By Paul Groves on 07/08/15 at 11:58 am
Riga this weekend promises a lot. Last year saw a great race but this year the Organisers, the Latvian Triathlon Federation, the sponsors and the City Authorities have really gone to town. Not only is there €10,000 in prize-money up for grabs but also, of course, those valuable ETU points.
The season is well underway and with the 2015 Sochi ETU Triathlon European Cup Final coming at the end of September, this is time for athletes to hit as many events as possible so that they can chase for the title glory and of course the huge pay-out. ETU HQ this week reminds us that we have €30,000 overall prize money for the ranking and €10,000 prize money for the Junior National Ranking. For the Elite, the prize-money goes to the individual athlete but for the juniors that money goes to the Federation.
The build-up is well underway with the Organisers taking daily water temperature readings.
Meetings have been held and the local media is fully behind the race.
As the athletes begin to arrive the “Meeting and Greeting” procedures are in full swing. As a Technical Delegate (the Senior Official appointed to the race) it is always an exciting moment when you arrive at an airport and are met by the Organisation. On this occasion, Kitty Van Blois NED, arrived at the same time as defending gold-medallist, Patrick Rhyner SUI
So, the athletes are in Riga, the build is on. Let’s have a look at the start lists for Sunday.
First off will be the women. This race was won last year by Angelica Olmo ITA. She is not present this year; in fact the only top ten athlete from 2014 is Italian Giulia Sforza. Her 2014 7th place when she was still a junior has given her a good foundation to build up into Elite racing this year. A top ten place in the Italian national championships will be a good test for her this weekend as she is up against some big hitters who have many years of racing experience.
A very welcome return to racing comes this weekend for Yuliya Yelistratova UKR. After a solid and consistent 2014, with overall victory, loads of points and nice pay-check, Yelistratova won the Ranking Final in Madrid. Since then she won bronze in Alanya and Cozumel, gold in Burgas, came 4th in Baku and 5th in Chengdu. A really nasty crash on home soil in Kyiv saw her out of action but with step by step recuperation, she is back this weekend after a test race in Ukraine.
It will not be an easy race for her, as she will be up against Mariya Shorets RUS who will be hoping to get just a little closer to the podium this time after her 5th in Tartu. Belgium’s Claire Michel with her 8th in Baku is certainly one to watch. Inna Ryzhykh UKR, who took gold following Yelistratova’s crash, is there too and will hope to secure a good position after the swim. From “over the pond” comes Jessica Hastings CAN. A top ten in Zagreb was a good start on the international triathlon stage. In good form at the moment is Turkey’s Ipek Öztosun. Top ten in Burgas, a 4th in Zagreb and one of the fastest runners we have seen from Turkey for many a year, she could well see a podium here.
33 women, 21 nations. The women start at 13:00hrs.
For the men we know that Patrick Rhyner SUI is back but this year he will have a real fight on his hands. The men start at 15:30hrs and leading the rankings are the two Bryukhankov brothers. Alexander has been largely absent from the European Circuit, choosing to race instead WTS. One podium this year, in New Plymouth, kept him ticking over and a top ten in Baku showed that he was in good form. He will have his brother, Andrey missed the podium earlier this year in Alanya and since then has had some disappointing results but cannot be ignored as his gold in Karlovy Vary shows.
From Ukraine comes this year’s Kyiv winner, Yegor Martynenko. Gold in Kyiv and silver in Burgas. He will be with athletes he knows and as always, will give a great performance. In Burgas it was a bronze to Kyiv-born Vladimir Turbaevskiy RUS. He has been working hard with his partner Yelistratova to help her back to fitness for this race and will be coming to Riga hungry for a challenge.
66 men, 28 nations – this will certainly tell the world that triathlon is in Latvia and here to stay !
The organisers have really stepped up to the mark this year and have set in motion all you need to keep up to date with the race as it happens. Use the hash tag #rigatriathlon2015 when publishing pictures or any other information on triathlon in social networks. You can follow the event on https://twitter.com/Triathlon_Riga?lang=en-gb">Twitter and on Facebook – Latvian Triathlon Federation.
Follow the race on-line with the live broadcast provided by LMT Straume.
The official transportation partner for athletes and guests is taxi company Red Cab. And the organisers, working hard with this company, have arranged that for airport transfers to any location in the city, you can get a 23% discount for the boarding and 15% for the distance tariff if the passenger gives the password „Riga Triathlon”.
So – enjoy the weekend and let’s look forwards to seeing some great photos from Riga.
Find more details about this event - 2015 Riga ETU Sprint Triathlon European Cup