By David Peddie on 22/04/12 at 10:13 am
Russia are the new Mixed Relay Elite European Championships afer a dominant performance in Eilat.
Irina Abysova, Ivan Vasiliev, Alexandra Razarenova and Dmitry Polyansky cruised to the Gold medal ahead of Germany and Ukraine who completed the podium.
Russia's Junior relay team also made it to the podium, taking third place in the Junior race as Matthias Steinwandter led Italy to Junior relay gold.
MIXED RELAY REVIEW
Eight teams competed in the super sprint relay, with each athlete faced with a 250m swim/ 5km bike/ and 1200m run.
The athletes barely touched the water and it was Ukraine who exited first with Inna Ryzhykh, followed by Carolina Routier (ESP) and Anja Knapp (GER) but the small field remained tight together.
Ryzhykh held the lead and passed to Sapunov who began lap 2 with a small gap in front of Kuster (POL) but they key moment of the race came when Ivan Vasiliev entered the race. The Russian, who finished third in the Elite Men's race yesterday, began in third place and was in the lead by the end of the swim.
Vasiliev was explosive on the bike and the run and when he passed over to Razaroneva the Russians were 25 seconds in front of their nearest challengers. It was an incredible performance considering Vasiliev's exploits yesterday.
It was the Danish team who held second and they were involved in a battle with Germany as Jensen (DEN) and Fladung (GER) took to the water on lap three. Yelistratova (UKR) was some 5 seconds behind in 4th and Spain, now under Xisca Tous, were isolated in 5th. The Polish, Hungarian and second Ukrainian team were working hard but just couldn't get near the front pack as the field was being stretched.
Razaroneva extended the Russians lead to forty seconds as Dmitry Polyansky took over. Polyansky would cruise to the finish line to win the title for Russia.
Behind Polyansky, Franz Loeschke was in second place for Germany after Fladung had won her battle with the Danes. Loeschke was on his own in second and although he did close the gap, he was never going to catch Polyanksy and he made sure Germany picked up the silver medal.
Great work from Yelistratova had reeled in Jensen and as Martynenko (UKR) and Schilling (DEN) took over respectively they were neck and neck. We had a real battle for third and it was Schilling who exited T2 in front.
However, he had to stop to serve a penalty for the Danish team allowing Martynenko to storm past and secure a podium place for the Ukrainians.
It's been a hugely successful Championships for the Russian Federation and athletes and Ivan Vasiliev said: "It’s been a really good weekend for me and I’m so happy. I was feeling good all through the race. It’s my tactic to swim fast and go out hard on the bike and run. I like the team relay because it is so fast and it looks spectacular and good for spectators and TV, but the number of countries was not so many today."
Germany, the defending Champions, had to settle for second place but Sarah Fladung was happy with their efforts. She said: “The race was really hard, but it was really good. My competition on Friday was not so good, so I’m really happy with this race. The wind was really strong and it was hot, but I worked together with the Danish woman.
"The team relay is really interesting and it’s fun to race with the men. I think it’s good for triathlon."
The Ukrainian team made it onto the podium for the second year in a row and Yuliya Yelistratova said: "We’re happy to finish with a bronze medal and to be on the podium, but next time we will go out to win. We were aiming for a medal today, hopefully the gold, but today it was the Russians."
JUNIOR RELAY REVIEW
In the Junior relay race, Matthias Steinwandter's long legs once again did the trick for Italy as he followed up his own individual Junior title by powering Italy to victory in an exciting finish.
It was a five way battle for the majority of the race between the teams from Italy, France, Russia, Great Britain and Portugal.
As they left T2 on the final lap, it was Joao Ferreira of Portugal who held a slender advantage over Ilya Prasolov (RUS), Matthias Steinwandter (ITA), Simon Viain (FRA) and Gordon Benson (GBR).
With such as short run of 1200m it was Steinwandter and Viain who set the pace and as they approached final few hundred metres they were neck and neck. Steinwandter accelerated and Viain couldn't stay with him and Italy were crowned Junior relay European Champions.
Steinwandter said: "It's amazing, it's a very short race. I think for the crowd it’s nicer as the last run was very close.
"The run is my best discipline but I thank my team mates because without them I wouldn't be able to run for victory.”
Find more details about this event - 2012 Eilat ETU Triathlon European Championships