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Fernandes Returns to Racing with a Win in Quarteira

15 April 2010 by Brad Culp

ITU superstar Vanessa Fernandes of Portugal made her 2010 debut at the Quarteira ITU Triathlon European Cup in her home country last week, and it appears the 2008 Olympic silver medallist hasn’t missed a beat, as she won in convincing fashion. Spaniard Mario Mola, the reigning Junior world champion, was victorious in the men’s contest.

The Elite women were the first to face the big Atlantic swell, with high winds and strong currents making for a challenging swim. The conditions didn’t seem to bother Fernandes, who was first to exit the swim with Russia’s Olga Dimitrieva right behind. The pair started the 40K bike leg with a small advantage over Great Britain’s Jodie Swallow and Poland’s Maria Czesnik. All four women continued to stretch their lead over the chase pack throughout the ride. Dimitrieva punctured a tire on the fourth lap of the ride, which put Fernandes on her own at the front. At the wheel stop Dimitrieva used a wheel that didn’t belong to the Russian team and was later disqualified.

Fernandes stretched her advantage throughout the 10K seaside run, finishing over two minutes ahead of her closest competition. Crossing the line second was Russian Alexandra Razarenova, who was later disqualified for failing to make a penalty stop. As a result, France’s Emmie Charayron, the reigning Junior world champion, earned the second place on the podium, with Italy’s Alice Betto finishing third.

In the men’s race, the tough swim conditions strung the pack out through the 1.5K swim, with France’s Aurelian Raphael and Portugal’s Joao Silva leading the way out of the water. Right behind Spaniard Francesco Godoy, who broke away early in the bike leg and rode solo until the final stages of the ride. Behind Godoy the chase pack continued to grow with Belgium’s Axel Zeebroek leading the charge. Zeebroek finally made his way to the front group and launched a breakaway of his own, towing Portugal’s Bruno Pais, France’s Bertrand Billard and Russia’s Artem Parienko with him.

Pais was the first to make the second transition, but Mola would come flying by on the first lap of the run and never looking back. Mola held his lead for the entire run, finishing 25 seconds ahead of Silva. France’s Gregory Rouault rounded out the podium.

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