By Paul Groves on 08/07/15 at 11:43 am
The targeting of smaller races by athletes to gain points certainly worked to the Australian’s advantage last weekend in Tartu.
With a pretty tough river swim, complete with challenging current it did not start off so well for the Southern Hemisphere athletes as Ukraine’s Sergiy Kurochkin and GBR athlete Alastair Rogers left the water first. Marcel Walkington AUS was well-placed.
It was Matthew Baker AUS who overtook Kurochkin on the run to T1 with Massimo De Ponti ITA close behind but Rogers who entered the red-carpeted Transition Area first.
Out on the bike a lead group soon was caught and as they came into T2 it was Fabian Göggel GER who stepped off the bike and onto the carpet first.
Declan Wilson AUS, Baker, Patrick Rhyner SUI, Daniel Hofer ITA, De Ponti, Henrik Goesch FIN, Hsieh Shen-Yen TPE, were all looking to set the pace on the run but it was the two Australians who scorched to the front and made the chasing athletes hurt.
Behind them De Ponti had enough to break Hofer but fast-running Felix Duchampt FRA as making moves through the chase pack. With Rhyner in his sight he knew that his race fitness would be a test for them both. But the tall Marcel Walkington, was running well and it would be a battle between these three to catch Hofer and challenge for the podium.
With the finish line in sight, Wilson kicked and left countryman Baker behind. De Ponti did not quite have enough to catch him and settled for bronze with team-mate and colleague Hofer just missing out.
Behind them the big battle came between Walkington and Duchampt. Today however, it was Walkington who just held off the fastest runner of the day Felix Duchampt. Afterwards he said, “7th place in Tartu, Estonia! After Zug (3rd place) and Kiev (4th place) the 3rd good race in three weeks.” One to watch, this young Frenchman.
For the women the swim was also a challenge.
In the past we have seen swim strength from Zsanett Horváth HUN and once again this was a race for her. No wetsuit, strong current; a swimmer’s swim.
She exited the water with South African Anel Radford but then had enough pace to enter T1 first.
Alessia Orla ITA was close behind out of the water but took advantage of the run to transition.
On the bike Horváth and Orla worked together for a couple of laps before Horvath went for it.
Behind them Giorgia Priarone ITA was so strong on the bike that she more than made up for the more than a minute advantage Horváth had in the swim. Not so long ago she placed 7th in the ETU Challenge Midddle Distance European Championships in Rimini. The Italian team really has shown it is capable of mixing and matching the distances as we saw with Sara Dossena in Holten, the day before.
It was Horváth leading into T2
Much to the local supports’ delight, Estonian Kaidi Kivioja was making the bike leg look easy and she entered T2 in a strong position.
So, apart from Horváth, who was in a commanding position, the remaining positions on the podium looked up for grabs.
With Horváth out in front it was the joint efforts of Priarone and Kivioja that really got the cheers going along the run course.
Only after the turn point did the elastic snap and Priarone took off to snatch silver.
This left Kivioja to battle away in no man’s land but lifted by the cheers she held off the chasing athletes and took bronze with Radford missing the podium by seconds.
After the race, Horváth was jubilant, “I have great memories of Tartu as I got my first Elite ITU points here back in 2013. The challenging river swim worked well for me and I managed to exit the water in first position. We worked together on the bike with an Italian girl for two laps, but I felt stronger so I pushed on and went into T2 with a 30 second lead. After the hard bike I was able to run my best split in this season and I only focused on staying ahead of the chasing group.”
For Kivioja, “Today was a great day! Gave everything I had and got a 3rd place at Tartu ETU Cup. Thanks for all the support, you are the best! Suur aitäh! It sure was awesome to get on the podium in front of my family and friends and all the people cheering for me. Since I'm not the strongest swimmer the swimming in the upstream of the river was really hard for me and the loss for the leaders was a bit more than I was expecting. But I'm confident in my cycling and knew I could make that time up if everything went well. Luckily the Italian girl Priarone was really strong on the bike and with her help we got to the main pack quite fast. On the run I didn't feel as good as usually this year, but I tried to start fast to see who would come with me. On the second lap I was really suffering and after the turnaround the Italian got away. I knew that there were girls right behind me who wanted to be on that podium as well. But with so many people cheering for me I just couldn't give up. It felt amazing to cross that line knowing that I didn't disappoint anyone and it really felt like I had won the race. The organizers did an amazing job with the race and Estonian triathlon fans are really awesome, so it was great to please them with that podium."
Many thanks to local photographer Jüri Suurkivi for the images. For a full selection of his work, click this link
|3.||Massimo De Ponti||ITA||00:58:21|
Find more details about this event - 2015 Tartu ETU Sprint Triathlon European Cup