The springtime sun shone brightly in Estoril as 27 women started the 2006 ITU Estoril Europen Cup. A lead group of four; Fernandes (POR), Tucker (GBR), Harrison (FRA) and Moniz (POR) opened a small gap of 10 seconds during the swim over another quartet of Filipetto (ITA), Lorblanchet (FRA), Walko (HUN) and Chenevier (ITA), which they kept through out the bike.
Working hard on the bike together, the lead group increased the lead to almost 3 minutes after the 8 cycling laps. The chase pack could not make up the difference despite making several attempts to close the gap.
Vanessa Fernandes, while normally rock solid on the run had a tough day in the Portuguese heat and struggled in the final 5km. An impressive looking Helen Tucker made several attempts to catch Fernandes and close a gap of almost 30 seconds in the latter stages of the run. However Fernandes held on in the end to claim victory, adding to her world cup win in Aqaba earlier on in the season. Sergio Santos, Fernandes coach said: this has been the most difficult victory for Vanessa in a long time.
A strong mens field of over 70 athletes was lead by Bruno Pais (POR) and Javier Gomez (ESP), both men strong after their podium finishes in the Aqaba World Cup in March. A large pack of almost 30 athletes left the first transition all within 30 seconds, with Javier Gomez leading the way with a great swim.
A lightning fast first lap broke the pack and onto lap two of the bike the lead pack had opened up an 18 second gap on the chase group. They increased this lead to almost one minute thirty seconds coming into transition 2.
However it came down to the run again and it was Javier Gomez of Spain who had the freshest legs and took the top podium spot. Young British hopeful Oliver Freeman produced a magnificent effort but was beaten into third position by a stronger Bruno Pais.
The win in Estoril moved Fernandes to the top of the European rankings.
Click here for full results of the 2006 ITU Estoril European Cup
Click here for race photo gallery
|Results: Elite Women|