By David Peddie on 27/04/12 at 7:13 am
All eyes will be on Horst Du Mas this weekend for the ETU Powerman European Long Distance & Sprint Duathlon European Championships.
In a unique competition, championed by both the ETU and Powerman, the Duathlon European Championships will host a Long Distance and Sprint Distance Duathlon the first time, offering a full day of exciting racing to spectators.
Elite Men Review
An intriguing battle between two Belgian athletes, ITU World champion Joerie Vansteelant (BEL) and Pieter Rijnders (BEL) is sure to feature in the weekend’s racing.
The duo have been battling together at recent domestic competitions; Vansteelant beat Rijnders at Ruddervoorde Duathlon last weekend but Rijnders came out on top at the Geluwe Duathlon in March.
Vansteelant is a double World Champion and the reigning champion following victory in the ITU Long Distance Duathlon in Zofingen last year. However, with no International titles to his name, Rijnders will be keen to record a victory over his rival at this level.
National Belgian champion Wim De Cort suffered from a fall on the bike a few weeks ago, but showed he had made a full recovery by winning the French Long Distance Duathlon in Douai.
As always the French contingent come armed with some serious contenders and Anthony Le Duey (FRA) was 5th in Zofingen last year and will race alongside Yannick Cadalen and David Duquesnoy.
The home crowd will be cheering for Wim Nieuwkerk (NED) in his final season as a pro athlete but Raimond van der Boom (NED) posted a top 20 in Zofingen last year and maybe the best hope for a home spectators.
Matt Moorhouse (GBR - 6th in Zofingen 2011), Sergey Yakovlev (RUS – 4th in Gijon 2011) and Soren Bystrup (DEN – 4th Zofingen 2011) are also contenders and Raphael Baugh of Australia could well upset the European party.
The Elite Men Long Distance Duathlon starts at 0920 on Sunday 29th April 2012.
Elite Women Review
The Women’s race is equally intriguing and the scene is set for an epic battle as six out of last year’s top seven at Zofingen line up on the start list.
Top favourite for the Women’s title is the Dutch May Kerstens who won the Powerman World Ranking in 2011.
Ulrike Schwalbe (GER), Erika Csomor (HUN) and Eva Nystrom (SVE) should all be in contention and Stefanie Bouma (NED) and Lucy Gossage (GBR) make their Long Distance debuts.
Gossage is the British Elite Duathlon Champion and just last week she finished 2nd in Challenge Fuerteventura, finishing ahead of Nystrom and Csomor.
Katrin Esefeld (GER) was World Long Distance Champion in 2010 and has three European Duathlon Championships to her name in the last three years (2 as an Age grouper).
The Elite Women’s Long Distance Duathlon starts at 0900 on Sunday 29th April 2012.
The Long Distance course is 15km run/60km bike/7.5km run
It is the same run course for both segments, the opening run is 6 laps and the second run is 3 laps. The 60km cycle is split into 3x20km laps and overall this is one of the flattest courses on the circuit.
Four Para-triathletes are also competing in the Long Distance Duathlon Championships. In TRI-5, Alessandro Colombo (ITA), Mikel Garmendia (ESP) and Francisco Jesus San Martin Nemesio (ESP). Garmendia finished 3rd in Gijon last year.
TRI-4 is represented by Joaquin Carrasco (ESP) who finished 4th in Gijon in his classification last year.
Over 180 Long Distance Age Group athletes, and the Para-triathletes, will also start at 0900 on Sunday 29th April.
The Sprint Duathlon is open to all U23, Junior and Age Group athletes and almost 150 athletes across all classifications will compete.
In the Men’s U23 classification, Anton Melnikov (RUS) has a decent pedigree at Junior Duathlon level with three top-15 finishes in his last three events at Gijon, Edinburgh and Nancy.
David Bill (SUI) is making his first International start in a Duathlon race having performed admirably at Junior Triathlon level.
In the Women’s U23 classification, Sofie Hooghe (BEL) is a Junior World Champion after winning in Edinburgh in 2010. She followed that up with a 2nd place in her debut U23 World Championships in Gijon last year and will be one to watch in this race.
In Gijon, she finished ahead of Arina Shulgina (RUS) who showed her pedigree with third place and will be looking to go one better here.
Matthias Steinwandter (ITA) is the big favourite in the Junior Championships. The Italian rarely misses out on the podium when he races. He is the reigning World Junior Duathlon Champion and just last weekend won the Junior Triathlon European Championships in Eilat (pictured above)
There a lot of new faces in the Junior Women’s race but Georgina Schwiening (GBR) finished just outside the podium in both the European and World Duathlon Championships last year and she should improve here.
The Sprint Duathlon Championships for Junior, U23 and Age Groupers starts at 1310 on Sunday 2th April.
Follow this link for live timing updates across all race classifications throughout the day
Find more details about this event - 2012 Horst ETU Powerman Long Distance and Sprint Duathlon European Championships