The men’s race saw a massive line up and the run to the sea was just the sort of image that sells our great sport.
The waves were kind this time and the entry to the Atlantic was easier. No breakaways were established but the athletes took a battering as they rounded the buoys, with wind and current bunching them together.
It was Norway’s Vetle Bergsvik Thorn, 5th in the World Juniors in Rotterdam, who led them up the beach and into T1. Click the photo above for the video.
A massive group followed him but by the time they had settled into their bike shoes, the group was Thorn, Cameron Main GBR, Davide Ingrilli ITA, Guilherme Pires POR and three French athletes, Paul Georgenthum, Arthur Berland and Valentin Morlec.
This leading group worked well, with everyone pushing hard at the front, turn after turn. Their lead was small but they were looking organised. Ingrilli had won junior silver earlier this year at the Cheile Gradistei ITU Winter Triathlon World Championships. 14th in Melilla and strong on the bike. Main had beaten him by one place there and was quicker on the run.
As the pace picked up, the group fragmented and suddenly, it was Thorn, Main, Berland and the Spanish athlete, Sergio Baxter Cabrera who had bridged the gap. Then they all came together. The chase group merged effortlessly with the leaders and a huge peloton of nations sped along the downtown roads of Quarteira.
About 20 athletes, flat out, fast.
GB’s Main looked strong at the front. Ukraine’s Hennadii Anzin was well-placed but it would be a lottery as to who would get to T2 first and have that clear run out onto the final 5k.
An incredibly fast T2 but a mistake by Anzin saw most of the pack leave ahead of him.
Out onto the run, it was Berland and Thorn, followed by Andreas Carlsson SWE, Baxter and Main. Thorn soon took control and moved into a commanding position but had not shaken the French and British athletes.
Coming back on to the seafront and the lead had changed once more. It was Georgenthum, Berland and Morlec, with Thorn on the back and Carlsson dropping off the pace.
This was beginning to look like the best weekend the Fédération Française de Triathlon - FFTri could possibly have hoped for.
Taking the bell, 2.5k to go. Wind behind you out and wind in your face on the way back. The pressure on the three young French athletes was truly immense. Thorn moved to the lead and took with him both Berland and Morlec. They opened a lead of 15m over Georgenthum. The race was on with less than 2k to go.
In the sheltered areas of the run course, behind the rows of hotels, the athletes could focus but once on the seafront the wind would hot them and they knew that the battle would begin.
Rounding the final bend and it was Morlec, Berland and Thorn, with the tall Norwegian just a pace behind Berland. The French athletes could hear him breathing down their necks. He was perfectly placed for a late attack but who, of the three would have the best sprint finish?
Thorn kicked – both French athletes kicked and responded and it was Berland who had the answer. Click the photo below to see the video.
Thorn kicked back and in the final metres of the race, stole gold from the smaller Frenchman and gave us a truly thrilling finale to the race.
When he could so easily have settled for silver, Thorn dug deep, very deep and made his mark. Smiles all round – cheers from the spectators and the best sprint finish we have seen for ages.
Once again our thanks to Filipe Pereira, our ETU Media man at the race. He worked so hard with Martin Breedijk, ETU Executive Board Member, to deliver images as the race was running. We are looking forwards to seeing his finished albums once he has had a small rest and perhaps one cup of coffee.
Our thanks go also to Bruno Salvador, Race Director, for the live feed over two days, provided by Movielight and to the commentary team there, Diana Cardoso and Sergio Dias.
Related Event: 2018 Quarteira ETU Triathlon Junior European Cup
|Results: Junior Men|
|1.||Vetle Bergsvik Thorn||NOR||00:58:15|
|8.||Sergio Baxter Cabrera||ESP||00:59:20|
|Results: Junior Women|
|10.||Barbara De Koning||NED||01:07:57|