Fernandes and Belaubre are on the top of Europe!!!

Fernandes and Belaubre are on the top of Europe!!!

By ITU Admin on 20/08/05 at 12:00 am

What a great day of Triathlon in the Capital of the Olympic Movement, Lausanne! A very high number of spectators were present at this year’s ETU Triathlon European Championships in Lausanne, some of them age group athletes to compete tomorrow and watching the ‘big pros’ doing their race, some of them people who are passionate about sports and especially triathlon.

Weather conditions were not too good when the women lined up for their check-in into transition around noon: the water temperature in Lake Geneva dropped just below 20 °C (as a result of this, wetsuits were allowed to use), and some short rain showers came down as well. All this didn’t bother the supporters at all. They kept on cheering the athletes up, especially the local swiss women and men.

The wetsuits on their swim had the effect that no smaller group was able to get away from the rest of the field: former world champion Leanda Cave (GBR) made her way followed by local hero Magali Di Marco Messmer and current British champion Liz Blachford. Defending European Champion Vanessa Fernandes had some trouble on the first swim lap but managed to get back into the first group until the need of the first leg.

So, a large group of athletes arrived all together in transition to head out to the really tough bike course: as expected, there were some breakaway efforts, but the pack always managed to keep these attacks under control. More than this: the second group managed to close the gap to the first one, so a big group of approximately 40 athletes made their way into T2 to get off their bikes and head out for the 4 laps of running.

Fernandes immediately took over control over the race and built up a gap of 20 seconds to Ana Burgos (ESP) in 2nd and Nadia Cortassa (ITA) in 3rd. The rest of the favourites like Di Marco Messmer, Blatchford and Ainhoa Murua (ESP) followed close by. Fernandes seemed like being cruising on the course, still her advantage grew from lap to lap: none else was able to beat her at today’s race. As a result of this, she took gold with a great performance today, Burgos got silver and Cortassa bronze. Murua got 4th and Virginie Jouve from France sprinted to 5th place ahead of Lenka Radova (CZE).

Straight after the women finish, the men’s field made his way into transition and then onto the pontoon for the competition start. Some great swimmers like Rasmus Henning (DEN), Stephane Poulat (FRA) and Jan Frodeno (GER) were the favourites to be first out of the water, not to forget about swiss hopes Olivier Marceau and Sven Riederer, plus Tim Don and still young Frenchman, Frederic Belaubre. Current European Champion Rasmus Henning took the lead straight after the start, and maintained it until the middle of lap too, where Poulat has taken over the lead. The french was first out of the water, and led the group of 20 (all ‘big guns’ included) into transition. The second group followed close by, chasing hard to close the gap: just after the 1st bike lap, they’ve succeeded. A lead pack of about 50 athletes were riding together but some of them had to pay the price for the big pace: lap after lap, athletes got dropped behind and built a so-called ‘groupetto’ to follow the leaders: so was Hamburg winner Filip Ospaly, who seemed to have a bad day and had to pull out of competition, and former World Champion Ivan Rana, who had was putting on a very hard effort to get back into the lead group. Finally, Axel Zeebroek (BEL) and Andrea D’Aquino (ITA) got away with a break, and just a lap afterwards tri legend AJ (Andrew Johns) and young German Jan Frodeno who just celebrated his 24th birthday. Didier Brocard from Switzerland joined them, which AJ was very happy about: ‘Thanks for joining us’ was his comment…

So the run began with the Belgian and the Italian in the lead followed by the group of three and the ‘peloton’ close behind. Just after lap 1, the big pack have caught the leaders and made its way towards finish. Surprisingly, 3 times World Cup winner Tim Don lost touch with the leaders: Belaubre, Riederer, Cedric Fleureton (FRA) and Sylvain Dodet (FRA). Finally, Belaubre got the gold after a great sprint over the last half km, followed by former World Cup winner Fleureton and Athens Olympic bronze medallist Riederer. Dodet got 4th, Don fought himself back into 5th position despite stomach problems, Frodeno just behind in 6th. Swiss legend Hug finished 12th after being sick for an entire week.

Tomorrow we’ll have the age group races going on, and you can be pretty sure that that most of our elite athletes will be there along the racecourse to cheer them up and give back all the support of today! Hasta manana folks!!!

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Find more details about this event - 2005 Lausanne ETU Triathlon European Championships