2014 saw athletes from all over Europe try something new. Cross Triathlon and Cross Duathlon has been with us for a while but it was on the ETU Circuit last year that we saw the race quality improve and the interest grow. The 2014 ETU European Cross Triathlon Championships certain impressed enough people to be given, this year, a World Championship status. Hard work, solid training and a desire for “something a bit more” than just a normal swim, bike, run has put cross events firmly onto the calendar.
The co-operation between ETU and TNatura has raised awareness of this off-road alternative and there are now many, many events around Europe that take the athletes to stunning locations and off onto forest tracks and trails. The future looks good.
This year the series started on the same weekend that most focus was on Baku. However, tucked away in the hills above Venice, Elites and Age Groupers were heading to Revine Lago-Tarzo, where athletes could race either the ETU Cross Triathlon European Cup 2015, the Cross Triathlon Italian Championship, or the Cross Triathlon TNatura Italian Cup 2015. It’s always important to have the support of the local authorities. TNatura have, with all their races, managed to get the local communities on board and organisers are regularly praised for the lack of impact their events have on the venues. Sustainability, after all, is an important aspect of our races. This weekend the organisers were supported by the Region of Veneto, Province of Treviso and the communities of Tarzo and Revine Lago.
Not only was it a chance for athletes to race in a lovely location but also to win some money and to gain points for the series. With a prize purse of €5,000 all they had to do was raced over a 2-lap 1,500m swim, then jump on the MTB for 24k over 2 laps and finish with an 8k run over 2 laps.
For the women, race favourite was Monica Cibin ITA. With previous success as a duathlete on the national circuit and with a strong finish in last year’s ETU European Championships in Sardinia, she was to dominate the race, only tailing off at the final part of the run, in the knowledge that she had gold in her grasp. Coming second was Elisabetta Curridori ITA. A loyal supporter of TNatura’s events, she had raced before in the chilly waters of Pokljuka and then enjoyed a podium with a bronze in Schluchsee. This move to silver is motivation enough for her for the rest of the season. Bronze went to Sara Tavecchio ITA who had previously won her age-group in the Sardinia event.
After the event, Curridori was delighted with her finish, “Just back from the Italian Cross Triathlon Championships (ETU TNatura European Cup). Really happy to be 2nd behind an amazing Monica Cibin.”
For the men, the start list showed greater depth and with reigning European Champion, Kris Coddens BEL, World U23 silver medallist, Tomas Kubek SVK, Jim Thijs BEL, with more bronze medals in his collection than most and the young Frenchman, Arthur Serrières who has made a massive impact on Cross-Triathlon racing since his junior podium at the Strobl am Wolfgangsee ETU Cross Triathlon European Championships in 2013.
Going into the race, Coddens was suffering from an ear infection but was nevertheless determined to give it his best. The weather conditions were good and for the organisers they had the chance to send off the mass start for the open race.
For the young Frenchman, he was delighted that the LOC collected him from the airport. Weather conditions were ideal and it was a non-wetsuit swim. First out of the water was Italian athlete Leonardo Ballerini. He raced through T1 and set a good pace out on the bike course. But this was no ordinary course.
The athletes were taken down stone steps and through rivers on their 24k course.
Coddens had a bad swim and was forced to pull out all the stops for the bike and run. It was De Paoli who stole the bike with a great display of power but it was the youngster from France who dominated. Crossing the line first and with great delight was Serrières. He recorded his first major international win and sees the hard work he put in over the winter now paying off.
“The swim was an advantage for me as it was non-wetsuit. I came out third with Kubek. The bike course was very tough, with 800m climbing over the 23k. Again this worked to my advantage. I think loved the chicanes, it was like being a kid again. I had a great bike even if I made a mistake at about 2k which lots me some time. Really loved it. I left Kubek in the first big bend and then took control of the race on the second lap. I think I probably lost a minute due to a broken bike shoe but I managed to leave T2 in the lead. I held off the Italian athlete with a good run and yes, I won the race. I won the first European Cup of the year and that takes me to the top of the rankings.” You can read his full report on his Facebook Page.
A great performance from De Paoli took him to silver and Coddens, even with his ear problem, popped in the fastest run of the day to comfortably take bronze. For Coddens, “I was expecting an easy course, but what we got was a fabulous bike course with heavy climbs, steep descents and awesome scenery. The lake kept us nicely warm at the swim with 26 degrees and luckily the run was flat around it. Congrats to Arthur for his strong race and thanks to Sandro Salerno (head of TNatura) to really take care for the athletes.”
Next race on the circuit will be the ETU European Championships in Schluchsee on 18th July.
Big thanks to TNatura for the photos.
Related Event: 2015 Tarzo ETU TNatura Cross Triathlon European Cup
|Results: Elite Men|
|2.||Mattia De Paoli||ITA||02:05:01|