By David Peddie on 25/03/11 at 4:18 pm
As the winter season draws to a close, the ETU would like to highlight some of the stars of the competition who have made the 2011 Winter Triathlon such a success.
ANDREAS SVANEBO (SWEDEN)
Andreas Svanebo created quite a stir amongst winter triathlon athletes on the back of some outstanding performances in 2010. The 27- year- old Swede achieved his goal of becoming World Champion last year and began this year determined to maintain his grip at the top of the sport.
Andreas was a late bloomer to the sport. Having been successful in his native Sweden as a junior cross country skier he didn’t get involved in Winter Triathlon until 2007. He said: “I have always been a fan of the outdoors and adventure sports.
“It wasn’t until a friend suggested that Winter Triathlon would suit me that I began to compete in the sport. I had all the components, skiing, running and biking individually, and I just needed to put them together.”
The step up to Triathlon competition proved seamless for Andreas. In only his second ever race he was victorious at the Triesenberg-Steg European Championships in Liechtenstein in 2007.
Following his early success, Andreas has gone on to dominate the Winter Triathlon calendar and 2010 was a breakthrough year for him. Victories in three races at Lygna, Eidsvoll and Mals landed him the coveted European & World Championship in the same year.
“My goal was to be World Champion and now I have achieved it. But I try to win all of my races. Thefeeling of crossing the finishing line as a winner is a great feeling. No one was better than you.”
Andreas started 2011 in a similar vein, with the opening victory of the season at Lygna in the European Cup, followed up by success in Latky in the World Cup. This stretched his winning run to five victories in a row in Winter Triathlon races.
He said: “My strength in winter triathlon is that I haven’t a bad sport (run-bike-ski) and that I come from cross country skiing. I think it’s important.
“But also in general, I really love the races in Europe, where you can see the Alps. It’s beautiful and inspiring and we just don’t get that in Sweden.”
Last weekend Andreas had the opportunity to defend his European title on home turf in Östersund in the European Championships. Unfortunately for him, he finished second behind the improving Russian athlete Pavel Andreev.
But the Swede wasn’t too disappointed with his performance. He said, “I was happy with my race. I did my best and pushed my body as much as I could but unfortunately Pavel Andreev was too strong for me today.’
Reflecting on competing in his homeland, he said, “It was really nice to race in Sweden and Östersund and I hope there will be more races in Sweden in the future. I was thankful for the support.”
Andreas hopes to get back to winning ways this weekend as he defends his crown at the World Championships in Jamijarvi (FIN). He said: “I hope to defend my gold medal but it will be difficult. There are many other great athletes out there who are very good.”
With winter competition ending after this weekend, Andreas will turn his attention to a number of adventure races in Sweden throughout the year. Has he ever considered ditching the skis and moving into summer triathlon? “No, I can’t swim”, he says. “The winters seem to fit me like a glove. I like when everything is on snow – that’s what Winter Triathlon is all about.”
The ETU would like to thank Andreas for his time and wish him the best of luck for the remainder of the season.
A full list of Andreas' results and times can be viewed here.
Find more details about this event - 2011 Ostersund ETU Winter Triathlon European Championships