The pace was set by a lead group from the very first paces of the first run. Frenchman, Benoit Nicolas was seeking to remind everyone just who was World Champion.
He led the run into T1 in 28:13 with Yohan Le Berre FRA on his shoulder. A pace behind came those who would challenge for the podium; Emilio Martin ESP, Phil Wylie GBR and Alberto Della Pasqua ITA.
T1 done and dusted and it was out onto the bike course. For 8 laps they worked hard together to make distance between them and the chasing athletes but also to test each other and see who would have the strength, speed and determination for the final run. The course was a tough one; either up, or down, with very technical turns and it was Martin who made efforts to break away.
It was Nicolas and Le Berre who led into T2, with Wylie and Martin close behind.
T2 came and went so fast and then it was out to the run. First it was le Berre who dropped off the pace and that left Martin, Wylie and the athlete from Bretagne, Benoit to fight for the podium. In the final stages of the run it was Nicolas who showed his true world class and pushed to take the gold from Martin who was showing signs of fatigue after his earlier attempts to break the pack.
After the race, Martin said, “Silver Medal in the European Champs ! Bitter sweet really – because I was so, so close to winning, but quite sure I will be able to live with it. Big thanks to my friends and family for coming to support me and a big thanks to the spectators who cheered me on. Now it is time to enjoy what I got – the path was not an easy one.” Wylie eased up as he saw Martin pull away and settled for bronze.
For the women the one to beat was the French World Champion, Sandra Levenez. Just like Nicolas she is from Bretagne. Would it be Breton-double? The first run saw Italian athlete, Sara Dossena, lead by a few seconds. Levenez, well-placed, came in just behind her, with Sonia Bejarano raising Spanish hopes.
Powerful cycling from Levenez, Dossena and India Lee GBR in the initial stages saw the British athlete move up from behind the main pack. Once in contact with that group she relaxed for a lap and then pushed hard on one of the hills to break away. Lee said, “There were a lot of GB people there supporting which made a big difference- they made a lot of noise!” Towards the end of the bike Levenz make her move before entering T2.
Dossena and Lee entered T2 together but the Frenchwomen’s final run was at devastating pace.
Soon, Levenez found she had a clear run to the finish tape.
With over three minutes between her and the second athlete this was a lesson from Levenez; a reminder that she is the best! Silver went to the fast-running Dossena whose chances were dashed by a crash and subsequent mechanical problems.
The crash took place in the latter part of the bike when she was with Levenez and when they had more than 4 minutes advantage. After the race and with tears wiped away she said, “Silver medal at the European Duathlon Championships. Silver but with so much sadness because I fell and then mechanical malfunctions made me lose more than two minutes. 10 km from the end of the bike I was with Levenez with more than 4 min of advantage on the group. I would have liked to get, even second, but fighting all the way to the line.”
For the U23 Women it was a race with the Elite as both U23 waves were set off with the Elite. As with the Elite Women, it was an Italian athlete who led the U23 women into T1. Giorgia Priarone was comfortably ahead of Georgina Schwiening GBR, the reigning U23 European Champion. Chloe Cook GBR came in third but slow transitions cut into her lead over Spanish athlete Anna Noguera who was also stronger out on the bike. The final run was dominated by Priaone whose pace was enough to demolish any advantage Schwiening had made out on the bike. The Italian sailed home with a comfortable lead over the Brit, whose hard work out on the bike was enough to keep Noguera back in bronze.
The U23 men’s race was a chance for the young Spaniards to show the home crowd that there was a chance for gold. It was Mario García Moreno ESP who led the run, with Filipe Azevedo POR a clear minute behind. On his shoulder was bronze medal winner from 2014, Jan Petralia BEL. Both were able to cut into that 60-second lead held by the Spaniard with fast transitions and more work out on the bike meant that they were catching up with every lap of the bike. The final run was enough for Azevedo to accelerate and his pace was more than enough for either the Spaniard or the Brit to better. He came home comfortably to take the title. Spanish cheers were loud when Malaga athlete Garcia crossed for the silver and Belgian cheers were loud for Petralia and his bronze.
In both races we saw some great pace from the medal winners. Elite athletes will have to watch out.
Big thanks to Yeray Menéndez for the photos.
Related Event: 2015 Alcobendas ETU Sprint and Standard Distance Duathlon European Championships
|Results: 16-19 Female AG Sprint|
|4.||Irene Serrat Seoane||ESP||01:14:53|
|Results: 16-19 Male AG Sprint|
|10.||Arturo Chueca Esteruelas||ESP||01:04:31|
|Results: 18-19 Male AG|
|Results: 20-24 Female AG Sprint|
|1.||Natalia Fischer Egusquiza||ESP||01:07:46|
|2.||Lidia Duran Cabanillas||ESP||01:10:03|
|5.||Mª Leonor Fernandez Velez||ESP||01:23:47|
|Results: 20-24 Male AG|
|2.||Francisco Cendan Llorens||ESP||02:04:03|
|5.||Carlos Leon Castaño||ESP||02:10:15|
|6.||Pablo Marcos Pazos||ESP||02:11:37|
|7.||Javier Garcia Lopez||ESP||02:11:44|
|8.||Vicente Agusti Valls||ESP||02:12:28|
|9.||Marcelo Mochon Puertas||ESP||02:13:38|
|10.||Javier Cabrejas Bascuñan||ESP||02:17:46|