“Kitzbühel, Great place, great event, great LOC. You have done our sport proud!”
The words are spoken by British Technical Official, John Petrides who was one of the Head Referees for the Festival and who has been part of the delivery of each of the four Youth Festivals (Tiszaújváros, Panevėžys, Loutraki and now Kitzbühel). John has been involved in the sport now for decades and organises one of the biggest children’s events in the UK. A Level III Technical Official (there are only 51 worldwide), he knows what he is talking about when it comes to events such as this.
He was there for the build and to be on hand for questions from athletes, coaches and supporters and has been able to see the development of this important event on the ETU Calendar. “The spirit of the ETU Youth festival is moving from strength to strength. Kitzbühel has just raised the bar even higher. We always build from the bottom up, so the stronger the foundations, the stronger the future.”
To get to the very top of this podium is never easy. Both athletes were born in 2002 and for Goreva, the hard work over the winter has resulted in an upgrade from a bronze medal in Loutraki last year to a resounding gold this weekend. The Russian Triathlon Federation were delighted Анна Горева - победительница Первенства Европы!
Her journey to the final saw her win the semi-final despite having to serve a ten second penalty on the run course. Her closing run in the 500m Swim, 12k Bike, 3.33k Run, was easily the fastest, even having lost time to slow down for her standing penalty and then to accelerate away afterwards. It must have bene high drama for her, her coaches and of course the officials in charge of the penalty box. Having set the tone in the semi-final, it was all to lose on the final.
Goreva had work to do on this super-sprint course, over the 250m Swim (1 lap), 9k Bike (3 laps), 2k Run (2 laps), from the very start and left the water with 20 seconds to make up on the leaders. Portugal’s Inês Rico was close by and by the time the pair had made it to the mount line they were in a position to use their superior bike power along with Rebecca Beti SUI.
It was clear within a few seconds that any advantage that was gained in the water would be lost on the bike. GB’s Bethany Cook was working well with the swim leader, Márta Kropkó HUN. They did their best but behind them the gap was closing. A huge peloton had formed, moving at speed and pulling away from the chase group. The leaders were caught. Kropkó crashed but, despite bloody wounds to her legs and arm, bravely continued.
Dismount was a critical moment as the athletes poured into T2 and a frantic escape out onto the run course.
Goreva and Rico together soon.
Beti and Cook behind but still in contact.
Goreva had already shown her immense power on the run and so was now a clear favourite for the win. Rico held tight.
Half a lap down and a 9-second lead for Goreva and Rico. It was now that the Russian began to up the pace but Rico stayed with her until close to the finish when it all became too much.
Pulling away from Rico, Goreva knew that the title was hers. Rico was secure in silver and the battle for bronze went to Beti.
For the Youth Men, it was Spain’s Igor Bellido Mikhailova who was rightly crowned champion. He looked good last year in Loutraki but his early round results did not take him to the podium.
Solid racing in Buenos Aires at the Youth Olympics Games , then turn the clock forwards and his racing in Liévin, where he came away with a bronze medal, showed that he had not been idle over the winter months.
The swim was led by Tao Jouineau FRA who is one of the strongest new-generation swimmers in France. Able to deliver a 17:00 1500m, he led the swim easily but had Igor Bellido Mikhailova ESP on his toes and Portugal’s Youth Olympic silver medallist, Alexandre Montez one pace behind. Montez was on fire. A silver in Loutraki. This race was important. He was overtaken on the carpet by two Russian athletes who would later fade.
Many spectators had gathered and the atmosphere on the swim to T1 was amazing.
Austria’s Jan Bader was under immense pressure to deliver and the crowds went wild as they urged him on. His race in Loutraki had given him bronze.
The crowds behind him, he had a lightning-fast T1 and was off on the bike.
A group of 7 formed at the head of the race but this soon grew.
Racing these distances, the athletes had absolutely no chance to rest. It was 100% all the way around.
T2 saw a huge peloton of athletes. So, it was now all down to the run.
The crowd support continued. Encouraged by the speaker, the atmosphere was electric and now, as the athletes streamed out onto the run course, the big question was, who can keep the pace up and win?
Bader, with all the pressure of the home-win on his shoulders, had moved to the front. Montez and Bellido followed. Esteban Basanta Fouz ESP dug deep to stay with the leaders but soon dropped off the pace.
Bellido timed his attack perfectly. With the blue carpet leading to the finish tape, he kicked. Bader went with him but the attack was so well-timed the Austrian could not catch the Spaniard. Montez was out of gas.
Gold to Spain, silver to Austria and bronze to Portugal.
The festival rounded off with the Mixed Relays. 25 teams entered and the title was claimed by a delighted Team Spain. It was Bellido whose last leg secured the victory ahead of Team Hungary. It was nail-biting few moments as the bronze medal was decided in favour of Italy who just beat France.
As Mixed Relay is such an important aspect now of the sport, ETU will be hosting Mixed Relays at selected Junior European Cups so that the younger athletes can play a greater role in the relay successes of their nations.
For a wonderful selection of photos and to watch the live action, go to the Facebook page for the event.
The final word goes to Renato Bertrandi, President of the European Triathlon Union, who has been such a strong supporter of this important development opportunity.
“The 2019 Kitzbühel ETU Triathlon Youth European Championships Festival set a truly high standard and perfectly mixed sport with a variety of cultural activities.
The past few days in the beautiful Tirol will long be remembered by these young athletes. I cannot stress enough that these children, because don’t forget, they are only 15-17 year-olds, despite looking like professional and seasoned athletes, are the future of our sport and in events as well-organised as this, in a controlled, safe and fair environment, they were able to fully express their sporting potential.
The LOC, along with the National Federation, has delivered more than we could possibly have hoped for. I would like to thank them once again for the incredibly hard work that was put in to make this such a success and a legacy not only for their small community but for the bigger triathlon family.
To the Technical Officials who gave up their time to support the event, led by Györgyi Bazsó-Bodnár, the Technical Delegate, again a big thank you for being so professional. You are a credit to the uniform.
Of course, the biggest thank you has to go to all the athletes and coaches. Please spread the word ahead of the 2020 edition, which will be held in Alanya. See you there.”
Related Event: 2019 Kitzbühel ETU Triathlon Youth European Championships Festival
|Results: Mixed Youth Relay|
|1.||Team I Spain||ESP||01:16:25|
|2.||Team I Hungary||HUN||01:16:28|
|3.||Team I Italy||ITA||01:16:46|
|4.||Team I France||FRA||01:16:46|
|5.||Team I Russia||RUS||01:17:24|
|6.||Team I Great Britain||GBR||01:17:34|
|7.||Team I Netherlands||NED||01:17:56|
|8.||Team I Austria||AUT||01:18:04|
|9.||Team I Switzerland||SUI||01:19:17|
|10.||Team I Portugal||POR||01:19:40|
|Results: Semifinal 1 Youth Men|
|1.||Esteban Basanta Fouz||ESP||00:36:56|
|2.||Elai Izhak Chaski||ISR||00:37:04|
|7.||Niels Van Lanen||NED||00:37:18|
|Results: Semifinal 2 Youth Men|
|Results: Semifinal 3 Youth Men|
|4.||Igor Bellido Mikhailova||ESP||00:37:15|
|8.||Syb De Jong||NED||00:38:00|
|Results: Semifinal 1 Youth Women|
|1.||Karolina Helga Horváth||HUN||00:40:54|
|3.||Elsa Pena Vicente||ESP||00:41:31|
|6.||Luna De Bruin||NED||00:41:59|
|Results: Semifinal 2 Youth Women|
|2.||Barbara De Koning||NED||00:41:13|
|8.||Nerea Garcia Busto||ESP||00:42:17|