The Israeli city of Eilat was transformed into a triathlon festival this weekend as it hosted the U23 European Championships and a stage of the European Premium Cup.
Joao Silva (POR) was the headline maker on day one, winning the U23 title for the third time by the smallest of margins ahead of Davide Uccellari (ITA). Alexandra Razarenova led a Russian one-two-three onto the podium in the Women’s U23 Championship.
The Russian Federation enjoyed more success in the European Cup with a silver and bronze medal but were pipped for victory by Yegor Martynenko of Ukraine. The final title went to Great Britain’s Vanessa Raw who secured the European Cup.
It was a fantastic weekend and a great statement from the organisers and the Israeli Triathlon Association who will host next year’s European Championships.
U23 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP - ELITE MEN REVIEW
Thirty four athletes dived into the water of the Red Sea in the hotly contested Elite Men’s Championship. After the first lap, the major contenders began to group together at the front and it was Andrey Bryukhankov (RUS) who was first out of the water with the rest of the pack on his heels including Joao Silva (POR), Pierre Le Corre (FRA) and Igor Polyanskiy (RUS).
Bryukhankov and Aurélien Raphael (FRA) worked brilliantly together during the bike segment to reach T2 with a comfortable gap of over a minute over the chasing pack of about 20 athletes.
After a smooth transition into the run it looked as if these two would battle it out for first and second but during the first lap of the run their lead was seriously reduced strong running by Etienne Diemunsch (FRA), Silva (POR), and Davide Uccellari (ITA). It was Uccellari who passed through the transition for the last lap in the lead followed closely by Joao Silva and Etienne Diesmunch, although the Frenchman was showing signs of fatigue.
In an exciting final lap, Joao Silva managed to bridge the gap with Uccellari and he crossed the line just eight seconds ahead of the Italian to be crowned 2011 European U23 champion.
Silva wins the title for the third time having won previously in 2008 and 2010. It was the Russian Polyanskiy who claimed the bronze medal as Diemunsch couldn’t hold onto his podium position and finished 4th.
U23 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP - ELITE WOMEN REVIEW
Twenty four hours after the boys, it was the turn of the U23 women to compete for the European U23 Championship title. The temperature was slowly rising towards the 30s when the starter released the pack of 17 women water.
Alexandra Razarenova (RUS) and Charlotte Morel (FRA) entered the first transition together followed by another pair of Russian athletes, Liubov Ivanovskaya and Mariya Shorets, who successfully closed the initial gap to form a front group of four after one lap on the bikes.
Yuliya Yelistratova (UKR), no.1and therefore favorite in the eyes of many was following in 5th place, some twenty seconds behind.
The lead group were maintaining a steady pace at the front and over the course of the cycle managed to increase their lead over the chasers. Two athletes suffered and unfortunately had to stop racing in Hollie Avil (GBR) and Anna Burova, the latter falling twice during the bike run.
The three Russians and Morel (FRA) had a three minute lead heading out of T2 and onto the final run. The Russian pack stayed strong together and unfortunately Morel couldn’t follow their pace and she became a victim of cramp.
On the final lap, it was clearly going to be a Russian ‘hat-trick’ with only the final standings to be decided. It was Razarenova who had the strongest finish and she was crowned U23 European Champion ahead of her team mates. Shorets claimed second and Ivanovskaya finished third. The brave Morel was able to finish the race and she held onto fourth.
EUROPEAN CUP - ELITE WOMEN REVIEW
Despite an early start, it was 25 degrees as the Elite Women lined up for the Premium European Cup. After the two lap swim it was Russian Anastasia Abrosimova who led a small leading group of athletes out of the water. Amongst the leaders were Rahel Küeng (SUI), Inna Tsyganok (RUS) and Vanessa Raw (GBR). Amy Wolfe (IRL) and local athlete Fanny Beisaron (ISR) were a minute behind on exit of T1.
It was Raw who showed speed and initiative on the bike as she quickly built up a lead on her own. By the end of the cycle she had managed to build up a significant gap on the chase pack to reach T2 with a 3 minute lead.
Raw’s heroics on the bike meant her victory was never really threatened and she enjoyed a comfortable finish to the race. But the performance of the day arguably came from Olesya Prystayko. The Ukrainian was last out of the water and endured a solo ride on the cycle segment as she gradually caught up to the field. However, she came alive on the run, picking off all the other athletes bar one as she surged into second place.
Inna Tsyganov (RUS) maintained the Russian success in Eilat with a third place and the bronze medal.
EUROPEAN CUP - ELITE MEN REVIEW
For the final race of the weekend an enthusiastic home crowd were showing their support for local heroes, Dan & Ran Alterman. The twins would have their work cut out though if they were to deliver success in this European Cup.
With five podiums in three races, the Russian armada showed no signs of slowing down as Dmitry Polyansky exited the water first, followed 15 seconds later by team mates Yulian Malyshev, Ivan Tutukin, and the Ukrainian Danylo Sapunov.
However, their advantage was not sufficient enough to breakaway and the chasing pack did well to keep on their tails as a large group of athletes passed through transition at the end of the first bike lap.
The lead group exchanged positions many times on the bike but towards the end of the last lap Yulian Malyshev and Dan Alterman were out at front. The sight of Israeli Alterman thrilled the home crowd and the grand stand alongside the transition area exploded into life to support the home athlete. Unfortunately for the home crowd, Alterman couldn’t maintain his position and it was Yegor Martynenko’s inspired run, despite the hot conditions, which gave him victory.
The field had become quite fragmented with no athlete able to challenge for position. Ukrainian Martynenko finished eleven seconds ahead of Yulian Malyshev (RUS) who claimed the silver medal.
The Russian Federation will be delighted by the performance of their athletes as Dmitry Polyansky’s third place was their seventh podium in four races. A tremendous achievement.
Related Event: 2011 Eilat ETU Triathlon U23 European Championships
|Results: U23 Women|
|Results: U23 Men|
|6.||Pierre Le Corre||FRA||01:56:21|