This weekend athletes arrived in Istanbul ready to race but with the Turkish elections imminent and with massive public order pressures on the city authorities, the Police were unable to grant the permit for the race to go ahead. The Turkish Triathlon Federation and the LOC worked around the clock with ETU and ITU to achieve some solution and, at great cost, the LOC moved the race to the Monday morning, covered all additional costs that athletes might face, such as flight changes and accommodation and delivered a Sprint Distance event using the same course.
ETU President, Renato Bertrandi, was involved in the negotiations. “I really want to congratulate the Local Organiser, the Turkish Triathlon Federation and our Technical Delegate, David Garcia for the excellent work that was put in to save the race. The decision to postpone to Monday was the only possible one due to the unexpected circumstances. For sure it created some inconvenience for the athletes and an extra work and unforeseen costs for the LOC but at the end everything was fine.” The race was saved.
The podium for the women was fought out with a flat out race to the line between Anastasia ABROSIMOVA (RUS) and Yulia YELISTRATOVA (UKR). In fact both athletes held the finish tape as they crossed the line and it was down to the Race Referee to make the call on who took gold. Finish times were the same for gold and silver and after consultation it was gold to Abrosimova and silver to Yelistratova. Bronze went to the KAZ athlete Olga YEROFEYEVA.
For Abrosimova the race was “very well organised” and she liked especially the simplicity of the course. Yelistratova said after the race that the last-minute changes didn’t really have much influence on her race. This was to be her fifth race in four weeks and with tiredness in her legs, for her the sprint distance was a blessing in disguise. Julie Nivoix (FRA), who placed 7th, explained that there were a few pushes off the front of the peloton but nobody really seemed to want to take control of the bike leg. Instead the break came on the run with that amazing sprint finish.
In the men’s race gold went to Félix DUCHAMPT (FRA), with a closely fought silver going to Yegor MARTYNENKO (UKR) and bronze to Ron DARMON (ISR).
Duchampt said he was happy to be back in Istanbul, having placed in the top ten there last year. For him the swim was good and he found himself in a big group with all the contenders. The bike, only 20k saw nobody really wanting to use energy. Duchampt set off fast for the run section and soon found himself in a lead group with Ron Darmon and Yegor Martynenko. Using the speed he has developed in track sessions in the USA where he studies, Duchampt tried to break away a few times but could only stay 10 meters in front of the two others. With all the track sessions he was right to feel confident with his running speed and so he just decided to wait for the final sprint. With just 300m to go he upped the speed again and his gamble paid off. It was a very happy Duchampt who took gold. His special thanks went to the Turkish Triathlon Federation who did a great job to help athletes stay focussed and who rebooked flights and accommodation.
For Martynenko it was a tough race. Coming out of the water with a group some way down the pack he had to work all the way on the bike and used much effort to maintain and improve his position. Once out on the run he was able at least to bury the ghost of Kyiv and secure a position in front of the PRT athlete Pedro Palma. Crossing the line to take silver was a good result for him though. “In the run had to contend with strong guys and ultimately 2nd place. I am very glad with that good performance”
For ISR athlete Ron Darmon, the swim was perfect condition and the bike came together pretty quickly so it really came down to the run. “I ran much better than I expected considering the hard trip back from Jiayuguan World Cup. The change to a sprint distance definitely came by surprise but I was happy about it, it made the race a bit more interesting and intense for the crowd and the athletes”.
Many thanks to Baris Barlas and Julie Nivoix for the images