By ITU Admin on 07/10/06 at 12:00 am
After her fantastic triathlon season Vanessa Fernandes of Portugal won the European title in duathlon. Without doubt she was the top favorite of the women’s race. Nobody had a chance to catch her on this race. During the first run she lead more than 40 secunds, after her lonely bike on the front she had almost 3 minutes advantage. The chase group (Ana Burgos, Vendula Frintova and Catriona Morrison) was not able to work hard enough together to catch the Portuguese, but still lost time on the second chase group. Finally Fernandes took the gold very easily. The silver medal went to Spain by Ana Burgos and the defending champion Frintova of Czech Republic could stand up on the podium. Liza Hutthaler was the best among the under 23 athletes.
In the men field the elite and the u23 athletes competed together which made a strong field int he afternoon. The question before the race was, if the duathlon specialists could win over the triathletes. During the first run, nothing has been decided. There were several attempts to break away, finally Lino Barruncho and Alessandro Alessandri entered the transition first, but with 15 other athletes on their heels. On the bike this 15 athletes increased their lead lap by lap on the wet course due to the rain. In spite of the fact, that the second group contained many of the pre favourites – including the whole Belgian squad – the leaders had almost four minutes of lead after the bike. The Portugese athletes dominated on the second run, but Filip Ospaly was even faster than them. He made a final breakaway about 1km before the finish and could celebrate his European title. Barruncho came second and Benjamin Grenetier in third place. The best U23 athlete was the Portugese Sergio Silva finishing in the top 4 overall.
The british Alistair Brownlee collected the gold medal as clear as he did it during the triathlon World Championships in Lausanne six weeks ago. The Hungarian Agnes Kostyal won the women’s race with strong sprint finish on the last meters.
INTERVIEWS from the podium
Vanessa Fernandes (POR), European Champion
It was the first time to do the duathlon on this distance. I am satisfied and very happy with my victory. At the same time I like much more triathlon… but everything is important on my road to the Olympic Games. Now I have finished the season and go home to be with my family, and do not think about the training…
Ana Burgos (ESP), silver medalist
Everybody knows that Vanessa is strong enough to win. I have not finished my triathlon season yet. I am going to prepare for last triathlon world cup events. So the duathlon European Championships was a stop on my way to Cancun.
Vendula Frintova (CZE), bronze medalist
The race was great. I did my best today, I am happy with the bronze medal.
Liza Hütthaler (AUT), U23 European Champion
It was my second victory after 2002 and Rimini was my last chance to win again among U23 athletes. Next year I will be elite, so I am very happy. My season started in May, I have finished for this year.
Filip Ospaly (CZE), European Champion
After my bad result on World Champs in Lausanne and did not finish the world cup in Hamburg I was 4th in Beijing two weeks ago. I supposed to be in good shape here in Rimini. I decided to take part in duathlon, because there was no any triathlon world cup event for the weekend. My tactic was the same as I had last year in Debrecen, when I was second. To stay with the leading group during the first run and on the bike as well. I started the run just behind two portuguese guys, with 600 m before the finish line I felt the power in my body to win the race. The duathlon was just a preparation for the last two world cups in November. The triathlon is the most important for me, although I am satisfied with the gold.
Lino Barruncho (POR), silver medalist
I came to Rimini to win a medal and finally I did it. I knew that Filip Ospaly has a good sprint finish. I saw him in many world cups when he was able to beat his opponents in the home straight. I felt during the last kilometer that today I have no chance against Filip. Next week I am going to participate in Amsterdam Marathon. I expect myself in top 10 with 2h20, but we will see because it will be strong field with many Kenyian athletes.
Benjamin Grenetier (FRA), bronze medalist
I am a duathlon specialist, but this race was very difficult. The first run was really fast. Fortunately on the bike we were well organized with the other French guys then I could start the second run in a good position. This is my first podium in my life, so I am very-very happy.
Sergio Silva (POR), U23 European Champion
It was tough course for me, because I prefer hilly course than flat. During the race I focused on U23 athletes and finally finished in absolute 4th place. That’s was more than super for me.
Find more details about this event - 2006 Rimini ETU Duathlon European Championships