Frenchman Le Corre takes his first European Crown

By Olalla Cernuda | 10 Aug, 2018

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Frenchman Le Corre takes his first European CrownFrance’s Pierre Le Corre secured this afternoon at Strathclyde Park, in Glasgow, his first ever European title, with Spaniard Fernando Alarza claiming silver after an astonishing run leg and Belgium’s Marten Van Riel finishing in third place.

France’s Pierre Le Corre secured this afternoon at Strathclyde Park, in Glasgow, his first ever European title, with Spaniard Fernando Alarza claiming silver after an astonishing run leg and Belgium’s Marten Van Riel finishing in third place.

In an afternoon with bits of sunrays and bits of rain, it was to nobody’s surprise that Slovakia’s Richard Varga finished the 1500m swim in the first place. Two laps around the Strathclyde Loch that were brutal for most of the athletes, in which only Jorgen Gundersen (NOR) and Germany’s Linus Stimmel were able to follow Varga.

The reigning European sprint champion was first to mount his bike for the 40km cycle section, but he was quickly caught in transition by a group of eight more athletes, including local favourite Alistair Brownlee (GBR), Jonas Schomburg (GER), Pierre Le Corre and Marten Van Riel, among others.

The nine-man group tried to work together and halfway through the bike they had a lead of over one minute, with the big chase group, led by Spaniard Alarza, struggling a bit in the narrow course. The Spaniard knew that his options passed by keeping the leaders no more than one minute away, and he worked tirelessly to avoid that gap increasing.

But in the lead group, the aim was just the contrary. The leading pack was very compact and seemed very well organized and together they entered the second transition for the final 10km run.  The race started taking shape on the first lap with Le Corre, Van Riel and Brownlee quickly breaking away and Varga out of the competition due to cramps.

And it was the moment then for Alarza’s show. He kept a cool head and produced a monstrous performance on the run. On the first lap he attacked and overtook the second group of chasers, and by the fourth kilometer, he was already in fourth place.

It was then when both Le Corre and Van Riel increased the pace and left the older Brownlee behind. With him on sight, Alarza flew looking strong and confident, and it was a matter of a couple of kilometers that the Spaniard managed to pass the British star. He still had petrol in his engine to catch Van Riel, who lost contact with the Frenchman on the final lap.

Le Corre managed to maintain the lead until he crossed the finish line to claim his first European title, stopping the clock in 1 hour 47 minutes 17 seconds, just 11 seconds ahead of Fernando Alarza, all smiles in the last few meters of the race knowing that his was not only the silver medal, but also the fastest split, by far, of the day: 30 minutes 44 seconds, more than one minute faster than the second one. The third place was for an exhausted Van Riel, while Alistair Brownlee finished in the bittersweet fourth place and another Belgian, Jelle Geens, closing the top five.

“I feel really great. That was really tough today with Ali Brownlee. I was really scared of him as he is an opponent who’s really hard to beat”, said an extremely happy Le Corre with the gold medal hanging on his neck. “Alistair’s not in his best shape right now, I could see it. But he will be back and thanks for me he was not great today”, he recalled. He only looked a bit worried when he looked back a few meters before crossing the finish line and saw Alarza coming like a bullet. “I was looking at the end and I saw him coming strong, so I was like ‘I have to open the gap between me and him’, just not to do a sprint. I’m pretty good at sprinting, but I was really tired after all the energy I gave”, he said. Enough to grant him the European title and make the French team extremely happy, with the bronze medal yesterday for Cassandre Beaugrand and opting tomorrow to another medal in the Mixed Relay event.

Also really satisfied was the Spaniard. “I am super happy. It’s my first medal at the European championships,” he said. “The swim was a bad swim for me, I had to fight a lot and the bike was very hard as well. But in the second transition I thought I could do this and take a medal but I did not know which colour. So I kept a cool mind. On the second lap of the run, when I passed Ali, then I thought ‘OK, a bronze medal would be good’ but finally Pierre was too fast for me. He was better than me. We are friends so I am happy for him and I am happy with the silver medal,” he explained.

·I feel exhausted, but I am extremely happy to go home with a medal”, said Van Riel. “Of course it is hard to see someone pass you in the end especially from the group behind. Fernando was running super strong and I had no chance to keep up. I used all my energy trying to keep up with Pierre and I had nothing left to give. But I came here for a medal and I have got the bronze. It is the first of my career and I am very happy”, he recalled.

For Alistair Brownlee it was not a happy ending.  “I didn’t quite know what to expect today and I suppose that’s about where I was. I have been training really hard so I knew I was probably going to be a bit tired going into it as well. If I can put all my training together I know I can do well. It’s been an awful year and at times I’ve had to question what I’m doing. I’m just happy to be racing.”

An exhausted Brownlee recognized that the course was “really hard. There’s not much flat - there’s ups, downs, corners, slow roads - so it is quite hard to get a group moving on it. But I really enjoyed that race today. I got really beaten up on the first 100 metres [of the swim] and that was really tough. The performance itself is irrelevant, I’m just happy to be here competing again. I knew I was going to struggle today on the run, but I enjoy racing, ” he said. He has a few more weeks to prepare for his next race, the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in South Africa in early September.



Related Event: 2018 Glasgow ETU Triathlon European Championships
09 - Aug, 2018 • event pageall results
Results: Elite Men
1. Pierre Le Corre FRA 01:47:17
2. Fernando Alarza ESP 01:47:28
3. Marten Van Riel BEL 01:47:40
4. Alistair Brownlee GBR 01:48:12
5. Jelle Geens BEL 01:48:47
6. Tamás Tóth HUN 01:48:53
7. Márk Dévay HUN 01:49:04
8. Igor Polyanskiy RUS 01:49:09
9. Barclay Izzard GBR 01:49:19
10. Jonas Schomburg GER 01:49:26
Results: Elite Women
1. Nicola Spirig SUI 01:59:13
2. Jessica Learmonth GBR 01:59:46
3. Cassandre Beaugrand FRA 02:00:57
4. Laura Lindemann GER 02:01:42
5. Claire Michel BEL 02:02:06
6. Vendula Frintova CZE 02:02:06
7. Julia Hauser AUT 02:02:37
8. Kaidi Kivioja EST 02:02:38
9. Petra Kurikova CZE 02:02:41
10. Melanie Santos POR 02:03:18
Results: Mixed Relay
1. Team I France FRA 01:15:07
2. Team I Switzerland SUI 01:15:18
3. Team I Belgium BEL 01:15:29
4. Team I Hungary HUN 01:16:06
5. Team I Denmark DEN 01:16:28
6. Team I Germany GER 01:16:36
7. Team I Portugal POR 01:16:42
8. Team I Spain ESP 01:16:45
9. Team I Italy ITA 01:16:46
10. Team I Russia RUS 01:17:00
Results: 16-19 Female AG Sprint
1. Eden Schiller GBR 01:13:31
2. Ines Mommen BEL 01:16:04
3. Grace Goodall GBR 01:16:17
4. Cecilia Hime GBR 01:16:41
5. Ailsa Beck GBR 01:17:06
6. Sofia Warter Rubio GER 01:17:29
7. Lilly Gibbs GBR 01:18:32
8. Abigail Kerr GBR 01:18:34
9. Lotti Knights GBR 01:18:42
10. Kathryn Bell GBR 01:18:46
Results: 16-19 Male AG Sprint
1. Jack Shayler GBR 01:03:30
2. William Dixon GBR 01:03:49
3. Reuben Trotter GBR 01:04:12
4. Michael Eagling GBR 01:04:34
5. Ruben Slot NED 01:05:54
6. Reece Ashfield GBR 01:05:59
7. Tom Whelan GBR 01:06:08
8. Antoine Waltzing BEL 01:06:45
9. Jacob Cann GBR 01:06:49
10. Callum Gaunt GBR 01:07:04
Results: 20-24 Female AG Sprint
1. Hannah Dodwell GBR 01:13:42
2. Brooke Gillies GBR 01:13:47
3. Anna Heyder GER 01:14:03
4. Jonie Vanhoutte BEL 01:14:37
5. Rosie Weston GBR 01:15:04
6. Naomi Elliott GBR 01:16:13
7. Karlien De Waele BEL 01:16:51
8. Cosima Mücke GER 01:17:36
9. Cliona Ferguson GBR 01:17:45
10. Katie Bain GBR 01:17:49
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