Kusadasi gets its name from the small island, Bird Island that lies off the beach. Well known as a tourist destination for the thousands of Dutch, Belgian and German tourists and a few British and French it is now on the triathlon map after its first ever International Triathlon, as part of the European Cup Series, 2007.
Racing took place on the Sunday after the LOC made a few amendments to the course to make the swim fairer and safer. The crowds gathered, as did the rain clouds, and the junior field, all Turkish, set off. As they exited the swim the rain fell and the roads became very slippery. Technical Officials quickly learnt the Turkish word for slow down and were soon shouting out, Yava ! as the athletes came to the turn point.
One of the Turkish junior females crashed out but bravely continued only to crash again. At this point she was taken to hospital as a precaution but, pronounced fit, she was able to return to the finish to cheer on her fellow athletes as they crossed the finish line.
The public were warmed up by now as the rain stopped and the sun came out and they were ready for the Elite racing.
Only a small field of women made it down to this lovely resort but it was a strong group of 15 who set off into the bay for the swim. Favourites were Deniz DIMAKI from Greece, who currently leads the ranking, with Birgit BERK from the Netherlands, Kathrin MULLER from Germany, Evgenia KOSHELNIKOVA from Ukraine and a welcome return from the Dutch Olympian Wieke HOOGZAAD.
In the swim it was BERK and MULLER who led the women out, with HOOGZAAD and BRUNKHORST a few seconds adrift. Chasing them was the strong cyclist DIMAKI and fresh from a top 10 placing in San Remo was the Swiss athlete Tamara TOUBAZIS. A problem with spotting the turn buoys led the women to swim a little further than 1500m but they were soon guided back on course by the technical officials.
Out onto the bike and the German / Dutch alliance of BERK and MULLER worked hard and effectively to keep themselves well away from a chasing and very lonely HOOGZAAD. She spent a couple of laps working hard by herself before she sensibly drifted back into the pack of TOUBAZIS, KOSHELNIKOVA, DIMAKI and BRUNKHORST. After 5 laps the leaders had created a safety buffer of two minutes, but the powerful running of DIMAKI and HOOGZAAD would still remain a challenge. Some brave riding and amazing bike control allowed the Ukrainian athlete Olesya PRYSTAYKO not only to catch the chase group but also to dodge one of the numerous members of the wandering Turkish public who had escaped onto the course. So by the end of the 5th lap there was a chase group of six but into the 6th and 7th laps this broke down into two chase groups with DIMAKI, PRYSTAYKO and HOOGZAAD well-placed.
Out onto the run and the Dutch and German supporters shouted their encouragement to the two leaders, BERK and MULLER. The German pulled away during the course of the run and further down the field DIMAKI was putting distance between her and the Ukrainian and Dutch chasers. To an ecstatic crowd the first KUADASI International Triathlon, organised by the towns Rotary Club, was won by the young German athlete with BERK some 50 seconds behind. Third place went to the DIMAKI who clocked the fastest run of the day. Fourth place went to PRYSTAYKO and 5th to HOOGZAAD.
The men started as the sun was at its hottest and the mass-start was enjoyed by all on the beach. As the athletes headed out to the first turn it was a powerful and we were later told, tough pack of arms and legs belonging to 18 men that established a lead. Out of the water they came so fast that the time-keepers had difficulty seeing just who was who. But in that group was the Kiwi Clark ELLICE, Swiss athlete Ruedi WILD, Irishman Gavin NOBLE, Frenchman Pierre DOREZ, the powerhouses from Germany, Christian PROCHNOW, Helge MUTESCHARD and the Dutch athletes Edo Van Der MEER and Youri SEVERIN.
A lightning-quick transition left the crowd wondering how these elite athletes could change so quickly from super-swimmers to super-cyclists and soon the bike course was watching the men lap at about nine minutes for each of the tough 5.5k loops. The pack stayed tight and even after falling on the fourth lap, both Van Der MEER and the Russian Evgeny POLYANSKIY managed to stay in contention. MUETSCHARD tried a solo break away but the peleton soon caught him.
To the delight of the crowd the whole peleton came into T2 together and gave a wonderful lesson in just how to get through T2 as quickly as possible and then the run started.
After 5k there was a break-away of three, with Germans Thomas SPRINGER and Jonathan ZIPF and the Swiss WILD pulling away from the pack. WILD put pressure on them during the latter part of the third lap and as they turned by Transition to start the final lap he looked strong and in command. The spectators lined the promenade to cheer the athletes home and a jubilant WILD took the title in style, winning by a clear 50m from ZIPF, with SPRINGER 50m behind him. The next athlete over the line was also from Germany, giving the Team Manager much joy and putting the name of PROCHNOW into a good position for the rankings. In 5th came the Frenchman DOREZ.
The organisers were honoured with the presence of the Minister for Tourism who, with ETUs Goran VBRANEC presented medals to the men after the women had received their medals from the ETU Technical Delegate, Paul Groves. Later in the evening the 15,000 in prize money was shared out amongst the top ten men and women and the town of KUADASI settled down, still amazed at the power, speed and strength of these athletes.
1. WILD Ruedi SUI 01:54:13
2. ZIPF Jonathan GER 01:54:21
3. SPRINGER Thomas GER 01:54:30
4. PROCHNOW Christian GER 01:54:48
5. DOREZ Pierre FRA 01:54:56
6. SEVERIN Youri NED 01:55:22
7. RANK Sebastian GER 01:55:28
8. FROMMHOLD Nils GER 01:55:54
9. NOBLE Gavin IRL 01:56:04
10. BUCHHOLZ Gregor GER 01:56:07
1. MULLER Kathrin GER 02:11:26
2. BERK Birgit NED 02:12:18
3. DIMAKI Deniz GRC 02:12:43
4. PRYSTAYKO Olesya UKR 02:13:13
5. HOOGZAAD Wieke NED 02:14:28
6. KOSHELNIKOVA Evgenia RUS 02:16:00
7. BRUNKHORST Lena GER 02:16:32
8. TOUBAZIS Tamara SUI 02:19:03
9. ARANY Gita HUN 02:22:07
10. MOUCHOY Irini GRC 02:39:31
|Results: Elite Men|