Last year in Malmö the overnight winds before the race ruined the hard work from the LOC at the swim start.
The new location is miles better and not only is the water less troubled by the sea winds but also it is visually much more pleasant on the eye. Top marks LOC!
Top marks also for GB’s Olivia Matthias who led the swim comfortably. She was joined soon enough by Norway’s Lotte Miller, Denmark’s Ditte Kristensen and race favourite, Michelle Flipo. They were not entirely free of the chase pack and behind them a small peloton of athletes was working hard to catch up.
Once caught, a large group entered T2. Flipo was sensibly placed at the front end and looked poised to take the top prize but Poissy’s Justine Guérard FRA showed immense power and speed on the run to outpace the ITU athlete and to win the race with a blindingly fast 16:38 ahead not of Flipo who had to settle for bronze.
Silver went to DDS Triathlon Team’s Lisa Schanung ITA with the best performance of her career.
With amazing understatement after the race, Guérard said, “Happy to win the European cup of Malmö today! I haven’t done an international podium for 7 years!”
For the Men’s race, it was no great surprise to see Norway’s Jørgen Gundersen lead them up to T1. Visiting US athlete, Alec Wilimovsky was on his heels with Poland’s powerful young swimmer Michał Oliwa only a few steps behind.
Then came the Belgian duo of Christophe De Keyser and Marten Van Riel. Van Riel’s top ten finish in Rio was the last chance we had to see him race. Starting back here in Sweden it was going to be interesting to see what the two Belgian’s could do out on the bike.
Wilimovsky was dropped and, with Thomas Jurgens BEL now working hard with his teammates, the leading peloton of six athletes, including Gianluca Pozzatti ITA, was making the chasing athletes work really hard.
The chase group worked well and they caught the leaders and as we have seen before, it was Ireland’s Con Doherty who announced his arrival in T2 by leading them all in.
So, it would be down to the run.
Doherty was quickly into his stride and the others caught only a fleeting glimpse of the emerald uniform as he sped off along the 5k run course. He was joined by Van Riel and as the KM-clock ticked down, the lead was changed between the Irish and Belgian athletes.
Finally Van Riel kicked and Doherty had to concede. Pedro Palma POR moved up through the pack and soon he had Doherty in his sights but the young Irishman had done enough to secure silver behind the Belgian Olympian. Bronze went to Palma who had just enough pace to beat Pozzatti.
After the race, Van Riel could not hide his delight, “Yessss first international victory!! What a great feeling to be back racing! Thanks to everyone who supported me through the difficult times, let’s bring back the good times!!” With Wuustwezel coming up soon, he could not have wished for a better result.
Big thanks to the Swedish Triathlon Federation and to Jens Rydén for the excellent photos!
Related Event: 2017 Malmö ETU Sprint Triathlon European Cup
|Results: Elite Men|
|1.||Marten Van Riel||BEL||00:53:46|
|Results: Elite Women|