By David Peddie on 29/10/12 at 8:59 am
Kristian Blummenfelt has been crowned as the No.1 European ranked Junior male athlete for 2012.
The Norwegian had a stunning year – with three podiums, including a Junior European Cup victory.
Blummenfelt began 2012 with a surprise third place finish at the European Championships in Eilat.
He followed that up with a third place finish in Holten but the best was yet to come – victory at Tabor (the second of his Junior career) propelled him to the top of the rankings.
An 8th place finish in Aguilas was enough to secure top spot and the Norwegian said: “It's always fun to be ranked high.
“I am happy with the progress I've had this year. I feel that I have become stronger in all three disciplines this year, compared to last season. I've got more experience and have more confidence during races than last year.
“The highlight of 2012 was definitely the bronze medal in Eilat. After a very hard winter, with maybe too much and too hard training, it felt really good to get back in good shape.”
Italian Junior Matthias Steinwandter finished second for the second year in a row.
After losing out last year to Jelle Geens by 42 points, agonisingly Steinwandter was 37 points behind Blummenfelt.
Steinwandter (pictured above left) became European Champion in Eilat and was part of a talented Italian set up who also secured the team relay gold.
But Steinwandter’s development saw him concentrate on Duathlon and a third place finish in Horst and a runners up finish at the World Championships in Nancy perhaps impacted on his final rankings place. Nevertheless, it was another fantastic year for the Italian – definitely one to watch.
Such is the closeness of competition at Junior level, and the range of different European Cup winners, a surprise third place was Amitai Yonah of Israel.
Nevertheless, a look at Yonah’s performances in 2012 suggest he is deserving of a third place finish and is an athlete who has finally come to prominence.
After finishing 38th in Quarteira, 7th place on home turf at the European Championships in Eilat seemed to be the catalyst for Yonah.
A podium finish at Tiszaujvaros was the confidence he needed to score highly away from Israel – and his reputation was cemented further with victory in Aguilas – the first European Cup victory of his career (pictured above, right).
The European rankings are accumulative and reflect the results from all European Cup, Premium European Cup races and European Championships in 2012, as well as a percentage of points from last year.
For complete details and listings of the 2012 ETU European Rankings – click here.