By Paul Groves on 19/04/16 at 11:06 am
With the first day complete, it was the turn of the Elite and U23 athletes.
Gusty winds and not a glimpse of sunshine meant that it would be fresh out there. 24 athletes stepped up to the line for the Elite and U23 Men’s race. From the start there was a small group of 4 with the young and impressive Dutchman, Jorik Van Egdom tucked in with the older athletes. Born in 1995 and already with an impressive collection of international titles (World Gold in Sardinia in the Cross Triathlon Championships, U23 European Champion from Host in 2015 and World Junior Champion in Ottawa in 2013 to add to his Kijkduin World Junior gold and another Horst Gold as a Junior), he was now racing in the thick of it and against immensely experienced Elite athletes. As the pace continued, the first group grew into a fast-moving solid team of potential medal winners.
GB’s Philip Wylie led them in to T1 with a 31:18 10k. He was followed by another ten athletes, all within 4 seconds. As they tore through T1 and out onto the bike it was clear that, barring any crashes or DNFs the medals would come from this group and that if you did not have pace on the bike, then you would soon be dropped.
This was the case and soon enough the group was down to Wylie, Benoit Nicolas FRA, Germany’s Jonas Hoffmann, Van Egdom, Spain’s Emilio Martin, Belgium’s Emmanuel Lejeune, Yohan Le Berre FRA and the Romanian duathlon champion Ciprian Balanescu. Nicolas, here to defend his title, would be hoping to rely upon the support of Le Berre. Martin, with a silver last year, would be here to challenge for the title, which he would add to his world title, won last year in Adelaide.
Showing his elders that he is now a force to be reckoned with, Van Egdom kicked off the front and created a 20 second advantage.
T2 was done and gone in a flash and out onto the final 5k was a determined group of 4, led by Van Egdom. Behind was another group of four who could see their medal chances fading as the leaders pushed. It was Van Egdom who held on to his lead and who, when he ran onto the blue carpet had enough advantage over the chasing French duo to enjoy the moment. He crossed with 30 seconds to spare and behind him the French athletes fought for the silver and bronze. It was Nicolas who took silver and Le Berre who settled for bronze. The young Dutchman won not only the U23 title but also the Elite title and it will be a big search through the record books to see when, if ever, that was done before.
Normally we try to hear from the athlete but on this occasion, the words are from a very, very proud father, “Wat een topdag! Indrukwekkende prestatie van onze topper Jorik van Egdom op EK duathlon in Kalkar. Het fietsen op de nieuwe Specialized fiets was indrukwekkend. Enkele wereldtoppers losgereden. Prachtige overwinning. Super trots!” "What a top day! Impresssive performance from our top athlete Jorik van Egdom in the ETU European Duathlon Championships in Kalkar. Riding his new Specialized bike, he was impressive. Rode away from some world-cass athletes. Great victory. Dead chuffed!"
Within the Elite Men’s race the U23 athletes were also looking for gold, silver and bronze. As we saw, the race was dominated by the young Dutchman but silver – well that went to Germany’s Jonas Hoffmann who had worked so well at the front with Van Egdom. Bronze went to Belgium’s Nicolas Tilman.
Amongst the Elite Women there was also going to be a fierce battle for medals. On the start line were some seasoned duathletes. Amongst them was long-distance specialist from Denmark, Susanne Svendsen. She is more used to the non-drafting variety of duathlon where she can really, over huge distances, show her biking skills. Italy’s Sarah Dossena looked as if she was going to win this title in 2015 as she dominated the race. Sadly a bike malfunction cost her that race and the title was snatched from her hands. She is currently out with an injury but improving with every day. Instead, the Italian flag was flown by Giorgia Priarone but she would have to do battle with the French title holder, Sandra Levenez who following her gold in Alcobendas went on to win bronze in Adelaide. German fans would be cheering on Lisa Sieburger who having won the ETU Final in Sochi, finished a pretty successful 2015 with three golds and a silver on the ETU European Cup Circuit. A massive collection of points took her to second place in the ETU Rankings.
Their fast movement through T1 took them out onto the bike with an advantage that would stay with them for the rest of the 40k. Behind them the gap grew. Into T2 and once again it would be a battle between the four.
It was here that Priarone dominated and in no time at all she had created a massive lead. Chuberre Dode dropped back and it was then a question of silver and bronze to be decided by the experienced duathlete Levenez and the younger Sieburger. With valuable seconds lost in T2 it was Levenez who had to pay the price and Sieburger, to the very loud delight of the local German supporters, crossed the line to take silver.
Priarone is the new European Champion, “I didn't know what to expect on the classic duathlon distance. I thought, let's start strong on the 10k. We were a group on the bike, working until the last section, when we were in a group of 4. Out of T2 I was second and I saw the German, Sieburger a few feet ahead but I knew I had just behind me the multiple European and world champion from France, Levenez. I have to try to catch her, have to catch up. I understand that I can try. From that moment on I run as hard as I can with the fear that they were coming back to me but I don't look back and I finally got the tape in my hands! Absolute European Champion!! The excitement is so much. I wasn't the favourite and it is a big surprise for me too. I have not stopped believing.”
In the Junior Men’s race it was not an easy victory for Horn at all. He would be up against Noah Servais BEL who comes to the race fully fired up after a bronze in Melilla. Slovenian national champion, Matevz Planko would also ensure there was pace at the front.
Planko was accompanied in to T1 by Dely Arnaud BEL. Horn and Servais were chased in by Diego Luca Boraschi ITA. They streamed into T1 in the space of 2 seconds with the chase group adrift. Boraschi was soon dropped and that meant the hard work at the front could begin.
Showing tremendous pace, it was Horn who took gold just ahead of Servais and with bronze going to Planko. Horn was late getting to the start and in the first stages of the run had to burn up rather more energy than he had planned. The wind was hitting them from the side and their small group worked well, “Wir mussten Windstaffel fahren - das hat aber sehr gut geklappt" “We had to chain-gang and it worked pretty well!”
Out onto the bike and Terstch found she was doing most of the work. Behind her, despite the high tempo, it was the hard-working Germans Lena Neuburg and Lina Völker along with Italy’s Francesca Crestani who bridged the gap and with this formation they held off any challenge to enter T2 together. Terstch had tried a couple of break-aways but they had limited effect. Once on the run, she kicked and that was it.
She made the break and made it in such style that when she stood on the finish line, holding the banner high, she had time enough for the photographers. Neuburg took silver and Crestani held off Völker to ensure that bronze went to Italy.
After the race, Tertsch explained her plans, “Mein Plan war, von Beginn an in der Spitzengruppe mitlaufen. Das hat auch ganz gut geklappt" “I planned to run with the leaders from the start and that pretty much worked out.”
Many thanks to Jannemien Bosman for allowing us to use her photos. This link will take you to more from the event. Don’t forget to say thanks to her.
Big thanks also to Jürgen Aulbach for his photos. His position on the finish line and at the awards has given us some really delightful impressions of the race.
Next up - The Age Group and Para events.
|1.||Jorik Van Egdom||NED||01:47:04|
|3.||Yohan Le Berre||FRA||01:47:46|
|4.||Julie Chuberre Dode||FRA||02:00:28|
|5.||Paula Garcia Godino||ESP||02:02:39|
|10.||Sophie Van Der Most||NED||02:09:51|
|1.||Jorik Van Egdom||NED||01:47:04|
Find more details about this event - 2016 Kalkar ETU Duathlon European Championships