By Paul Groves on 17/10/16 at 8:10 am
The Junior men delivered a great race. The Junior Women provided us with a stunning performance from a first-timer. The Elite Women’s race was a spectacular battle for the podium and for points in the ETU Rankings Series. Could the Elite Men’s race be any more exciting?
Well, with a powerful mix of athletes from Rio, of athletes who raced the WTS circuit and with some newer faces, this could be quite an unpredictable race. Would youth and innovation beat years’ of experience?
As they lined up for the swim, some were relaxed and others were clearly very tense.
The heartbeats faded away from the massive speakers. There was silence. “Take your marks”
Just losing his balance cost Jorik van Egdom NED a time penalty in T1 of 15 seconds.
The spray from the shallows made a spectacular start to the swim. Two laps out in the clear seas showed Andrey Bryukhankov RUS as the initial leader.
He came into T1 with a string of athletes behind him including Vladimir Turbaevskiy RUS, who had last secured a podium here in 2012 with a silver medal. He had been busy all day Saturday coaching his wife around the course but here he was, tucked in behind the younger Bryukhankov and looking race fit. Alongside him were both the Polyanskiy brothers; Dmitry and Igor. From Azerbaijan, Rostislav Pevtsov was in a strong position and with Francesc Godoy ESP there would be some frantic mathematical calculations going on to see who could do what with the rankings.
As they set off on the bike, a group leading the race, of 13 started to push the pace. Behind them the others would have to find something amazing to be able to bridge the gap. Van Egdom, exiting the water second to last, served his penalty and set off into the loneliness of an empty bike course. After one lap, he had caught the two athletes in front and was working hard to lead them up to the chase pack.
Out front the 13 leaders were working hard not to lose any advantage.
Bryukhankov led them on the first lap and threatened breakaways but as the 40k was ridden, the pack settled into a controlled but powerful beast and held off the chasing group.
Each time the pack came past the packed grandstand and past the hundreds of spectators who lined the transition area, there were loud cheers for the young Jonas Schomburg TUR who was having a fantastic race and who worked with the strongest athletes.
Despite the penalty, van Egdom showed the crowds just why he is the World U23 triathlon champion and ETU U23 and Elite Duathlon champion, with a masterclass of riding to bridge the gap up to the chase pack.
He worked hard at the front, rested in the pack and then worked hard again to try and bring them up to the leaders.
Into T2 and the leading group of 13 had kept off the chasers. Way back in the field we lost two athletes when a member of the public walked onto the bike course. Callum Johnson GBR and Mikita Katsianeu BLR had their raced ruined. The Brit was able to get away with cuts and bruises but for Katsianeu, his season is over and he is now out with a broken elbow. ETU would like to wish them both a speedy and full recovery. Likewise for the member of public but this is a timely reminder that the roads are closed for good reason. These are top-class athletes who race at speeds of over 60kph. We close the roads for good reason.
Back to transition. No room for error. 10k ahead. Chasing athletes behind. Legs hurting. Sun blazing.
Van Egdom led them into T2 and then it was “game on” as the 4-lap 10k run was started.
One lap down and the leading group was reduced to just 4 athletes. Pevtsov, Turbaevskiy and the Polyanskiy brothers were packed tight.
The heat was immense. The athletes had the slight sea breeze along the front but then had to climb a biting hill up into the old port area and then down to the twisting and turning section in the bazaar area. It was hot. Water was needed.
Then came the break. Pevtsov and Turbaevskiy kicked and dropped both Russian brothers. Would the race-fit Pevtsov kick once more to leave Turbaevskiy behind?
To the delight of the crowds, having seen him support his wife all around the course yesterday, it was Turbaevskiy who in the last few hundred metres, kicked and dropped Pevtsov.
As the sun burned down on the media and the spectators, it was Vladimir Turbaevskiy who added to his 2012 silver a well-deserved gold.
Pevtsov’s silver was hard-earned but it would be enough to send him to the top of the rankings table.
The younger Igor Polyanskiy, absolutely drained, had just enough to make it to the line before his brother, while behind him Dmitry had to dig deep to hold off a fast-finishing Bryukhankov and Erwin Vanderplancke BEL.
After the race, all three medal winners praised the Turkish Federation and the people who lined the course, cheering them on. All three were tired after such a long season. All three were happy to be back in the capital city of triathlon in the region. Alanya. It is simply the best way to end the season.
|9.||Francesc Godoy Contreras||ESP||01:50:21|
Find more details about this event - 2016 Alanya ETU Final Triathlon European Cup