By Paula Kim on 25/01/11 at 1:42 am
The second Winter Triathlon European Cup was staged this past weekend in Valsesia, Italy. Russian Pavel Andreev won the men’s race in convincing fashion while Italian Giuliana Lamastra dominated the women’s competition, leading a podium sweep for the home team.
Race organizers were forced to deal difficult conditions, largely because the last snowfall in December hardened to ice. The ski track was maintained with artificial snow and the course was shortened to adapt to the challenging conditions.
Elite Men Review
The men’s race was a battle between three athletes during the run segment. Russians Pavel Evgeny Kirillov, along with Daniel Antonioli of Italy ran together and away from the rest of the field from the very beginning. By the end of the 5.2km run course, the trio built a lead of more than 1 minute to the chase group.
The 9km bike segment was an exhibition for the Russians but in different ways. Andreev accelerated away from transition while Evgeny had a flat tire and was forced to push his bike two kilometres to the transition area for repairs. But he persevered and didn’t quit the race. Meanwhile his teammate flew over the ice and it was clear for Antonioli that victory was slipping from his grasp. He was also facing new challenges from teammates Alberto Comazzi and Walter Polla.
The ski segment didn’t impact the results as Andreev didn’t need to exert himself thanks to the big lead obtained on the bike. Antoniolli was safe in second place, anchored by his superior skiing skills. The battle for the bronze was very interesting as Polla closed the gap to eight seconds during the first four laps. But that’s as close as he came as Comazzi was able to increase the lead again to secure the bronze medal. Kirillov was the third fastest skier and was able to climb from 23rd to 12th position after flatting during the bike.
Elite Women Review
The women’s race was all about the Italians including Lamastra, Enrica Perico and Laura Mazzucco. Similar to the men’s competition, they ran together and held a 45-second lead at the end of the run.
Lamastra opened the gap on the bike and took control. Confident in her skiing abilities, she knew she would be close to victory if she stayed at the front. Meanwhile, Perico faltered during the bike and dropped from the third position.
But no one was going to catch Lamastra who put the finishing touches on her performance during the ski segment to claim a well deserved victory. It also punctuated her comeback to competitive Winter Triathlon after being sidelined for one year due to illness.
In the battle for silver and bronze, Perico was bearing down on Mazzucco, cutting almost 30 seconds per lap. But it wasn’t enough and Mazzucco was held on for the silver while Perico took the bronze.
The ITU Winter Triathlon circuit remains in Italy and competition heads to San Candido this Sunday.
Find more details about this event - 2011 Valsesia ITU Winter Triathlon European Cup