The race in Banyoles last weekend was a decider. It was one of several events around the world where athletes born between 1 January 2001 and 31 December 2002, could race and try to qualify for the 2018 Youth Olympics Games, due to be held this year in Buenos Aires. The entire process was set out in the ITU document that was published back in 2016.
So, how did it all go?
Well, for the Junior Women, the swim was led by Switzerland’s Anja Weber.
Once out on the bike course, the trio worked hard in an attempt to keep the chase pack off their tail.
Soon there was a huge peloton but as they set off for the run, it was still Weber looking strong and now accompanied by Germany’s Marie Horn but the pace was too much for the German athlete who later dropped back.
Behind them, Chiara Lobba, was having the race of her life and, with powerful running, she was able to make her way through the pack and head for the lead.
Ahead, Emile Noyer was doing her best to hold onto the lead that she had taken but behind her, the Italian athlete was flying and as the athletes arrived on the blue carpet, it looked like it would be a photo-finish.
But just a couple of metres from the line, Noyer folded to allow Lobba the gold. It was bronze to Inês Rico.
Big thanks to the Spanish Triathlon Federation for the pictures. Please if you share any pictures give credits to the photographer Carles Iturbe Ferré. Check the album here.
Thanks also to Fitri for the photo of Chiara Lobba
The Youth Men saw Kiwi, Dylan McCullough, already a winner of a YOG qualifier in March this year, start as race favourite. A 9th place in Holten as one of the younger athletes, he was clearly going to be the man to beat.
A spectacular swim start saw the athletes set off for the 750m swim and it was no surprise to see McCullough lead them out, having created a comfortable lead.
McCullough was out on his own and in a class of his own and building his lead.
A crash took out a large number of athletes.
The athletes re-grouped and tried to bridge some of the lost time but ahead of them the power of the leaders was too great.
Athletes worked in small groups to try and catch the escaping Kiwi but he was too strong.
Coming into an empty T2, McCullough left it and was gone by the time that the main group arrived.
Out in front and under no pressure, McCullough was able to ease up on the run but behind him, the battle for silver and bronze was being fought out between Baptiste Passemard and Alexandre Montez, who initially had José Vieira to keep him company.
As the pace was increased by Passemard and Montez, they began to break away but ahead it was McCullough and the gold was his to keep.
In the final stages of the race, it was Passemard who had the pace to just edge ahead of Montez to take the silver.
Thrilling racing from both races gave the crowds a hint at what was going to happen on Sunday.
The next day brought the Mixed Relays to Banyoles and once again, we had a fantastic and captivating race. The sheer delight of the mixed relay is that the whole shape of the race can change from leg to leg.
The title went to France, with Great Britain and Germany taking silver and bronze.
On this occasion, the photos in the album tell the story so well … just enjoy them.
After all the racing, the ETU Junior Rankings now looks like this:
And, as far as Buenos Aires goes, click here for the official ITU “Standings for the qualification process as of July 8th 2018”
Related Event: 2018 Banyoles ETU Triathlon European YOG Qualifier
|Results: Youth Men|
|8.||Itamar Shevach Levanon||ISR||00:55:44|
|Results: Youth Women|
|9.||Barbara De Koning||NED||01:00:56|
|Results: Mixed Youth Relay|
|1.||Team I France||FRA||01:21:14|
|2.||Team I Great Britain||GBR||01:21:23|
|3.||Team I Germany||GER||01:21:39|
|4.||Team I Italy||ITA||01:21:50|
|5.||Team I Portugal||POR||01:21:55|
|6.||Team I Spain||ESP||01:22:55|
|7.||Team I Denmark||DEN||01:23:21|
|8.||Team I Israel||ISR||01:23:38|
|9.||Team I Sweden||SWE||01:23:59|
|10.||Team I Russia||RUS||01:24:10|