By Paul Groves on 13/10/17 at 1:41 pm
2017 has been a long season and with our two European Championships in Kitzbühel and Düsseldorf over the standard and sprint distances, athletes were able to collect a maximum of 600 points as winners. This was a chance for Elite as well as Junior athletes to boost their rankings.
Points were awarded in line with the published guidance and only athletes finishing within 5% (in the case of male athletes) and 8% (for women) of the winner were eligible to win points.
This, of course, kept the pressure up on the athletes when they were racing against very strong competitors.
The next level of points went to the Premium European Cups and this year we had just the one in Holten. A maximum of 400 point were available there.
Our European Cups attracted a possible maximum of 250 points. We had a really good selection of races spread all over Europe.
Within our European Triathlon Union, we have a number of smaller groups that regularly host races to decide the titles. This year we had Balkan, Baltic, Mediterranean and Nordic Championship races, which gave athletes a chance to win, at these Regional Championships, a maximum of 150 points.
The final chance for points came with our ETU Cup Final and this is where a maximum of 500 points were up for grabs, giving athletes a great incentive for a last race of the season.
The events can only attract ranking points if they are open races and we have been fortunate this year to see so many athletes from far and wide coming to Europe to race the best events in the world, alongside the best athletes in the world and supported, of course, by the best officials in the world. A small bias but Europe is, simply the best!
As in previous years, only those athletes who race the ETU Elite Cup Final get a chance to go home with the end of season bonus pay-out and so some very happy faces were seen in Melilla last Sunday.
The event prize-money was good, at €25,000 but this race had the additional ETU Executive Board bonus of €40,000, which would be distributed, for men and women, as follows:
- 1st 5,000 €
- 2nd 4,000 €
- 3rd 3,000 €
- 4th 2,000 €
- 5th 1,600 €
- 6th 1,400 €
- 7th 1,200 €
- 8th 800 €
- 9th 600 €
- 10th 400 €
At the very start of the season, Spain’s Uxío Abuín Ares stated that his objective for 2017 was to repeat his previous success and win the ETU Rankings Series. With the double-European champion, João Pereira from Portugal on the start-list and with Raphaël Montoya, France’s Grand Final winner also present Abuín had a tough challenge. Racing his fifth event in as many weeks, the popular Spaniard had the crowds supporting him but it was the stunning speed of Jelle Geens that stole the show. The Belgian was one of the many DNFs in the miserable weather that enveloped the World Championships in Rotterdam and so, with the sun on his back in Melilla, he was able to put the ghosts to sleep and pull out the race of his life, beating Montoya and Pereira, who crashed out and pushing Abuín into third place.
In the final standings, only one athlete was absent from the men’s race. João Silva missed out on his fifth place payment of €1,600 and so this enabled GB’s Liam Lloyd, who came home in 7th, with a great race, to claim the prize-money forfeited by Silva.
The athletes shown below in yellow are the lucky cash-winners.
Click here to see the final points and how they were won for the ETU Rankings Series: Men
With the women, it was a different matter entirely. A last-minute decision on her fitness enabled Russia’s Anastasia Abrosimova to race. It was a good call and she gave a powerful display of racing all the way to the line. Her season has taken her around the world and after a disappointing race in Rotterdam, her silver medal in Melilla was a clear indication that her form has returned.
The pressure upon her was immense due to the presence of Vendula Frintová and Claire Michel. The Czech athlete was on fire after her victory in Huelva and Michel, always dangerous on the run, has had a steady season too.
The crowds were treated to high drama with Frintová crashing in the latter stages of the bike and then running through the pack to attack the leaders. Michel ran her heart out and literally staggered over the line to be caught by the medics who looked after her and brought the smile back in time for the awards ceremony.
The top four women in the rankings walked away with nice paycheques. Switzerland’s Jolanda Annen missed out on €1,400 and so Ines Santiago had that share of the money. There was then a gap, with the absence of key athletes, giving Sandra Dodet, Kseniia Levkovska, Cecilia Santamaria Surroca and Annamaria Mazzetti a small but welcome end of season reward.
The athletes shown below in yellow are the lucky cash-winners
Click here to see the final points and how they were won for the ETU Rankings Series: Women
The Junior Athletes have also been collecting points throughout the season and this year we have seen so many great performances that we can feel pretty certain that the future of athletes is secure and that federations all over Europe have been investing well in the training of these future Olympians. We will be running a series of stories about the ETU Junior Development Camps as we head towards the end of the year.
The points collected by the Juniors help the National Federations to compete against each other and for the top three to be recognised with a cheque at the end of the year, presented by the ETU Executive Board that will enable further investment in the development of their juniors.
Austria, this year, has been strong and with the stunning victory in Melilla by their young and impressive athlete, Theresa Feuersinger, the points total took the Austrian Federation way into the lead. With new athletes coming through, Hungary took second place and France just lost out at the final event, moving down one place to third.
The individual Junior Women’s rankings show that in the top ten, Austria has three athletes. Winner this year is Jessica Fullagar FRA, with Russia’s Valentina Riasova, winner of the bronze medal in Melilla in second and Pia Totschnig in third.
For the Junior Men, it is Hungary that dominates the top three places, with two of their athletes, Csongor Lehman, winner in Melilla and Gergő Soós up there, separated only by the reigning European Junior Champion, Vasco Vilaça.
Today sees the release of dates for the 2018 season to the National Federations and confirmation of most of the race dates. We will be running an article soon to share with you these exciting dates.
Our ETU Ranking Cup final in 2018 will be hosted once more by FETRI and this time in Huelva on 7th October, once again with the both Junior and Elite athletes racing.
Find more details about this event - 2017 Melilla ETU Triathlon European Cup Final