By Paul Groves on 11/08/17 at 6:59 pm
With Riga providing racing opportunities for the Juniors, Wuustwezel will step up to the International Table and provide racing for the Elite this weekend.
It looks like being a tremendous festival of racing, with over 1 500 athletes heading to the town to take part in a Kids’ run, Kids’ triathlon, Team triathlon and a Sprint triathlon. All these events will be in the open category and will provide a great opportunity for development of the sport in Belgium. With the showcase ETU Triathlon European Cup taking place, athletes coming for the open races will be able to sue the same course as the Elite and then will be able to watch and be part of the exciting European Cup.
Wish you were there?
Well, both races will be filmed by Sporza, the biggest television station in Belgium. So, around 17:00 on Sunday, if you can tune in to Belgian TV. Then you can watch a 20 minute broadcast. The LOC has done its best to bring the athletes to Wuustwezel and by using homestays, each athlete has the chance to stay with a Wuustwezel-family to prepare themselves for the race with the most relaxing “at home” feelings.
Like the idea? Well, let’s hope the race comes back next year and that Wuustwezel becomes a firm fixture on our schedule.
For the Elite Women, it looks like the ETU Rankings could be given a bit of a shake-up. Wearing#1 is Russia’s Elena Danilova. She will part of the 44-strong women’s start, with 21 nations represented and of course, as we have come to expect, visitors from outside Europe here to enjoy our top quality races, great venues, warm European hospitality and of course, prize-money and points.
Danilova certainly looks the strongest, with some tough races already behind her and this event will give her not only a good chance for a podium finish but also for a share in the €10,000 and points that should move her up the top ten amongst the Elite Women. Spain has high hopes for Camila Alonso Aradas and Cecilia Santamaria Surroca. Alonso’s tenth place last weekend in very tough conditions at the U23 Championships in Velence will have sharpened her race fitness and together with Surroca they could work hard and get a good position in the pack for the final run. Also race fit from Velence is Switzerland’s Estelle Perriard. 7th place for her and she may be the target for the Spanish athletes.
Watch out for Aussie Tamsyn Moana-Veale. A great bronze in Holten and a 6th in Rotterdam last year. Great memories for her from her races here in Europe. Hungary’s Zsannett Bragmayer is going to be tough to catch and after Velence is in great form. Denied the gold last weekend she was oh so powerful in the water and rode well against a stronger Taylor-Brown, who is not tracing this weekend. On home soil and with truly impressive pace on the bike and run, Belgium’s Laura Swannet is certainly one to watch and with the home crowds cheering her on, she has a very good chance of a top ten finish, if not higher. GB's Beth Potter is likely to enjoy the run. She raced in London last week at the IAAF World Championships, where she posted a 32:15 for the 10k.
The men’s race will give the local crowds something to really cheer about.
A huge 74-strong start list, with 26 nations represented with, just as for the women, some interesting visitors. Nice to see Tommy Zaferes USA racing. We see him usually behind a camera, taking shots for ITU and cheering his wife on but we should not forget his racing pedigree with 9 podium appearances and although only just the oldest athlete on the start list, he will most likely show some of the youngsters a trick or two.
Germany’s Lasse Lührs tops the rankings and with top ten finishes in Madrid and Düsseldorf and a top five finish in Chengdu this year, he is in good form.
Good form might not count for much against the Belgian athletes who are currently in great form following last week’s results in Malmö. Marten Van Riel made a spectacular return to racing after his lengthy post-Rio lay-off. A convincing victory and racing in his home town, where he has had some of his best racing results and experiences, will make him truly the man to beat this weekend. The reigning ETU U23 Aquathlon champion from Hungary, Márk Dévay won bronze last weekend. He was strong in that race right up to the final stages and perhaps, with cooler weather this weekend, he will be a real challenge to the Belgians.
Mixing and matching at the front end of last weekend’s race in Sweden, Italy’s Gianluca Pozzatti missed out on the podium by just two seconds. His racing this year has been good and he will come to Belgium this weekend knowing what he has to do to get closer to Van Riel.
Find more details about this event - 2017 Wuustwezel ETU Sprint Triathlon European Cup