Slovakian and German success in Nove Mesto
Slovakian and German success in Nove Mesto
A very hard course was waiting for the athletes this morning at the Winter Triathlon
World Cup race in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. The snow quality changed from
deep through icy onto ice-water within the course, which made it tough for the
almost 70 competitors to get into a good rhythm. The strong bikeride specialists
were in big advantage with the hilly, technical profile and the strong, gusty
winds. Fortunately no rain was coming down as expected, and the sky cleared
up by 10.00, as the women went to the start line.
As expected, current European Champion Sigrid Lang (Germany) went to the front immediately, and with her one of the top runners in the field, youngster Carina Wasle from Austria. Marianne Vlasveld from the Netherlands followed close behind together with local Sarka Grabmuellerova and Lubomira Kalinova. Surprisingly Wasle managed to build up a gap to Lang and the others, which she managed to increase up to almost a minute to the German at the end of the 7 K course, who also had a close gap of half a minute to Vlasveld.
The men started 15 minutes after the women, with Slovakian favourite Patrik Kuril going to the front immediately, together with the young Czech Ales Lanik. Just Sigi Bauer from Austria seemed to be able to keep the gap small to the top two athletes, the others were dropping back, so was German oldie Thomas Schrenk. At the end of the 7 K, Lanik was the first to get on his bike closely followed by Kuril who managed to overtake him at the very beginning after a lightning transition. Bauer followed one minute behind, Schrenk on his “new” bike (his one was stolen 2 nights before the race from his car) in 7th place with almost two minutes.
On the bike course, with all the technical skills required, Lang went to the front and built up her lead continously, no one seemed to be able to follow her, not even Vlasveld who didn´t seem to get along with the tough conditions. Grabmuellerova and Kalinova dropped behind as well, while Wasle, who dominated the run leg, seemed completely lost - she crashed more than 5 times in the deep snow sections. At the end of this leg, Sigrid Lang had a comfortable lead of three minutes to Vlasveld in 2nd and Kalinova in 3rd.
Kuril went on like a rocket on the rollercoaster course, the only one to match him was the unlucky German Schrenk who - despite of suffering hard on the new bike - managed to keep up with his unbelieveble pace, but still was not able to get closer to the man from Strbske Pleso. Bauer, the Czech Pavel Jindra and Slovakian Peter Barton followed far behind.
At the women´s race, all seemed clear at the ski leg, the only remaining question was whether Kalinova or Grabmuellerova wins the bronze. So Sigrid Lang won in a serene manner, putting almost 4 minutes on Vlasveld in 2nd and more than 10 minutes (!) on Kalinova who got on the podium after a big match with her Czech opponent. Wasle and Letenska followed them on the places.
At the men´s race, the podium seemed to be clear as well: Kuril cruised easily to the World Cup win, while Schrenk in 2nd managed to maintain his position, although suffering hard from his “bike adventure”. Bauer got a bit closer to him, but his performance was just enough for the Bronze today. Barton, Jindra and local Frantisek Zilak was the following finish order.
Lang was very happy with her performance: “The bike leg was the decider today. When I saw that Marianne (Vlasveld) is not getting closer, I already knew that I have a good chance to win. No question, this is one of the toughest courses I´ve ever seen, so I´m extremely happy about the win. Hope I can repeat my performance at the World Championships in Strbske Pleso”.
Patrik Kuril was also satisfied with his success: “I tried to save my legs on run, because I knew it´s gonna be extremely difficult riding up those hills in the deep snow. My tactic worked out perfectly, and it was worth it taking a high risk at the fast downhill sections, I managed to avoid crashes. Great!” Thomas Schrenk was extremely exhausted, but also happy: “After my bike was stolen, my goal was to get into one of the ´award positions´ to have a budget to buy a new one so that I´m able to start at the World´s. My legs are burning badly, I am just ´kaputt´.”
Unfortunately here was a big flu epidemy in the Czech Republic by the time of the race, so 20 athletes who have registered for the race could not start.
So, a great race with two great winners has ended, which might give us an appetite
for more: we are looking forward to another great race next week in Holmenkollen,
Norway, and of course the World Championships on the first weekend of March
in Strbske Pleso, Slovakia.