By David Peddie on 28/07/11 at 5:34 pm
Matthew Sharpe (GBR) and Felicity Sheedy-Ryan (AUS) both scored long-awaited victories in International competition with success in the Elite races at Geneva. Aside from a period of rain at the end of the women’s race and the start of the men’s, the rain mostly held off and it was a glorious day on the shores of Lac Leman.
Women’s Elite Review
The women raced first and this year had their own start as the LOC took on board suggestions to improve the event. Water temperature had been up and down all week. At one point it was 25C and then it dropped to 12 but on race day it rose to a reasonable 16.7C.
The mass start on the beach saw a tumbling Finnish athlete, Kaisa Lehtonen, hit the shingle but she recovered well to get into the pack, which was led by Czech athlete Radka Vodickova. Local fans were happy to see Celine Schaerer on her heels. The two Australians, McShane, Sheedy-Ryan and New Zealander Kingsford were close behind and it was this group that worked hard at the front of the bike to build up a lead on the chase pack.
The bike course here is a true test for the cyclist. Flat along the lakeside then a steep climb up towards the US Embassy and the UN Buildings, then a fast descent back to the open boulevards of Geneva, before a U-turn and a new lap.
The lead pack came in to T2 with a comfortable lead and the five of them would contest the medals and podium places. Once on the run, however, it was massive domination by the diminutive Sheedy-Ryan. She stretched the lead and crossed the finish line with no-one near her in a time of 2:15:08. A great victory to set her up for Tiszaujvaros. Vodickova did enough for second place and Kingsford (NZ) secured third sport on the podium just ahead of home favourite Schaerer.
Men’s Elite Review
The men’s race had a strong field; Richard Varga (SVK) was expected to dominate the swim, James Elvery (NZ) the highest ranked athlete but carrying a hand injury and a clutch of promising British athletes who were hoping to do well.
As expected Varga had a comfortable lead in the swim but good positioning from Matthew Sharp (GBR), placed him at the front of the chase pack. Australian athlete Tim George was red-carded for cutting the swim course and swimming inside a buoy. He decided to carry on but pulled out after the bike.
As they ran into T1 it was Varga, Salvisberg (SUI) and Sharp. Elvery was a bit back but soon these three, joined by Italian athlete Casadei, the three Australians Amberger, Hickey and Seear, made their mark on the race. As with the women it became evident that amongst these athletes would be the distribution of medals.
A blisteringly fast T2 saw Seear set off first with Sharp a second behind him but once on the run course Sharp put the pressure on and broke away from the opposition to get his first gold medal at this level of competition. Elvery made an excellent recovery to secure second place and Alberto Casadei (ITA) was delighted to score his first ETU podium with third.
|6.||Martin Van Barneveld||NZL||01:59:40|
|7.||Simon De Cuyper||BEL||01:59:52|
|6.||Alexandra Cassan Ferrier||FRA||02:19:40|
Find more details about this event - 2011 Geneva ITU Triathlon European Cup