This weekend is like to see some changes to the ETU Rankings. With events taking palce in Belgium and Latvia and with athletes targeting the events to ensure the best chances of high positions in the finish, we are certain to have some exciting racing.
Riga has been with us for some time now and I for one wish I could get to see the event there. Each year we see photos and videos of the race and it really looks lovely. Set right in the city centre, this year will see the event host the Baltic Championships and for the athletes, coaches and Technical Officials there was a superb offer of accommodation at the Radisson. Wow – race and stay in style !
With the Baltic Championships attracting great interest, the organisers have opened the event up to Age Group athletes and, because our sport is growing so much, there will also be a children’s race using parts of the main ETU Triathlon Junior European Cup course.
For the Junior athletes, they collect points for their Federation. At present it is a very strong Austrian team of junior athletes that has secured the top place for their Federation. Nearly 400 points ahead they bring to Riga a strong team with some real medal chances.
For the women, 25 athletes from 12 nations will go for points and medals. Race favourite and Austria’s best hope for points is Pia Totschnig. Her season ended last year with a gold in Zagreb and so far this year she has been on the podium in Bled, with a silver and in Panevėžys a bronze in the final. Top ten in Tartu and she is on good form. She will be supported by teammates, Magdalena Früh and Anne Struijk but they will have to work hard against the tough athlete from Ukraine, Sofiya Pryyma who comes here with the ETU Cross Triathlon Junior European Champion crown and a silver from the Cross Duathlon. Both races were on very tough courses and she will come here rested but with that added edge of power from racing off-road.
Watch out too for Gal Rubanenko ISR. Rested after Quarteira, she will want to get some point onto her record sheet. Hungary’s Fani Soós is also in with a chance and she too has the benefit of the Transylvanian hills in her legs, with a bronze in the Cross Triathlon Junior Championships. Belgium’s Kiara Lenaertz had a top ten finish last weekend in Malmö. Rather than race in Wuustwezel this weekend, she has come to Riga and will wear number 1.
The Junior Men’s line up is equally impressive. 43 athletes from 15 nations and a visiting Canadian to make it really international. Estonia brings a strong team and their top athlete is Henry Räppo. Missing out on a podium palce last year, he comes to this race stronger and with some solid performances so far this year. For Shae Kelly CAN this will be his first race in Europe.
At present the Junior Rankings look like this
But after a successful weekend of racing, this could all change.
The Baltic Championships will run in a slightly unusual format, with the men starting first and the women a few minutes after. The waves are quite small and it is unlikely there will be any meeting of the athletes on the Sprint Distance, swim, bike and run.
As this is an open event, with athletes from all over Europe racing, points can be won.
At present the Men’s ETU Ranking looks like this.
The Women’s ETU Ranking looks like this.