Beth Hall reports:
Târgu Mureș Medieval Castle, a stunning and perfect setting for the 2019 Târgu Mureș ETU Multisport European Championships press presentation
On a beautiful, rather warm, sunny day in Târgu Mureș, Romania, the Press Conference for the 2019 Târgu Mureș ETU Multisport European Championships was held yesterday (27th June 2019) in the elegant setting of the Medieval Castle where other parallel events to the races will also take place.
With spectacular chandeliers and an impressive race branded backdrop, Peter Klosz, President of the Romanian Triathlon Federation, sat with ETU Vice-President Chris Kitchen, Péter Ferenc, President of Mureș County, Claudiu Maior, Mayor of Târgu Mureș, Margarit Amza, Manager of SportLife Group and Liviu Pancu, Director of Order of Wolf Knights from the Medieval Castle. With the attention of Romanian Press now fully focussed, it was time to present to unveil the 2019 Târgu Mureș ETU Multisport European Championships.
The ETU Vice-President thanked everyone for coming, ¨especially the County President, the city and the Romanian Triathlon Federation for putting the event on, to have the cooperation of the city and the region is fantastic.¨ before telling the local press and authorities how much he adores their country: ¨I’ve been here to Târgu Mureș on many occasions, and to Romania a good number of times, so I think I should have my Romanian passport because I love coming here.¨ he jested with them, but insisted ¨It’s a fantastic city and the experience I’ve had over the last 4 years of events here is phenomenal.¨
Regarding the event itself, Chris spoke about the importance of this Multisport for the ETU: ¨This is a major event for the ETU and I want to thank everybody on behalf of the ETU for it. It is 7 of our European Championships and it’s a very big ask for any LOC to put it together but I have every confidence in Peter, the city and the region to put on a fantastic event.¨
The ETU Vice President told the room of ETU’s vision about their events and what they hope from and for Târgu Mureș: ¨For us it’s all about the athlete experience, and if the athletes go away smiling having had a good race, but beyond having had a good race having had a good experience, then that is what we want to achieve and with things like the night-time Dracula run and the night-time swim and the other events that go along with this, the fun events that the city are putting on as well and the medieval castle here, I think we’re going to have a fantastic event and that all the athletes will go away with a little spot in their hearts for Târgu Mureș and Romania.¨
He added that the benefit to the local area is not only on one race day: ¨It’s the age-groupers that really make the race, they’re paramount. Age-groupers come to race but then will have a holiday so they might be staying for another 10 days or 2 weeks and enjoying the countryside, so the benefit is spread out for several days before and after the event.¨
In a casual chat after the conference, Chris spoke to the eager and inquisitive local journalists, who were keen to find out more about the Multisport world: ¨These sports are growing and we’re very proud, you’ll see some of the Elite athletes that are here in Tokyo 2020 or in Paris 2024¨
Finally, Chris Kitchen ended the conference with these words of encouragement for the LOC and athletes: ¨I wish every good luck to the organisation, we have the weather for it and hopefully we’ll have a fantastic event. I look forward to seeing everyone at the finish line and on the podium.¨
With the Press Conference over and after a thunderstorm of Biblical proportions, it was all systems go for the preparations for the Parade Of Nations and Opening Ceremony.
All the while, the build continued and the athletes were registering for the first race of the Championships; the Cross Triathlon.
Reigning World Champion Peroncini out to grab the European title to add to her 2019 collection
Italian athlete Eleonora Peroncini will be fighting to add 2019 Târgu Mureș ETU Cross Triathlon European Champion to her 2019 Pontevedra Cross Triathlon World Champion title in the first of 10 days of European Championship races, part of the 2019 Târgu Mureș ETU European Championships in Romania. She will be up against Spanish athlete Laura Gomez Ramon, National Champion of the Spanish Cross Triathlon Championship in 2018 who fell off her bike and punctured in Pontevedra but still managed to finish in 14th position. Peroncini also stood on the podium last year in the Fyn 2018 Cross Triathlon World Championship where she came 3rd, but Gomez beat her across the line in the Ibiza 2018 European Championship, to claim silver, with Peroncini coming home in 5th. In the 2017 Penticton ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships, Gomez took silver in the U23 category (8th Elite) while Peroncini just missed out on a medal in 4th place.
Three of these athletes will be on the Târgu Mureș course for the second time, Morgane Riou (FRA) performed well on the same course in 2017, claiming silver in the 2017 Târgu Mureș ETU Cross Triathlon European Championship. She stood next to Carina Wasle (AUT) on the podium who took the bronze medal and is also racing on Sunday. Both beat Peroncini in that race, who missed out on a medal in 4th position. Riou also just missed the podium last year in Fyn 18, crossing the line in 4th position.
9 Elite women from 6 countries are on the 2019 Târgu Mureș ETU Cross Triathlon European Championship start list, all brave enough to swim the 1km single lap swim, face the bears on the 3-lap 23.4km bike course with almost 600m climb, and run the 6.21km 2-lap run course.
2018 World Champion Ruzafa and 2018 European Champion Van Hemel, head to head on the start line ready to fight for the 2019 European title
2018 Fyn World Champion, runner-up in the 2019 Pontevedra World Championship and the 2017 Penticton ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship, Spanish athlete Ruben Ruzafa is all set to go for the 2019 Târgu Mureș ETU Cross Triathlon European Champion title on Sunday. This race will be the very first elite race which is part of 6 European Championships to be held in Târgu Mureș, Romania. He will be challenged by 2018 Ibiza European Champion in Cross Triathlon and Cross Duathlon, 2018 Belgian National Triathlon Champion Tim Van Hemel, who came 7th this year in the 2019 Pontevedra World Championship in April where Ruzafa took the silver medal. Van Hemel also gave a great performance in the 2019 Lievin ETU Triathlon earlier this year in March.
French athletes Brice Daubord and Arthur Serrières will also be on the start line. Daubord came 5th in the 2019 Pontevedra World Champs followed by Serrières in 6th position and in 2018 Daubord claimed silver in the Ibiza ETU European Champs and bronze in Fyn ITU World Champs with Serrières 5th in Ibiza and 12th in Fyn. Serrières won 2 silver medals here in Târgu Mureș in 2017 for both the Cross Triathlon and the Cross Duathlon European Championships. Daubord was Champion of the Târgu Mureș ETU Cross Duathlon European Championships but DNF in the Cross Triathlon. Others to watch out for are Filippo Rinaldi (ITA) 10th in Pontevedra World Champs and 4th in Ibiza European Champs and Camilo Puertas Fernández (ESP) 2nd in 2018 Ibiza ETU Cross Duathlon European Championships and runner-up in the 2018 ESP Cross Triathlon National Championships.
15 Elite men from 10 countries are on the 2019 Târgu Mureș ETU Cross Triathlon European Championship start list, all daring to swim the 1km single lap swim, look for vampires on the 3-lap 23.4km forest bike course, and run the 6.2km 2-lap run course.
U23 women set to challenge the Elites at the 2019 Târgu Mureș ETU Cross Triathlon European Championship
With the same start time as the female Elites at the 2019 Târgu Mureș ETU Cross Triathlon European Championship in Romania this coming Sunday, the U23 women will be pushing the Elite women all the way to the finish line. With upcoming youngsters hot on the heels of the more experienced triathletes, Sunday’s race is sure to be incredibly exciting.
Sofiya Pryyma from the Ukraine is one of the up and coming stars of the Cross Triathlon discipline as well as Aquathlon, Cross Duathlon and Triathlon. Pryyma has had an abundance of titles and podiums in U23 and Junior categories. These include: runner-up in the U23 2019 Pontevedra ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships (7th absolute) and the 2018 Ibiza U23 ETU Cross Triathlon European Champion title, where she also claimed bronze overall and shared the U23 podium with Lydia Drahovska (SVK) who came 3rd. Drahovska returns to Târgu Mureș where she competed in 2017 as a Junior, coming 4th in the Cross Duathlon and 6th in the Cross Triathlon.
Marta Menditto will be representing Italy on Sunday in the same category, also giving the Elites a run for their money. She came 10th (absolute) in the 2019 Pontevedra Cross Triathlon World Championship and took the bronze medal in the U23 category. She is reigning Junior European Champion, taking the victory last year in Ibiza and in the 2018 Ibiza Cross Duathlon Championship she then took the silver medal in the U23 category, coming 5th overall. Menditto was 3rd Junior in both Fyn 2018 and Penticton 2017, and returns to Târgu Mureș where she was 1st Junior in the Cross Duathlon and 2nd Junior in the Cross Triathlon.
Pavlína Vargová (CZE) is moving up to the U23 category from Junior where she has performed very well, claiming the World Champion title in Fyn last year and the silver medal in the 2018 Ibiza European Championship.
There are 5 women racing in the U23 category from the Ukraine, Italy, Slovakia and the Czech Republic with the same start time and course as the Elite women.
9 men from 7 countries race in the U23 category of the 2019 Târgu Mureș ETU Cross Triathlon European Championship on Saturday
After a DNF earlier this year in Pontevedra, Italian athlete Tommaso Gatti will be eager to perform and repeat or improve his podium position of the 2018 Ibiza ETU Cross Triathlon, where he claimed U23 runner-up silver and 6th place overall. This will be his 2nd visit to Târgu Mureș, in the 2017 Târgu Mureș ETU Cross Triathlon European Championship he was 5th U23 and 12th overall.
Other hopefuls for podium positions in the U23 category include Belgian athlete Lucas Van Deynze, who came 2nd in the U23 2018 Ibiza Duathlon European Championship (DNF in the Cross Triathlon) and 5th in U23 2019 Pontevedra Cross World Championship.
Petr Velíšek (CZE) moves from Junior to U23, where he came 2nd and 4th in the 2018 Ibiza Cross Duathlon and Triathlon European Championships respectively and 5th in the 2018 Fyn ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship. Velíšek already knows Târgu Mureș, having been here in 2017 when he came 7th in the ETU Cross Triathlon Junior race.
Victor Goené representing the Netherlands came 3rd in the U23 category of the 2019 Pontevedra Cross Triathlon World Championships (20th absolute) and also took the bronze medal in the Junior category of the 2018 Fyn Cross Triathlon World Championships.
The U23 races will be held at the same time and on the same course as the Elites, giving the young budding athletes a taste of life in the fast lane and a chance to learn how to up their game from the pros.
For the Junior athletes, we see two of the strongest Winter Triathletes on the circuit swapping their skis for wetsuits. Zuzana Michaličková from Slovakia, runner-up in the World Junior Winter Triathlon World Championships and reigning European Winter Triathlon junior Champion will face her arch-rival and teammate, Margaréta Bičanová, who was runner-up this year in Cheile Grădiştei, with temperatures that dropped at one point to -20C. With the mercury rising in Transylvania and with an expected +24C for the race, these two will be pushing the pace amongst the junior women.
The Men will see a powerful Italian presence with Filippo Pradella, silver medal winner in Ibiza race against his teammate, Francesco Podda, who was 4th here in 2017.
The ParaTri races will see athletes from Spain and Hungary and the Age-Group races will see athletes from all over Europe.
Our thanks for once again to Bereczky Sándor for his wonderful photos.
There will be no live-streaming, due to the logistics and bears but we will be providing edited highlights after each race. Keep an eye on the event page as well as on ETU Media for updates, photos, videos etc.. It will be busy and we might not be able to respond immediately but we will do our best to keep you all in contact with your athletes.