By David Peddie on 11/12/11 at 6:44 pm
In the first of our end of year reviews, we look at the final ETU Elite Men rankings for 2011.
Ukrainian athlete Danylo Sapunov has been confirmed as the No.1 European ranked athlete for 2011 – finishing ahead of protégé and compatriot Yegor Martynenko and Etienne Diemunsch.
As is most often the case, Sapunov has been rewarded for his consistency throughout 2011. Despite no individual race victories he posted two podium finishes and a further four top seven finishes across the European season.
Sapunov finishes with 1776.4 points, with Martynenko’s impressive end to the year scoring him 1616.0. Diemunsch finished the year third on 1452.6 just ahead of the 2009 and 2010 winner Yulian Malyshev (RUS).
Sapunov’s season began with an uninspiring 20th place at the opening European Cup in Alanya. However, he quickly improved, taking his first podium of the year with 3rd place in Quarteria.
At the European Championships in Pontevedra Sapunov finished 8th before his second European podium at Karlovy Vary.
Sapunov ended the year with back to back 5th place finishes at Eilat and Alanya but he was in no doubt about his highlight of the year, “I made the top ten at the European Championships but we were also 2nd place as a relay team,” he said.
Of his No.1 status Sapunov said: “That’s great, I am really pleased. It has been a hard year.
“I am not very happy with some of the competitions as I was unable to get on the podium at many of the stages.
“But I spent a lot of time in the mountains, training hard at altitude and in general, I am satisfied with my season.”
Sapunov was even more pleased with the progress of Yegor Martynenko. Sapunov has been training and coaching Martynenko for the last two years and the experience and advice passed down reaped some positive results thanks to Martynenko’s stunning end to the season.
Sapunov said: “Early in the year I set him a challenge to be on a podium. It turned out better than I could have hoped for with 2nd place in the rankings and three stage wins.”
Martynenko enjoyed a remarkable end to the European season with back to back victories within 4 days at Eilat and Alanya. Combined with a European Cup win at Karlovy Vary it has been an exceptional breakthrough year for the 24 year old.
He said: It's very prestigious to be number 2 in the rankings. In the beginning of the year I didn’t think that I could rise so highly.
“I didn't expect it to turn out this way but I'm very glad to get these results. This season was awesome; it has been a great experience and I am a much more confident athlete.
“I worked really hard to prepare for the end of season races with my coach Danylo Sapunov and I hope that the next year will be even better.”
A fantastic result for the Ukrainian Federation and they will hope to continue their good form onto bigger and better things next year.
Unsurprisingly, the big goal for 2012 according to Sapunov is the Olympics. He said: I want to represent Ukraine at the Olympics
For full details of the ETU Elite Men European Rankings follow the link here.
Find more details about this event - 2011 Alanya ITU Triathlon Premium European Cup