Europe's Best Triathletes Set to Battle for Continental Championship in Ireland this Weekend
Created On: 02 July 2010
Europe's top triathletes are headed to Athlone, Ireland this
weekend to compete for the title of 2010 European Champion.
Athlone, located on the River Shannon in Central Ireland, has
hosted an ETU Continental Cup for the past two seasons, alongside
Ireland's biggest age-group race. The event will feature a 1.5-km
swim in the River Shannon, followed by a flat, fast and technical
40-km ride and a 10-km run through the medieval city.
The women will be the first to race, taking off at 3:30pm local
time on Saturday, July 3rd. All eyes will be on returning champion
Nicola Spirig of Switzerland, who won last year's European
Championship in Holten, Holland. Spirig appears to be in top form
this season, winning the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World
Championship Madrid on June 6th, and is currently ranked 5th in the
world. She'll be joined by teammate Daniela Ryf, who sprinted to a
win at the second round of the Series in Seoul this May, and
finished fifth in Holten last year.
Last season's runner-up from Holten, Elizabeth May of Luxembourg,
is also on the start list, as is Portugal's Vanessa Fernandes, who
finished third at last season's race. After dealing with injury and
illness for much of the 2009 season, a healthy Fernandes will look
to put the stamp on her comeback with a win in Athlone.
The top women will definitely be watching out for Sweden's Lisa
Norden, who has had this event circled on her race calendar for
some time. The Swede, who finished second in last season's World
Championship Rakings, skipped out on round three of the Series and
Madrid and the Hy-Vee Elite Cup in the United States in order to
prepare specifically for Athlone.
Other top contenders in the women's event include a pair of
youngsters: 20-year-old Hollie Avil of Great Britain, the reigning
U23 World Champion, and Emmie Charayron of France, also 20, who won
the Junior World Championship last year. Charayron appears to be in
good form this season, finishing only four seconds behind Spirig in
Madrid to take second.
The men go off at 3:30pm on Sunday, July 4th, with both reigning
world champ Alistair Brownlee of Great Britain and reigning
European champ Javier Gomez of Spain slated to compete. Brownlee
had a near-perfect season in 2009; the only blemish coming in
Holten, where Gomez topped the Brit by 27 seconds to take the
continental crown. The pair last raced each other in Madrid, with
Brownlee picking up the win and Gomez finishing fourth.
"This is such an important championship and there are so many great
athletes competing this weekend," Brownlee said. "The Spanish have
a very good team, and of course, Gomez will be right up
Also in the mix is Brownlee's younger brother, Jonathan, who won
the Junior European Championship in Holten last season and finished
second at the Junior World Championships in Australia. The younger
Brownlee won the opening two rounds of the French Grand Prix Series
this year against some very formidable competition and appears
ready to race alongside the world's best- his older brother
Also in the mix will be current world number one Alexander
Brukhankov of Russia. The 23-year old has been a model of
consistency so far this year, finishing 2nd, 5th and 10th in the
first three rounds of the Series.
Rounding out the pre-race favourites are Frenchman Laurent Vidal,
Portugal's Joao Silva, Switzerland's Sven Riederer and Germany's