ETU Long Distance Championships, Tampere
One of the most prestigious events in the ETU calendar takes place in Tampere this weekend and it is not a challenge for the faint-hearted.
The ETU Long Distance Championships cover a total distance of 154km over the three normal disciplines and when compared to the standard Olympic distance of 51.5km it is quite a significant step up.
This is the first time these Championships have been held in Tampere, and indeed Finland. Some of the athletes in the Elite fields are racing Long Distance for the first time and others come with experience.
In the Men’s Elite, home athlete Jarno Hast finished 7th in last year’s Long Distance Championships in Vitoria-Gasteiz. Massimo Cigana (ITA) posted a podium in Prague in the 2009 Long Distance event. Richard Callo-Martinez (ESP) was sixth on Spanish soil last time out and whether he can repeat that in the Finnish climate is a tough ask.
In the Womens Elite, there will be relief amongst the field as 2009 and 2010 double champion Virginia Berasategi is not involved. Kristin Lie (DEN) was prolific towards the end of 2010 and into this year, with two second place finishes in her previous two World Championship series races in Ibiza and Weihei. Eva Ledesma (ESP) finished a minute outside the podium in 2010 and in Long Distance terms, that’s a fairly close run time. She will look to go one better here.
European Cup, Karlovy Vary
Karlovy Vary once again hosts a European Cup race. The Czech City is becoming a regular destination on the International Triathlon calendar and fittingly features a host of top athletes in the field.
Top two in the current ETU rankings, Danylo Sapunov (UKR) and Yulian Malyshev (RUS) will go head to head here. Etienne Diemunsch (FRA) matched Javier Gomez for the majority of the race in Banyoles before eventually succumbing to the World Champion and settling for second place. Alberto Casadei was delighted to make his first International podium in Geneva and will hope that breakthrough will lead to many more.
There are some big names lining up in the Womens race. Helle Frederiksen (DEN) will be determined to complete the race following a couple of DNF’s in the ITU World Championship series. Radka Vodickova (CZE) has finished on the podium in six International races so far in 2011, testament to her consistency and talent. Yuliya Yelistratova (UKR) and Agnieszka Jerzyk (POL) will be contenders here.