We pretty much predicted that US athlete, Summer Cook would be the one to watch and she treated us to a fine display of racing with the race tempo being set from the very stay.
Cook led the swim, accompanied by Brazil’s Vittoria Lopes. The pair had a small but important lead of about 20 seconds as they set off for the technical and testing bike course.
Coming into T2 with the race pretty much sewn up, Cook was able to ease up a little on the run and enjoy the scenery as she cruised to victory with over a minute (1:22) margin to the next athlete. Gold to USA but the battle for the Mediterranean title was still being fought amongst the Spanish and Italian athletes.
Of the two remaining medal chances, it looked pretty safe that these would be shared between Spain and Italy, with Inés Santiago ESP and Ilaria Zane ITA doing her best to catch her. Santiago’s run power was just too much for Zane and it was silver to Spain and bronze to Italy but the final spot for the Mediterranean medals was still up for grabs and it was Cecilia Santamaria Surroca who had done enough earlier in the race to ensure a bronze.
After the race, Cook shared her delight at winning, “Happy to take the win yesterday at the Altafulla European Cup. Altafulla was an easy two hour drive from where I’ve been training in Banyoles, and provided a good challenge headed into the second half of my season. I don’t remember the last time I didn’t get on a plane and change time zones for a race so this was an excellent treat! The biggest treat of all was having Ian (Ian O’Brien) at the race to help with logistics and cheer on the hardest part of the climb in the race. I broke away in the water with @vittorialopes and we worked hard together to keep the gap on the hilly bike course. Yesterday was a really good opportunity for me to work to continue to improve my bike in a race setting and I feel like I took advantage of the opportunity. Congrats to @inesantiagoo and @ilariazane for rounding out the podium. My next race is #wtshamburg in a little under two weeks!”
With a suggestion that Altafulla could well be the golden opportunity for Spain’s Uxío Abuín Ares to win and to show that he has recovered from the injury of 2016, it was a delight to see that he commanded the race and delivered a win.
He had to work for the victory and it was an initial lead from Alec Wilimovsky USA that hinted a double US gold might be on the cards for the weekend. But behind the American was a whole army of Spanish athletes and Abuín was sensibly placed in the front of that group.
The pack riding was impressive and along the tight, technical and hilly course, it was impossible to say who would have the legs to kick over the final 5k.
Coming into T2 and there was a mass of athletes; each and every one of them hoping and praying that the picked up no penalties. Wilimovsky soon dropped off the pace and left the door open to the power of the Spanish athletes. There was no question here of a non-European win as Abuín, Antonio Benito, Jordi García Gracia, Roberto Sánchez Mantecón, Swiss athlete Sylvain Fridelance and Israel’s Ran Sagiv all pushed over the final kilometres.
Abuín stayed carefully on the shoulders of Sánchez, with García and Fridelance just a pace behind. Benito eyed them from further down the pack but produced a fantastic run to put himself in medal contention.
It went all the way down to the finish tape but Abuín had the power and determination to hold on and grab the tape ahead of the fast-finishing Benito. García went home with bronze and Fridelance had just done enough to keep ahead of the faster running Sagiv.
So, Mediterranean titles for Spain in both the men’s and women’s championships and a fine collection of points for the athletes chasing the ETU Rankings.
Many thanks to Joan Domenech and Alicia García who provided the photos.
Related Event: 2017 Altafulla ETU Triathlon European Cup and Mediterranean Championships
|Results: Elite Men|
|1.||Uxio Abuin Ares||ESP||00:57:43|
|2.||Antonio Benito Lopez||ESP||00:57:45|
|3.||Jordi García Gracia||ESP||00:57:51|
|4.||Roberto Sanchez Mantecon||ESP||00:57:53|
|8.||Massimo De Ponti||ITA||00:58:13|
|Results: Elite Women|
|4.||Cecilia Santamaria Surroca||ESP||01:05:51|
|7.||Ana Mariblanca Juanas||ESP||01:06:35|
|9.||Laura Gomez Ramon||ESP||01:06:57|