With the La Fédération Française de Triathlon ensuring that its best athletes were on the start line, it was always going to be a noisy night in Liévin, as the partisan crowds cheered on their athletes. The atmosphere in the stadium was simply amazing, with the speaker, Eric Cattiaux (famous for his finish-line interview with David Hauss in Geneva) moving effortlessly from French to his perfect English and keeping the spectators up to date with every move on the field of play. Up in the Gods, it was a live commentary team, including David Hauss, who delivered an enthusiastic running commentary for the events.
As far as a legacy is concerned, Liévin has provided a foundation in Northern France for an early-season triathlon and multisport festival for all ages and all abilities. The cost of hiring the stadium must have been immense but they made full use of the venue, with events running back to back and with any available gaps in the racing being filled with live acts, music and interviews. In total, it was an astonishing 2,800 athletes who were able to swim in the pool and use the facilities during the festival. For a short video recap, just click here.
Multiple cameras captured the races and for those who were not there, they will by now be wondering, “why didn’t I ask to race?”
At the end of the day, with thousands of viewers following the live-feed and with the spectators who were lucky enough to get to the stadium shouting and cheering, it was a close victory for Nina Eim GER, who had just enough power to edge ahead of the race favourite, Sandra Dodet. Russia’s Valentina Riasova claimed the bronze medal in a series of races that left running shoe sponsors out of the picture as athletes chose to run barefoot on the clean and safe surface of the “tartan” track.
With qualifying races, repêchage and then the A and B Finals, each athlete had to find the best way to recover from their burst of excitement that pushed them into the red for less than 13 mins and less than 12 mins for the female podium athletes.
The Men’s race was equally tight but with Great Britain’s Chris Perham stealing the show with amazing pace off the bike to ensure his road to victory was an easy one. Nobody could match his barefoot pace and his was an easy victory. With the crowds screaming at top volume, they did their best to get European Champion, Pierre Le Corre into the silver medal position but it was a lightning-fast T2 for Csongor Lehman HUN, reigning World Junior Champion, who could not be beaten by the Frenchman.
With so many cameras and with the very tight course, it was inevitable that there would be some spectacular incidents.
The finish of the Men’s Semi-Final was one where we really got to see the Flying Dutchmen, as Marco van der Stel and Youri Keulen lunged for the line. It was an “Old Bull; Young Bull moment”, with the older van der Stel stealing a place in the final from Keulen but it was Keulen who went on to win the B Final and to give probably the best finish interview of the decade. Check the video from about 3:19 onwards and see just what pure, unbridled emotion looks like. The women’s B Final was won by Julie Iemmolo FRA, giving the French crowds something to cheer about.
The Junior Athletes also featured, racing alongside the Elite and in some cases, delivering very impressive times. For the women, it was a solid victory for Alžběta Hrušková CZE, with silver and bronze going to Spain and their new athletes, Elsa Pena Vicente and Nerea García Busto.
For the Junior Men, there was added delight for the Czech coaches, when Radim Grebík showed a clean pair of heels to take gold ahead of Highgate Harrier, Abel Sinko-Uribe HUN and Spain’s YOG athlete, Igor Bellido Mikhailova.
A thrilling opening to the year?
Without any doubt but only achieved thanks to the dedication of a small army of volunteers. For Thierry Everaerdt, “Superbe et à refaire, un athlète m’a dit ce matin qu’il vivait pour des événements comme celui ci ...Génial quoi ...quelle intensité … Superb and has to be repeated. An athlete said to me this morning that he lived for events such as this. Great, eh! So intense!”
So a big thanks to the team and if you want a look behind the scenes, just click here and see the album (including the typical cuisine of the region). 150 volunteers.
The athletes, coaches and spectators enjoyed the races, but what did the senior management of ETU and ITU think?
For Renato Bertrandi, ETU President, “When the concept was presented to ETU I immediately thought back to the spectacular races in Bordeaux in 1993 and Bercy in 1994. This event, this presentation, this spectacular delivery from Liévin gave us not only a thrilling early-season start to the ETU Cup season but a format for the future. Well done. We want to see this event stay on the calendar.”
For Marisol Casado, ITU President and IOC Member, “So proud of being part of such an incredible and innovative team! Amazing and thrilling event the Lievin Indoor European Cup!”
Once the data has all been thoroughly checked, the rankings will be updated. Keep checking this page for the positions of your athletes.
Great thanks to Activ’images photos et vidéos for their images and videos – you guys certainly provide the “WOW” for the race.
Related Event: 2019 Lievin ETU Indoor Triathlon European Cup
|Results: Rankings Only Male|
|3.||Pierre Le Corre||FRA||00:10:13|
|5.||Tim Van Hemel||BEL||00:10:18|
|8.||Antonio Benito Lopez||ESP||00:10:22|
|9.||Marco Van Der Stel||NED||00:10:24|
|Results: Rankings Only Female|
|Results: Qualifier 1 Elite Men|
|1.||Tim Van Hemel||BEL||00:10:39|
|2.||Pierre Le Corre||FRA||00:10:39|
|8.||Sam Vanderjeugt Rojas||CRC||00:11:48|
|10.||Enric Joan Tejedor||ESP||00:16:23|
|Results: Qualifier 2 Elite Men|
|3.||Roberto Sanchez Mantecon||ESP||00:10:46|
|7.||Lars Van Der Knaap||NED||00:11:01|
|Results: Qualifier 3 Elite Men|
|1.||Marco Van Der Stel||NED||00:10:34|
|2.||Igor Bellido Mikhailova||ESP||00:10:34|
|Results: Qualifier 4 Elite Men|
|8.||Jesús Jimenez Gimeno||ESP||00:11:05|