By David Peddie on 18/07/12 at 10:05 pm
The European Triathlon season continues at pace this weekend with a visit to Geneva for the fifth European Cup race of 2012.
Geneva has cemented its position on the International racing calendar in recent years and this is the seventh event here since 2002.
Despite the WTS in Hamburg, not to mention the Olympic Games just over a fortnight away, a healthy and competitive field will take part.
Charles-Phillipe Haymoz, Technical Director of LOC Triathlon International De Geneve, is pleased the race is so popular with the athletes. He said: “We hope for a fair race with a lot of suspense which will be a great occasion for the public. We also hope the athletes enjoy our course and appreciate our organisation.
“The fact that Geneva is in the middle of Europe helps. The athletes need points to progress in the rankings so they come to us. Of course, we would like to have higher ranked athletes but we also like to be a place where beginners can make their first steps.”
There are 71 male athletes registered on a strong start list. Last year Matthew Sharp won the Elite Men’s race but he will not compete and so it will be up to Phil Wolfe to fly the British flag.
He will face stiff competition from the experience of Danylo Sapunov (UKR), Daniel Hofer (ITA) and Gregory Rouault (FRA).
A number of up and coming junior athletes make the step up to elite level here, including Jelle Geens (BEL), Czech duo Martin Debnar and Lukas Kocar and Sebastien Court (FRA).
Aurelien Lebrun (FRA) and William Huffman (USA) have also won European Junior Cups this season at Istanbul and Tiszaujvaros respectively and will be determined to prove they were not one offs.
A smaller field will line up in the Elite Women’s race where history will be made as none of the competitors have won an International Elite European Cup race before.
Nevertheless there is a strong pedigree including Romana Slavinec (AUT), who won the U23 World and European Winter Triathlon titles earlier this year and will be keen to make a successful transition to summer racing.
Five Swiss athletes line up on the start list and they will receive great home support. One of them, Celine Schaerer (pictured above), has had a difficult time with injury and illness in 2012 but is finally finding her feet again after a tough recovery.
She said: “I lost a lot of my season and I haven’t made a lot of International races. But now I train a lot to come back as fast as possible and finally the feeling is coming back but it’s not easy.
“I don’t have any expectations for this race, everything is possible. But I would be happy with a top ten.
“It’s always good to race in front of the family and friends and you always give a bit more.”
The biggest threat to a home win will be the Antipodean challenge from the likes of Charlotte McShane, Ashlee Bailie, Courtney Gillfillan (all AUS) and Mikayla Nielsen and Rebecca Kingsford (both NZL).
It was another Australian, Felicity Sheedy-Ryan, who was the winner here last year but Kingsford finished third and will look to go one better.
Find more details about this event - 2012 Geneva ITU Triathlon European Cup