With the weather gods trying their best to wreck the show, the start of the week was not the easiest for the organisers and technical officials in Ibiza. Raging winds destroyed the transition area and the teams worked through the night to rebuild and relocate the transition area and to rescue what they could for the hundreds of athletes who were on the start list.
Day one saw the focus on Santa Eulalia and the Sprint Distance Duathlon for Age-Group, Junior and Para athletes and the Elite and U23 over the standard distance.
Despite numerous problems and challenges, the feedback from most was positive but lessons were clearly learned and there will be some deep soul-searching in certain areas. Enough has already been said about the weaknesses and so here, we will focus on the positives.
For the Elite it was Masterclass session “par excellence” from the French duo, Yohan Le Berre and Benjamin Choquert. Le Berre, runner up in the worlds in Fyn this year and runner up in the French national championships, worked hard on the first run with Choquert, who had beaten him in the Nationals. They pulled away to establish a comfortable lead over the first 10k. A blisteringly fast T1 saw them head out alone onto the bike and then simply pull away from the rest. It came down to the final run with Le Berre getting revenge on the international stage to take the European title just 5 seconds ahead of his teammate. Behind them the battle for bronze was played out between Emilio Martín and two Belgian athletes, Vincent Bierinckx who has a strong athletic background and the younger Arnaud Dely. Powerful riding from Bierinckx threatened the Spaniard but it must have been the home crowd advantage that added speed to the legs of Martín, who just edged ahead to claim the last medal.
A massive performance from Dely gave him the U23 title ahead of Javier Martín Morales. Dely holds now both World and European U23 titles and once again underlines the power of duathlon that reigns in Belgium. Martín is back to form after a year off and adds this silver to his Penticton World silver from 2017. Bronze medal went to Belgium’s Nicolas Tilman. He adds this to his Kalkar bronze from 2016.
The junior men’s race was a thriller with Spain’s Romaric Forques who so far this year has clocked up victories in Melilla and then in Bucharest. A disappointing result in Tartu was turned into glorious gold but he had to work so hard for the win against Ukraine’s Vitalii Vorontsov whose initial advantage on the run was lost in T1. Out onto the bike and the pair had Spain’s Daniel Albitos Gómez with them.
A final push from Forques was just enough to give him a well-deserved title. Ukraine can be delighted with Vorontsov’s performance and Spain can now boast a new discovery with Albitos.
For the Elite Women, it was France again with Sandra Levenez dominant. Her opening run was comfortably ahead of the rest of the field. Only Great Britain’s Georgina Schwiening, 3rd in the Worlds in Fyn, looked a threat but once out on the bike, the power of Irene Loizate Sarrionandia was too much and any hopes of the British team for an Elite medal were dashed. Schwiening was, however, all-powerful in the U23 category. Ahead Levenez was holding her lead but Austria’s Sandrina Illes winner over the long distance in Vejle earlier this year and then gold medal winner in Fyn was catching the leader after losing out on that first run. Illes was unable to catch Levenez and so the celebrations in France were sorted with both titles going to Les Bleus. Illes, so strong this year had to battle hard to keep her place but had just enough come home ahead of the younger Spaniard, who claimed bronze.
For the U23, Irene Loizate Sarrionandia was supremely dominant and once again outpaced Sophie van der Most NED, who had won silver in Fyn.
The Junior Women’s race was a runaway victory for Belgium’s Laura Swannet, the Belgian champion and runner up in the Juniors in 2017 in Soria. Swannet had to work hard for this and was playing catch up to Delia Sclabas SUI. Sclabas came to this race as reigning world and European champion. Her opening run shattered the race but once out on the bike, she was caught by Swannet and then, with a slow T2, she was overtaken by Finland’s Astrid Snäll.
Swannet had stormed ahead and was clear all the way to the line to claim the title. Finland could celebrate with Snäll using her bike power to beat Sclabas to the silver.
For the massive army of Age Group athletes the medals were hauled in by Team GB. We have been kept up to date by Martin Breedijk, ETU Executive Board member, who has been posting for ETU on the Twitter page where you can see a variety of short interviews with medal winners and supporters.
For regular updates, please follow the event Facebook Page, where you can see live videos, photos and news.
We will prepare a detailed report in due course.
Related Event: 2018 Ibiza ETU Duathlon European Championships
|Results: Elite Men|
|1.||Yohan Le Berre||FRA||01:48:41|
|6.||Javier Martin Morales||ESP||01:50:53|
|Results: Elite Women|
|3.||Irene Loizate Sarrionandia||ESP||02:01:57|
|5.||María Varo Zubiri||ESP||02:03:21|
|7.||Sophie Van Der Most||NED||02:06:23|
|LAP.||María Rico Meneses||ESP||LAP|
|Results: U23 Men|
|2.||Javier Martin Morales||ESP||01:50:53|
|8.||Niels Te Pas||NED||01:53:42|
|Results: Junior Men|
|3.||Daniel Albitos Gomez||ESP||00:58:38|
|4.||Joey Van 'T Verlaat||NED||00:59:19|
|5.||Olaf Jan Bosscher||NED||01:00:48|
|6.||Ángel Puertas Fernández||ESP||01:00:55|