ETU Powerman comes back to Denmark
This weekend sees the sporting focus for many hundreds of athletes move to Vejle in Denmark and the 2018 Vejle ETU Powerman Middle Distance Duathlon European Championships. Athletes from 16 European nations and a visiting athlete from the Philippines will race the 10k / 60k / 10k course and do battle for medals and, for the Pro athletes, for a share of the €10,000 prize-money.
ETU and Powerman have worked long and hard to ensure that the best courses are on offer and with athletes following the Powerman World Series coming together once more to race against each other, the Elite / Pro race is going to be thrilling. For many, this will be a stepping stone to that ultimate test for any duathlete, Zofingen.
Last year saw the battle take place in Sankt Wendel The course was “Mega schön!” according to multiple world and European champion, Emma Pooley GBR. She won the race by a country mile but is not back this year to defend her title.
So, amongst the elite women, who is likely to feature at the front end of the race?
The clear favourite this year, wearing #31, from the Netherlands, is Miriam van Reijen NED.
She is ranked #1 in the International Powerman Rankings and has had solid results over recent years. 5th at the 2016 Copenhagen ETU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon European Championships, 5th at the 2016 Zofingen ITU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships, 5th last year at the 2017 Sankt Wendel ETU Powerman Middle Distance Duathlon European Championships, silver medal-winner at the 2017 Zofingen ITU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships, silver medal-winner at the 2018 Putrajaya ASTC Powerman Middle Distance Duathlon Asian Championships. She will be facing stiff competition from Germany’s Katrin Esefeld who has 6 top ten finishes at Zofingen, her best result was bronze last year. With a 7th at the 2016 Copenhagen ETU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon European Championships and once again 7th at the 2017 Sankt Wendel ETU Powerman Middle Distance Duathlon European Championships, she is currently 3rd in the International Powerman Rankings. Bronze medal-winner from last year in Sankt Wendel, is Austria’s Sandrina Illes. She went on to place 5th at the 2017 Penticton ITU Duathlon World Championships and holds the Austrian national duathlon champion title for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Currently 11th equal in the International Powerman Rankings she might have a fight on her hands with our visiting athlete from the Philippines, Monica Torres. Although not entitled to an ETU medal, she can nevertheless improve on her ranking and could go home with some prize-money from her first appearance at an ETU / ITU race in Europe. As winner of the silver medal at the 2017 Putrajaya ASTC Powerman Middle Distance Duathlon Asian Championships and then bronze medal there in 2018, she is currently 11th equal in the International Powerman Rankings. Denmark will be pinning its hopes on a good race and lots of crowd support for Marie Schulz, the 2017 Danish Sprint Duathlon National Champion.
Amongst the men, the 2017 defending champion, Felix Köhler GER will be back.
With a fantastic performance he won Age Group gold at the 2015 Zofingen ITU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships and then came back in 2016 to take the Elite silver medal. His victory last year in Sankt Wendel and racing since then has placed him 4th in the International Powerman Rankings but he is up against a tough opponent and one who will be cheered all around the course. From Denmark and wearing #1, will be the race favourite, from Denmark, silver medal-winner in Sankt Wendel in 2017, he has won bronze in Zofingen on 5 occasions and is currently 2nd in the International Powerman Rankings, Søren Bystrup.
Fresh from racing Texas Ironman, with a finish time of 8:30:07, comes Belgium’s Seppe Odeyn. ETU AG winner in Horst in 2013, 4th in Zofingen in 2014 as an Elite athlete, 2nd there in 2015, silver medal-winner at the 2016 Copenhagen ETU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon European Championships, World Champion in 2016 in Zofingen, 4th in Sankt Wendel last year, 2nd in Zofingen in 2017 and currently ranked 1st in the International Powerman Rankings, it will be interesting to see how his post-IM recovery has gone.
Watch out too for Thomas Bruins from the Netherlands. 8th at the 2016 Copenhagen ETU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon European Championships, 7th in Zofingen that year, winner of the gold medal in 2017 and 2018 at the Putrajaya ASTC Powerman Middle Distance Duathlon Asian Championships and currently 3rd in the International Powerman Rankings. Switzerland is fielding two elite athletes in the men’s race; Fabian Zehnder placed 5th in Sankt Wendel last year, 9th in Zofingen in 2017 and is currently 6th in the International Powerman Rankings and Marc Widmer. Widmer’s three top-ten finishes in Zofingen and 10th at Sankt Wendel last year suggests that the Bystrup will have to work hard.
But it’s not just about the Elite. There will be a huge contingent of Age Group athletes making their way to Denmark for these Championships. Once there, they will be able to visit the expo, and make some great deals! The LOC will be marketing and promoting products from Hoka, Felt, SIS, Catlike, Trigger Point, Pulsure.dk, CEP, Proviz, Miisport, Sportspharma and EVOC and the Expo will be open both Saturday and Sunday.
For many athletes, they will already have checked out all available sources to find out what they can about various aspects of the race.
Check out the bike course by clicking this photo.
Denmark is of course sending a massive team (just under 80 athletes) but does that necessarily mean the will have the biggest medal success? Well, we have seen that in the past, Danish athletes do perform very well at major championships held in their country. A real shame that those same athletes do not travel as much as the Brits, who will be bringing, as usual, a big team. Slightly outnumbered this year, with only 72, they nevertheless will put up some stiff competition against the host nation. Next biggest team will be from Denmark’s southern neighbours. Team Deutschland brings just over 20 athletes.
The youngest category sees Denmark’s Anne Johansen, born 1999 step up to the Run / Bike / Run test. In order to prove that she is “tough enough” she has to finish the race to secure the title in her age group. At the other end of the scale, in the 65-69 category, we see Bonnie Ridderberg also from Denmark and with a silver medal from the 2017 Herning ETU Challenge Middle Distance Triathlon European Championships. Her biking strength was very evident at that race and without the swim, she can expect an impressive result in Vejle with the home crowds supporting her all the way.
The men have two athletes racing in the 75-79 category. Born in 1941 and 1943, José Molero-Membrilla and Heinz Bauer are both German and last year both won silver at the 2017 Sankt Wendel ETU Powerman Middle Distance Duathlon European Championships. With Bauer moving up an age group and having posted a faster time last year, he certainly has the advantage over the older Molero-Membrilla.
Watch out for GB’s Liam Walker in the 25-29 category. A bronze in Zofingen last year shows he has the power and stamina to go long. He will face stiff competition from Belgium’s Jonas Vandevyvere who beat him to silver by just over 20 minutes, having used his superior bike power to create a gap after the first 10k.
In the women’s 30-34 category, Team GB’s Flora Colledge comes to Vejle as World Champion, following her Zofingen victory. Medal chances in this category will be shared between Danish and British athletes.
In the same age-group for the men, GB’s Daniel Geisler, who won silver at the 2017 Penticton ITU Duathlon World Championships will face Thomas Lindsten who placed 5th in 2016 at Copenhagen. Belgium’s Chris Bessemans placed 7th in Sankt Wendel last year but Danny Blase GER, with a 2014 5th place in Zofingen and a 4th place in Copenhagen might be the one to test them all.
Keep an eye on 35-39 AG Louise Beasley GBR. Her powerful run at the end of the bike in Almere last year saw her stamp her authority on the race and come away with the European title. Teammate Jessica Harvey won silver in Soria over the standard distance and Chiin Hooi Tan DEN, will be hoping to put aside the ghosts of Herning that gave her a DNF last year after she had taken bronze in Copenhagen.
In the men’s category, Bert Wouters BEL had a 4th in Sankt Wendel and a bronze in Zofingen last year. He stands out as being the favourite but Denmark is fielding a former elite athlete, Jens Grønbek who might just upset things. He will be supported as much as the 2017 Herning champion, Mikkel Rosendal Larsen DEN but Switzerland’s Stefan Marty, with a 2016 Zofingen bronze and a 5th place in Sankt Wendel last year will be a main challenger to them all.
In the women’s 40-44 category, Danish hopes will rest upon the 2015 world champion, Kristina Beckendorf. Her win in Motala was done with a powerful final run. That title came the same year as her silver in Rimini, where her swim let her down and where once again, her powerful running gave her the advantage. This will be a tough age-group, especially as Maria Buchvoll DEN is racing and will surely be hoping to improve on her 2017 bronze in Sankt Wendel. Great Britain will be watching Joanne Clark, whose back to back silvers in Alcobendas and then Kalkar, failed to deliver in Aviles but who has pace over this shorter distance. She, with Jo Billings, who made the podium with a bronze in Aviles, a silver in Soria and a silver in Penticton, will be up against Gaynor Watts who managed top ten results in Sankt Wendel and Zofingen last year and who has bene putting in huge mileages in her build up for Zofingen this year.
For the men, there are some real long-distance experts. With Thomas Gogolin GER who won bronze in Sankt Wendel last year, there will be a tight race alongside teammate Torsten Wambold who posted a 4th place and then a bronze in Zofingen in 2016 and then 2017. Both of them will be watching Belgium’s Wim de Coene, who came 4th last year in Sankt Wendel and then took silver in Zofingen. This age-group could well give us the tightest finish.
Kirsty Prior GBR, in the 45-49 category, only just missed the podium last year in Sankt Wendel after suffering on the final run. She then went to Zofingen and again got 4th, again suffering on the final run. Her strength has been seen though, with a gold off-road at the 2017 Târgu Mureș ETU Cross Duathlon European Championships to add to her 2015 Castro-Urdiales gold and 2016 bronzes at Târgu Mureș and Kalkar. Beate Pelani GER is one to watch though. Back to international racing, she had top 5 finishes in 2013 and 2014 at Zofingen and Horst.
The men’s race might well see a Danish clean sweep. Steen Jespersen took the ETU title in Horst and the ITU title in Zofingen in 2015. The world title was his again in 2016 and losing out on the bike in 2017, he had to settle for silver. Pelle Grønberg holds a selection of ETU titles as a triathlete, with victories in Lisbon, Kitzbühel and Düsseldorf. He claimed silvers at the Lisbon sprint and at the Rotterdam standard distance and will be looking to use his bike and run power to secure a podium place this weekend. Søren Kirketofte came home from Kalkar with silver and celebrated with a bronze in Copenhagen in 2016 and between them, these athletes look strong but there could be challenges from German and British athletes who are familiar with the longer distances.
We are all looking forwards to seeing the next category race. GB’s Gill Fullen has the enviable stats of 11 starts, 11 podiums and 9 wins. We missed her last year in Sankt Wendel but off she went to Penticton and smashed the opposition. Her victory there was in the same style as in Aviles and Copenhagen. Adelaide was a bit tight and in Pontevedra she had to settle for silver. A multiple world and European champion, she had a terrible time battling against cancer. You can read the full interview here. She came back at the end of 2017 and stamped her authority once again on the world with an 8-minute winning margin, posting the fastest splits for each segment. Denmark’s Carol Rasmussen will be hoping to keep Fullen in sight and to add a European duathlon medal to her collection of world and European medals for triathlon racing.
The men’s wave is huge and features 15 Danes who will be doing their best to occupy as many podium places as possible.
Leading that rush to the top of the podium will be Jens Oluf Eriksen. Gold in Copenhagen in 2016 was followed by back to back golds in Zofingen in 2016 and 2017. With him will be Lars Brix who placed 7th in Zofingen in 2015 and 6th in 2016. Poul Thomsen made the bronze in Zofingen in 2015 and then took top ten places for Denmark in 2016 there and in 2017 in Sankt Wendel. He was beaten by GB’s Nick Mansley, who placed 5th last year a few steps ahead of fellow Brit, Bryan Vaughan.
55-59 will see GB in with a chance of a gold. Boo Smith had the edge over Denmark’s Kirsten Mørch who has shown herself to be much stronger over the full and immensely testing Zofingen course. Smith’s supreme power on the bike and then the final leg-crunching run took her over ten minutes clear of the Dane, who will be crossing her fingers for the home advantage. Rosemary Todhunter placed 6th last year in Sankt Wendel just ahead of Arana Davies and we can expect these two British athlete to push hard for any available medals.
Peter Hollins GBR will be looking to improve his 4th place year. He certainly has the pace to kick if it comes down to a sprint. Dr Dean (Dean Hardie) will also be looking to improve on his 5th place last year. His highest placing has been 5th and if her were a superstitious man, based upon his 5th in Copenhagen, he might well think about another 5th in Denmark. One to watch will be Swiss athlete, Aeneas Appius. Gold in Kalkar, silver in Copenhagen and then gold and silver in Penticton. He has great pace off the bike. Once again, it is a Belgian athlete who might upset everything. Jan Cappaert really has the stamina and has shown that with a 4th place in Zofingen, 8th last year in Sankt Wendel and a 4th in 2015 in Horst.
For Denmark, their hopes will be pinned upon Vibeke Hansen. She was absent last year in Sankt Wendel but had previously taken the title in 2016 in Copenhagen and then in Herning. She will face the defending champion, Elly Visser NED and GB’s Irene Peaty should round off the podium.
Ole Loumann DEN looks favourite for the men’s 60-64 category. As reigning champion from Soria and Herning, he knows what he needs to do.
Anyone racing against Mick Anglim will need to accept that in order to beat him, you have to push until it hurts. His victory last year in Sankt Wendel was massive. He added that title to the one he won in Soria. Out in Canada, he lost out and had to return across the Atlantic with a silver and bronze but over this distance, it has to be his race. Svend-Erik Andersen will be the local interest and his silver in Copenhagen back in 2016 might well be matched this weekend.
So, with so many top-class athletes we can expect some great racing. The weather forecast looks not too shabby and we know that under Ronny Kert the LOC will deliver a great event.
We are hoping to get an update about live-timing and as soon as we get that, the links will be posted to the ETU pages.
Safe travels everyone. See you there. And don’t forget to say hello to GB’s Richard Wakeford, who was featured last week.
Related Event: 2018 Vejle ETU Powerman Middle Distance Duathlon European Championships
|Results: Elite Men|
|3.||Simon Jørn Hansen||DEN||02:43:49|
|5.||Daan De Groot||NED||02:44:57|
|10.||Nicholas Ward Munoz||DEN||02:47:47|
|Results: Elite Women|
|3.||Marina Van Dijk||NED||03:09:17|
|Results: 25-29 Male AG|
|5.||Mikkel Toke Bendix Poulsen||DEN||03:00:27|