An historic occasion in Penza lived up to its billing as a fantastically organised and supported event delivered two great races.
This was the first European event to be staged in Russia and Penza delivered both a European and Junior European Cup.
Conditions were hot, 24 degrees in the water and the outside air temperature constantly above 30 for both days.
Junior Race Review
The Junior men set the tone for the weekend’s competition with an exciting climax to their European Cup race. There was nothing to separate a leading pack of Kosteltsev (RUS), Agapov (RUS), Prasolov (RUS) and Ovcharenko (UKR). These four guys contested much of the race together at the front and the title was anybody’s right up until the final run. Kosteltsev (RUS) stole a march on his rivals and managed to break clear, crossing the line in first place. Agapov and Prasolov maintained the status quo and made it a Russian 1-2-3, but there were only seven seconds separating positions two to four and Prasolov just managed to edge out the Ukrainian for the remaining podium spot.
The Junior womens race was a much more comfortable affair, as Olga Agapova (RUS) secured the title. Agapova was always in contention throughout the swim and bike, hovering amongst the leaders but a strong final run, in which she posted the fastest run time of the day, secured her victory by over thirty seconds. Again, the home crowd celebrated a Russian 1-2-3, as Anastasia Gorbunova and Elena Lokhmanov finished in second and third in what was a much more fragmented and separated field.
Elite Race Review
A dynamic opening swim lap by Nataliya Efremova (RUS) saw her lead the early stages with Shorets (RUS) and Ivanovskaya (RUS) close behind. Pre-race favourite and in-form athlete Yuliya Yelistratova was back in 10th. Efremova couldn’t maintain her early pace and it was Tsyganok, Ivanovskaya and Shorets who exited the water first.
Onto the bikes and the pace was immediately dictated by Anna Boikova (RUS) who gradually built up a lead of almost one minute over the chasing pack of nine athletes. Prystayko was in great form on the bike, having exited the swim last she moved up several places and into contention.
But into the run and it was the power of Sukhoruchenkova and Yelistratova that took them away from the chasers and into the lead. They battled it out stride for stride over the 10km run in very hot conditions before Sukhoruchenkova found another gear and broke away to seal victory. Danilova (RUS) and Erofeeva (RUS) fought hard for the final podium place and eventually Danilova pipped her counterpart by three seconds.
In the Mens Elite, the opening swim lap was dominated by the Russians with Dmitry Polyasnky, Igor Polyanskiy, Brukhankov and Turbayevskiy setting the pace. The top four continued in front as they exited the swim although an error from Dmitry Polyansky in T1 meant he lost a little time in finding his bike. Alexander Brukhankov had the slickest T1 and was well placed for the storming bike section. Onto the bikes and Sapunov (UKR) and Tsepaev (RUS) pushed hard on a breakaway but could not keep away from the monster peloton.
A powerful final run from Brukhankov meant he dominated the closing stages and did enough to secure victory. Behind him was a tense battle for the remaining podium places with Turbaevskiy, Polyansky and Sapunov fighting desperately in the 32c heat to win a medal.
Turbaevskiy managed to finish in second place and in a dramatic twist it was Polyansky who secured the final spot just ahead of the Ukrainian Sapunov.
Related Event: 2011 Penza ITU Triathlon European Cup
|Results: Elite Women|
|Results: Elite Men|