By David Peddie on 17/04/13 at 8:33 am
In a Festival of Duathlon competition, Elite, U23, Age Group and Open race athletes will compete in the ETU Powerman European Long Distance Duathlon Championships – 15km run/ 60km bike/ 7.5km – which, for the Elites and U23 athletes, will act as a qualifier for the World Games in Cali.
Later on in the day, Juniors, Age Group, Paratriathletes and Open race athletes will also contest the ETU Powerman European Sprint Distance Championships.
In an exciting twist, the complete podiums from the ITU 2012 Long Distance World Duathlon Championsips in Zofingen will once again do battle with more than a few challengers thrown in for good measure.
In the Women’s Elite competition, Lucy Gossage (GBR) is the defending Champion from 2012. She defeated Sweden’s Eva Nystrom but the Swede gained her revenge in Zofingen.
Nystrom is in confident mood ahead of this weekend’s race but she believes that Gossage will be amongst the challengers once again.
She said: “Lucy (Gossage), Camille (Lindholm) and Susanne (Svendsen) will be the main contenders but there will be a whole other bunch of girls too.
“My training has gone great over the last couple of months but I haven’t really raced so I don’t know how fast I can go.
“My main goal this year is just to be on the podium but you always dream of winning.”
Former champion Lyndholm (SWE) returned to racing in Horst last year but a bout of food poisoning left her weak before the race and she ended her race in tears during the first run. She will be looking for redemption this time round.
Local duo May Kerstens and Marlies Groenewold (who finished second as a 25-29 Age Group competitor last year) will be backed strongly by the home crowd.
Just like the Women’s Elite race, the Men’s podium from Zofingen will all do battle once again in this competition.
The question on everyone’s lips is who will beat the Belgians?
World Champion and defending Long Distance European Champion Joerie Vansteelant is the man to beat – and with five podium finishes in previous competitions in Horst, the field have a tough challenge on their hands.
Vansteelant heads up a strong Belgian team which include Rob Woestenborghs (World Champion runner up in 2012), Jochen Neyrinck and Glen Laurens.
The biggest competition for the Belgians will come in the shape of French trio Anthony Leduey (last year’s runner up), Yohann Vincent (former ETU European Cup winner) and David Duquesnoy.
Denmark’s Soren Bystrup, a bronze medallist at last year’s World Championships, Switzerland’s Andy Sutz (runner up in 2009 in Horst), together with British duo Matt Moorhouse (3rd in 2010), flanked by Phil Wylie (6th at the Worlds short course in Nancy last year), and Russia’s Sergey Yakovlev are the other top favorites.
The local support will most likely go to Wim Nieuwkerk, who announced his retirement from top duathlon last year, but who decided to continue on to the World Games this year.
In the U23 races, whilst the Elite field offers us great champions of the past, each U23 race is wide open and offers each athlete the chance to become a new champion.
In the Women’s field, four athletes are registered and perhaps Marine Chalaye has a slight advantage, having raced in Horst last year, in the same competition, where she finished 4th.
In the Men’s field, Belgian duo Kenneth Vandendriessche and Thomas Buyle were 2nd and 4th respectively last year and have excellent prospects to at least repeat their success or go one better.
It will be intriguing to see how Igor Ostrovskiy (RUS) fares in his first International Duathlon race and Ireland’s James Speight has competed strongly in two previous Duathlon races at Limerick and Nancy over the past couple of years.
170 athletes will compete in the Age Group Long Distance Championships and there is an open race which also has a strong field of over 80 athletes.
Find more details about this event - 2013 Horst ETU Powerman Long Distance and Sprint Duathlon European Championships