 around the technical but mostly flat course but was unable to bridge the gap.
As the leading athletes sped out of T2 it was Lehman, Folens and Lazzaretto. The Hungarian was well-placed but would we see an Italian on the podium as we did earlier with the Junior Women?
Within the first 400m Folens had been caught by Romo and as the chasing pack set off, Sergiy Polikarpenko ITA, son of the great Ukrainian athlete, had got himself into a commanding position but some way back from the leading athletes. In the initial stages of the run, Antipov seemed to have missed the chance for a top five finish. In front of him were the athletes from the lead group and he had been swallowed up by the pack.
Lehman broke free and with a stunning 15:59 for the run, added a Melilla gold to his great collection of medals in 2017. Spain was rightly proud to have Romo take the silver but having run through the pack in style, it was Polikarpenko who rounded off the podium. A spectacular finish for the Juniors after a long and eventful season. Some races in the rain, some in incredible heat. Today was pretty much perfect.
The ITU calculators will be working at full-power to determine which of the Federations will occupy the top three positions in the ETU Nation Rankings. We will get you an update as soon as we can.
|2.||Javier Romo Oliver||ESP||00:57:22|
|4.||Carlos Oliver Vives||ESP||00:57:58|
|10.||Sergio Baxter Cabrera||ESP||00:58:41|
|5.||Ana Carvajal Herrera||ESP||01:07:04|
|10.||Sharon Belén García||ESP||01:08:07|
Find more details about this event - 2017 Melilla ETU Triathlon Junior European Cup