By ITU Admin on 24/06/06 at 12:00 am
European triathlon stars Vanessa Fernandes from Portugal and the French rocket Frederic Belaubre have both defended their titles. The Portugese woman did it for the third time in a row and Belaubre repeated his performance from Lausanne 2005.
On the second day of the Triathlon European Championships the elite athletes were now head to head for the European titles. Top athletes from around Europe made their way to Autun and this lifted the race close to a level of a World Cup.
46 women athletes lined up on the pontoon for the start. During the swim section Jessica Harrison from France and the Czech Eva Novakova lead. The pre-race favourite Vanessa Fernandes closely followed them. After the first transition Fernandes moved to the lead and made the first two laps alone, followed by a chase group which included Harrison, her team mate Virgine Jouve, the Swiss Magali Di Marco Messmer, Elizabeth May from Luxembourg and Ainhoa Murua from Spain. The chase group worked hard enough to catch Fernandes but still lost time to the second chase group. In the second half of the bike these two groups joined together cycling at a slow pace to save themselves for a tough run. Fernandes moved immediately from transition to lead and from then on the title was never in doubt. The real battle would ensue for second place amongst Anja Dittmer, Andrea Whitcombe, Nadia Cortassa and Tania Haiboeck. Fernandes ran an impressive race, reataining the European title for the third time in a row and remains unbeaten in 2006. With a strong final lap, Dittmer claimed the silver medal with Cortassa in third.
As soon as the transition area was cleared, the men were pumped and ready. From the start three athletes jumped the gun were into the water before the starters horn. These were stopped for valuable seconds by the Technical Officials during the first transition. Home favourite Stephan Poulat came out of the water first with the whole field on his feet. A long line of athletes exited the transition and pushed the pace very hard for the first few laps. By this time there was a big group on the lead. In every lap, there were different athletes all the time trying to breakaway, included Andrea D’Aquinio and Alessandro De Gasperi, both from Italy. They had over half a minute lead as the most, but Aquinio decided to drop back to the chase group, when he realised, that they would not make it at this time. Bike specialists Olivier Marceau and Peter Croes were also on an attack during the bike. De Gasperi got back to the second transition first, but a few seconds behind him Cedric Fleureton came and then the whole group of fourty athletes. Fleureton moved to the front very soon, but Ivan Rana and Frederic Belaubre were also very fast in the early stages of the run. After the end of the first lap, Belaubre took the lead and none of the others able to match his pace. Belaubre maintained his lead meter by meter over Fleureton and Andrew Johns. Martin Krnavek and Javier Gomez were head to head for third position. The first and second place remained Belaubre and Fleureton till the end of the race, much to the delight of the partisan crowd. Johns dropped first Gomez and then some hundred meters before the finish Krnavek as well claiming the bronze medal.
1. Vanessa Fernandes (POR) 2:10:41
2. Anja Dittmer (GER) 2:11:48
3. Nadia Cortassa (ITA) 2:11:54
4. Andrea Whitcombe (GBR) 2:12:20
5. Tania Haiboeck (AUT) 2:12:31
6. Marion Lorblanchet (FRA) 2:12:59
7. Virginie Jouve (FRA) 2:13:17
8. Kathrin Mueller (GER) 2:13:31
9. Marina Damlaimcourt (ESP) 2:13:39
10. Merja Kiviranta (FIN) 2:13:46
1. Frederic Belaubre (FRA) 1:56:44
2. Cedric Fleureton (FRA) 1:57:11
3. Andrew Johns (GBR) 1:57:29
4. Martin Krnavek (CZE) 1:57:42
5. Javier Gomez (ESP) 1:58:01
6. Bruno Pais (POR) 1:58:08
7. Tim Don (GBR) 1:58:15
8. Franz Hofer (AUT) 1:58:18
9. Stephan Poulat (FRA) 1:58:27
10. Igor Sysoev (RUS) 1:58:50
Find more details about this event - 2006 Autun ETU Triathlon European Championships