The 2018 ETU Tartu European Triathlon Championships started today and gave the city something to talk about as the top paras took to the water for the swim, bike and run around the city.
With wave after wave making the straight line swim, extended to take into consideration the quite strong current, the river delivered the athletes to the swim exit where, for some, their helpers waited. Out onto the bike course around the streets lined with spectators and then to the three lap run, there were some truly impressive performances.
First home and winner of his PTS5 category once more it was Germany’s Martin Schulz. Adding this title to his already stunning collection, which includes the Paralympic title from Rio, 6 ETU titles and 5 world titles, he dominated the swim and had a clear run into T1.
He was chased by Portugal’s Filipe Marques who made up time through transition but once out on the bike, Schulz pulled away to create a clear run to the finish.
Spain’s Jairo Ruiz Lopez was 30 seconds or so down on the swim and despite a good bike and his powerful finishing run, he crossed the line in silver medal position. Bronze went to Frenchman, Yannick Bourseaux.
For the women, it was the Rio Paralympic silver medallist from Great Britain, Lauren Steadman who took the European title to make it her 7th.
She was neck and neck with Claire Cashmore, also GBR in the swim and lost a few paces in T1 but her power on the bike took her past her teammate and created just enough for her to lead down the blue carpet to the finish. Cashmore took silver, making a clear statement to the paratriathlon world that she is here and bronze went to the bronze medal winner in Rio, Gwladys Lemoussu.
In the PTS4 category, it was a gold to France with a great performance from the reigning World and European Champion, Alexis Hanquinqant.
Spain’s Alejandro Sanchez Palomero looked a threat early on but out on the bike, Hanquinqant pulled away.
Austria’s Oliver Dreier worked hard on the bike and began to catch the leader but the Frenchman was flying and soon it was done, gold to France and jubilation after their victorious weekend with Hamburg and Moscow. Dreier dug deep and claimed the silver, to the obvious delight of the Austrian Secretary General, Herwig Grabner who seemed to be everywhere on the course cheering on his athletes.
The Russian athlete, Mikhail Kolakov stunned the crowds with his pace on the run and came home to easily take the bronze medal.
For the women, it was Great Britain’s Hannah Moore, who won gold at the Eton Dorney event earlier this year who created a lead in the swim over Cassie Cava, who races under the ITU flag as she moves from GBR to Ireland.
Between them was Russia’s Evgeniya Koroleva. The three athletes would do battle on the bike course but Moore’s impressive 38:09 was more than enough to put her into a commanding position for the final 5k run. Cava was stronger than Koroleva and in silver position by the time the run started.
An infringement led to a DSQ for Russia but ahead, it was a delighted Moore who grabbed the ETU Tartu finish tape in her hands for the title.
Cava brings promise to the Irish team, whose green shirts were as much in evidence as the shouts of support that echoed around the course.
For the PTS3 Category, first to finish was Daniel Molina. The Spaniard had to fight for the medal because behind him and storming around the course, was GB’s Ryan Taylor. Molina, holding both World and European titles, was determined to defend them but the Brit was on good form, after his Eton Dorney gold. With each push of the pedals and with each step, the British athletes was edging closer and closer to Molina but in the final stages, he ran out of run course to see Spain take the tile just 2 seconds ahead of him. Russia’s Victor Chebotarev came home to claim the bronze.
Would Russia take the title in the women’s race?
Well, with Anna Plotnikova on great form, it was Elise Marc, reigning world champion who left the water first but Plotnikova was catching up with her run through T1 and then out on the bike as her power cut deep into the Frenchwoman’s lead. A swift T2 for Plotnikova and then her speed on the run took her into a commanding lead but an error on what should have been her final lap, saw her set out for an extra lap.
Her gold, so firmly in her hands, was lost and it was a surprised Marc who crossed the line and grabbed the finish tape. A disappointed Plotnikova can nevertheless look back at this race as a really strong confirmation of her power and speed.
In the PTS2 race, it was going to be a tough race with the reigning Olympic, World and European champion, Andrew Lewis on the start list.
He led the swim but had Lionel Morales, ESP, close behind him. Lewis took control in T1 and sped off onto the bike but behind them both was Maurits Morsink NED who truly was flying on the bike. He ate into the lead that had been created and then on the run dominated the 5k to cruise home ahead of Lewis. An early season gold for Maurits in Besançon was the hint that he was in great form but his racing today was mightily impressive and as European Champion, he can go back to the Netherlands a happy man.
For the women, Fran Brown GBR set the pace early on with a dominant swim.
She did not waste time in T1 and was soon out on the bike course.
Pulling away she had an easy run to the finish and the blue tape to take the title. Rakel Mateo Uriate, ESP, claimed the silver medal with bronze going to Veronica Yoko Plebani, from Italy.
In the PTVI category, it was GB’s ITU World and ETU European Champion, Dave Ellis, who came to the race to defend his titles. He would have a battle on his hands with the others in his category.
Ellis dominated the swim and then consolidated his lead with a strong bike.
Poland’s Łukasz Wietecki, known for his fast run, stayed in contact with Ukraine’s Vasyl Zakrevskiy working hard to keep ahead of the challengers for podium places. With the staggered start, there was no chance to ease up and around the course, all of the PTVI athletes were pushing hard. Ellis eased off to take the title and enjoy the moment as he and his guide ran to the blue carpet. Wietecki posted the fastest run of the day to claim silver just ahead of Zakrevskiy.
Amongst the women, it was GB’s Alison Patrick, winner of the Paralympic silver medal in Rio in 2016 who made the mark early in the swim. Easily clear on the first leg, time was lost in T1 but she still had a clear run out onto the bike where she powered around the course to come in to T2 with a clear lead that would take her to the finish tape.
Behind her Susana Rodriguez was making inroads on the bike and as they came into the finish she was just 25 seconds away from the gold. Bronze went to Italy’s Anna Barbaro.
With the final category drawing the crowds to the barriers and raising cheers around the centre of town, it was time for the PTWC athletes. The men’s race was going to be a chance for GB’s Royal Marine Commando, Joe Townsend to try and break the spell that kept delivering him bronze medals at the European Championships. With the Commonwealth Gold now firmly settled in his collection of medals he was up against the immensely powerful Rio silver medal winner, Geert Schipper who earlier this year set a world record on the track for the hour, with 42.165km completed. They would face Italy’s Giovanni Achenza, winner of the bronze medal at the Paralympics. Basking in the sunshine as they waited for the Starter’s Orders, it was the calm before the storm.
Of the three, it was Townsend who was slower in the swim but this is not unusual. His power out on the bike and run is what counts.
Schipper had made it to the swim exit with an easy lead and he simply put the chair around the bike course at a speed that could not be matched.
Behind him Achenza started well but with Townsend powering his arms behind, the game of catch-up was thrilling to watch.
With one lap to go, the Brit dug deep, deep down and powered past the Italian.
Ahead, it was gold to Schipper and for Townsend, after so long waiting, he got the silver.
Achenza came home in bronze, exhausted.
In the women’s race, it was Mona Francis, FRA, who led them out of the swim with a comfortable lead. She moved swiftly through T1.
Behind her Margret Ijdema was hoping to deliver for the Netherlands but after a good swim, she lost ground to the slightly faster Francis, despite the great support from the Dutch coaches.
Spain’s Eva Maria Moral Pedrero made great time up on the bike. Out onto the final discipline and both athletes were caught by Moral who just hammered the run, building her lead with each lap.
She has won silver on so many occasions at European Championships but today she was on form and her power took her to a deserved gold and the championship title. Ijdema crossed in second place having pushed herself to the very limit and Francis came home to add to the French medal haul.
A really inspiring day of racing that caught the attention of the many members of public who came out to watch. The Age Group athletes who had come to support the racing paras were great and many stayed on at the numerous bars and cafes to wait for the Parade of Nations.
2018 Tartu – ETU European Triathlon Championships, what a start !!
Related Event: 2018 Tartu ETU Triathlon European Championships
|Results: Elite Men|
|2.||Uxio Abuin Ares||ESP||00:53:18|
|3.||Roberto Sanchez Mantecon||ESP||00:53:19|
|Results: Elite Women|
|9.||Marta Sanchez Hernandez||ESP||00:59:43|
|Results: Junior Men|
|1.||Vetle Bergsvik Thorn||NOR||00:53:59|
|Results: Junior Women|
|Results: Mixed Junior Relay|
|1.||Team I Portugal||POR||01:18:24|
|2.||Team I Germany||GER||01:18:32|
|3.||Team I France||FRA||01:18:40|
|4.||Team I Russia||RUS||01:18:45|
|5.||Team I Hungary||HUN||01:18:46|
|6.||Team I Great Britain||GBR||01:18:47|
|7.||Team I Switzerland||SUI||01:18:59|
|8.||Team I Austria||AUT||01:19:15|
|9.||Team I Italy||ITA||01:19:36|
|10.||Team I Spain||ESP||01:20:24|
|Results: PTWC Men|
|1.||Geert Schipper H2||NED||01:03:11|
|2.||Joseph Townsend H2||GBR||01:04:27|
|3.||Giovanni Achenza H2||ITA||01:04:54|
|4.||Alexandre Paviza H1||FRA||01:05:40|
|5.||Florian Brungraber H2||AUT||01:06:01|
|6.||Ahmed Andaloussi H1||FRA||01:08:37|
|7.||Benjamin Lenatz H1||GER||01:09:26|
|8.||Jose Manuel Quintero Macias H1||ESP||01:18:40|
|DNS.||José Vicente Arzo Diago H2||ESP||DNS|