By David Peddie on 15/07/12 at 10:06 am
Victor Manuel Del Corral Morales defended his European Cross Triathlon Championships title with a dramatic win in Kijkduin.
In an exciting final lap, 54 year old Rob Barel (NED) was in the lead and closing in on victory on home turf. But Barel was over taken by Kris Coddens (BEL) before Del Corral Morales (ESP) passed Coddens to win by ten seconds.
In the Women’s Elite race, Helena Erbenova (CZE) continued her remarkable rise in 2012 with a strong and confident victory. The European and World Triathlon Champion made a seamless transition to sand biking but admitted to not being ‘a great fan of either snow or sand but she definitely preferred summer’.
Erbenova finished ahead of the great Carina Wasle (AUT) who was gunning for her third European Cross Triathlon title. Wasle had to settle for second place but nevertheless this is her third Cross Triathlon podium in three years.
As the Dutch triathlon icon Rob Barel predicted at the pre race press conference: "The run will decide the outcome of tomorrow's race". And indeed it did - perhaps to his own dismay, as Barel finished fourth, despite dominating most of the race.
The Dutch team hoped home advantage would play a part given their extensive experience on the race course. Two Dutchmen, last year's winner Edo van der Meer and Evert Scheltinga, were first out of the water in just under thirteen minutes, but were soon joined by Barel on the mountain bike course on the beach and through the dune area of Den Haag.
Frenchman Brice Daubord exited the water close after the leaders, but could not follow on the mountain bike. Evert Scheltinga had to pull out because of a flat, but his older brother Diederik Scheltinga was able to join the leading group. Del Corral Morales followed one minute behind.
In the second and third mountain bike lap, Belgium athlete Kris Coddens moved up to third place, closely followed by Del Corral Morales. In the last kilometers leading to T2, Barel forced a small gap and managed to start the run with a margin of just over thirty seconds.
He was able to maintain his lead until the third run lap, to be overtaken by Kris Coddens, Victor Del Corral, and in the end by a charging Brice Daubord.
In the end, Coddens could not hold off Del Corral Morales and finished second.
In the women's race, Hana Kolarova (CZE) was first out of the NorthSea, soon to be followed by the Dutch Ilona Eversdijk. But in the first mountain bike lap, Carina Wasle charged to the front. The second Czech woman in the race, Helena Erbenova, suffered on the swim, but with the fastest bike split she managed to be the first one back in T2, just before Wasle.
And the fastest run split brought her second European title this year, after her gold at the European Winter Triathlon Championships in Valsesia, Italy.
Wasle easily brought home silver, Dutch Maud Golsteyn picked up the bronze.
Kijkduin will host the European Championships in 2013 aswell as the World Cross Championships. For the European athletes this was an excellent opportunity to gain experience on this extraordinary kind of cross triathlon, with a big accent on beach biking.
ETU Vice President Sarah Springman said: “The Kijkduin LOC and the Netherlands Triathlon Bond have done a splendid job in managing some challenging weather conditions and the athletes have produced some exciting racing with the lead changing throughout.
“Racing through the surf, on the sand and riding down sets of stairs proved to be a Great spectacle. With the World Championships here next year it will be a race well worth coming too.”
Pictures Courtesy: Marcel Van Vuren
|1.||Victor Manuel Del Corral Morales||ESP||01:51:51|
|6.||Edo Van Der Meer||NED||01:55:49|
|5.||Judy Van Den Berg||NED||02:20:55|
Find more details about this event - 2012 Den Haag ETU Cross Triathlon European Championships