By David Peddie on 11/07/12 at 9:22 pm
One of the biggest triathlon competitions in Europe takes place this weekend with the ETU Cross Triathlon European Championships in Den Haag.
Cross Triathlon once again shows the diversity of the sport and this particular variation is growing consistently, despite being in its relative infancy.
The first ETU Cross Triathlon European Championships took place in Ibiza in 2007 with Eneko Llanos (ESP) and Carina Wasle (AUT) the inaugural winners.
Wasle went onto to win again in 2010 in Myjava and finished third last year in Visegrad. Renata Bucher (SUI) is also a Cross Triathlon double winner following her victories in 2009 and 2011 but the reigning champion is not competing in Den Haag, offering Wasle, who has never missed a European Championships, the chance to become a triple winner and undisputed Queen of European Cross Triathlon.
One competitor to look out for in the Women’s Elite is Helena Erbenova (CZE). The Czech athlete exploded onto the Winter Triathlon scene by becoming European and World Winter Triathlon champion in her debut season.
It will be interesting to see how she makes the transition from the snow and ice of winter triathlon to the off-road tracks of Cross Triathlon.
A big favorite in the Elite Men’s race is reigning European champion Victor Manuel Del Corral Morales and the Spaniard will be determined to regain his title.
Behind Del Corral, a large group of contenders will fight for one of the medal places. The chances of the Belgians and Dutch must be considered relatively high given the technical adjustments required for ‘beach biking’, which come naturally to them.
In addition, the Dutch, as a result of several training camps in Kijkduin, have the advantage of thorough course knowledge.
Tim Van Daele, who won his Age group category at the 2012 Shelby County ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships and Xterra Southeast Championship, is one Belgian who could be successful here.
For the Dutch, Evert Scheltinga is a Dutch Cross Duathlon Champion and the experienced Bert Flier and Rob Barel have also won a race on this course in the past and can never be counted out.
In addition to the Elite athletes, there are Junior and U23 European Cross Triathlon titles up for grabs.
Over 135 Age Group athletes will also compete, along with 6 Para-triathletes.
There will be an intriguing battle in TRI-5 category as the experienced Martin Falch (AUT) – winner in Kitzbuehel and Madrid earlier this year, and runner up at the European Championships in Eilat - takes on rookie Reitze Bok.
Find more details about this event - 2012 Den Haag ETU Cross Triathlon European Championships