Rachel Klamer (NED) earned her first European title in a down to the line sprint finish in Alanya, Turkey on Friday. In a five-way battle for three medals, Klamer was the one who bumped up her speed in the final metres to beat out Great Britain’s Vicky Holland by just two seconds. Holland took silver, while Vendula Frintova (CZE) scored bronze to taker her second European Championships medal.
“It’s so good, I didn’t expect it,” Klamer said. “I’ve had some pretty bad races recently so I was quite nervous. But I love racing here, I’ve won three times before and I thought if I won today it would be fantastic.”
The day began with 39 women diving into the ocean. Just as she did at the World Triathlon Madrid, Spain’s Carolina Routier bolted out to the front on the swim to lead the women’s field into the first transition. Klamer was hot on her heels and together with 16 more women, the leaders took off for the bike course with a 48-second advantage. With pre-race favourites Ainhoa Murua (ESP), Rebecca Robisch (GER) and Emmie Charayron (FRA) off to a slow start, the lead pack seized the first lap to put what turned out to be an insurmountable distance between themselves and the chase group.
While Robisch fought to close the gap, with the large front field working together to take turns pulling at the helm, the German couldn’t bridge up over the six bike laps. Ahead of her, veterans like Jessica Harrison (FRA) and Anja Knapp (GER) pushed the pace, methodically adding precious seconds to their lead with each lap.
Determined to avenge her missed podium from last year, Harrison jutted out to the front of the competition early in the four-lap 10km run, with Frintova answering the challenging pace. But Harrison couldn’t maintain the rhythm and was overtaken by Klamer, Holland, Annamaria Mazzetti (ITA), Oleksandra Stepanenko (UKR) by the midway mark. Mazzetti shined on the third lap, moving to the front of the five-deep pack. But her move was ill timed as the eventual-medallists sat back to wait for the bell lap where Klamer and Holland perfectly timed a last-minute break.
The duo sprinted away, with Klamer just outracing Holland in 1:55:43 while the Brit crossed over in 1:55:45. The win was Klamer’s fourth in Alanya, having won three European Cups here in the last four years. Frintova held on for third, fending off Mazzetti in 1:55:53.
After a couple of months out due to injury, Georgia Taylor-Brown showed no ill effects in what was her first European race this year. As part of a lead group of three entering T2, she left her rivals in her wake to cruise home. Germany’s Laura Lindemann finished second in her first ever European Championships and Italy’s Angelica Olmo secured the final podium place, also in her first ever European Championships.
“I didn’t think at all that I was going to win as I’ve had two months out from injury and have only just started back running,” said Taylor-Brown. “But I didn’t put any pressure on myself, just told myself to do what I do and it worked out.
“We got a break on the last bike lap, a couple of girls went down, and after that it was just a case of head down and go for it and luckily, I felt alright on the run.”
Junior files by David Peddie