Silver for Potter, Bronze for Brownlee at ETU Duathlon Champs

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Gold to Austria and France at the ETU Duathlon European Championships

Twin Elite podiums for the Brits in Punta Umbria

The postponement of the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi certainly added some quality and extra interest to the Punta Umbria ETU Duathlon European Championships.

A Saturday afternoon start time and some live streaming added to the interest too, as we could follow from home.

Elite Women

The women were first up and it was no surprise to see Great Britain’s 2016 Rio 10,000m Olympian, Beth Potter, pushing the pace over the opening (slightly short) 5km run. Spain’s Jocelyn Daniely Brea Abreu was the only athlete that matched her pace, with a 17 second gap back to the chasers. That group included the Austrian duo Lisa Perterer, and 2018 ITU Duathlon World Champion, Sandrina Illes.

Perterer quickly bridged up to Potter – with Brea Abreu going the other way – before the Austrian pushed the pace and left Potter behind, with a solo ride over the second half of the race. That proved to be the key move of the race.

The gap starting the final run was 15 seconds and while Potter was able to claw back around half of that, the WTS regular never looked in danger of losing that top spot. Gold to Austria, Silver to Great Britain and the Bronze going to Spain.

Elite Men

From IRONMAN Western Australia in December, this was always going to be an interesting challenge for the late entry of Alistair Brownlee. The competition was strong too –  as I highlighted pre-race – with the current European and World Duathlon Champion, Benjamin Chocquert (FRA) in the field.

The pace was hard from the gun with, perhaps surprisingly, Alistair also seeing the front of the race at times too as he tested his transition back to fast running. Despite various athletes pushing the pace, 11 athletes reached their bikes within four seconds of each other.

Yohann Le Berre and Chocquert were quickest through T1 and gained a few seconds on the field, but that was closed down within the first 10km.

Great Britain’s Mark Buckingham made a bold move in the second half of the ride and was able to reach T2 alone, but his margin was in single digit seconds. With the effort that took, it was always going to be a tough ask to hold off such a strong group of runners from behind.

The final 2.5km of running quickly saw four athletes in the front group – Choquert, Brownlee, Canada’s Tyler Mislwchuk (not eligible for ETU medals) and Krilan Le Bihan (FRA). As the approached the final kilometre, first place looked set to be decided between Choquert and Mislawchuk, with Alistair in third. Benjamin was able to defend his title, while Brownlee was overtaken by a resurgent Le Bihan in the final metres.

Punta Umbria, Spain, ETU Sprint Duathlon European Championships – Saturday 7th March 2020
ELITE: 5km / 20km / 2.5km

ELITE WOMEN

1st – Lisa Perterer (AUT) – 58:45
2nd – Beth Potter (GBR) – 58:54
3rd – Jocelyn Daniely Brea Abreu (ESP) – 1:00:01
4th – Granance Blaut (FRA) – 1:00:12
5th – Sandrina Illes (AUT) – 1:00:24

21st – Nicole Allan (GBR) – 1:06:04
23rd – Madeleine Henderson (GBR) – 1:08:31 (5th in Under-23 Champs)

ELITE MEN

1st – Benjamin Choquert (FRA) – 52:12
2nd – Tyler Mislawchuk (CAN) – 52:18
3rd – Krilan Le Bihan (FRA) – 52:20 *
4th – Alistair Brownlee (GBR) – 52:21 **
5th – Vincent Bierinckx (BEL) – 52:29

(* Under-23 Champion, ** ETU Bronze)

10th – Mark Buckingham (GBR) – 53:06
LAP – Reece Ashfield (GBR)