British athletes top the podium at Quarteira ETU European Triathlon Cup in Portugal
Home athlete Melanie Santos (POR) lead out of the swim in 18:29, but was closely followed by Sophie Coldwell (GBR) and a group totalling 19 exiting within 30 seconds, before any significant break of note. The race was set for a large lead group on the bike, right from the start.
The 40km bike leg saw that number whittled down to 13 athletes at T2, who would arrive together – headed by Coldwell – with a lead of almost exactly three minutes over the main chase pack, which included a returning to triathlon, Vanessa Fernandes, five times the European Elite Triathlon Champion and 2008 Olympic Games Silver medallist. As well as Coldwell, Georgia Taylor-Brown and Jenny Manners were in that leading 13 from a British perspective. Zoe Thomas, Fenella Langridge and Megan McDonald were in the chase group heading out for the 10km closing run.
First in to T2, first out and Sophie Coldwell was in aggressive mode from the start of the run. Historically best known for her swim-bike strength, Coldwell was evidencing her continued improvement on the run too, looking strong, and never looked in danger of finishing anywhere else but first. Impressive racing, perhaps benefitting from training this winter alongside Jodie Stimpson in Loughborough. Twice a winner at ETU Junior European Cup level, this would be the first senior ETU European Cup win for the 2016 European U23 Silver medallist and more evidence of her consistent progress, year-on-year.
“It was a tough day, really hot and windy – I’m really pleased” said Coldwell immediately after the race. Taylor-Brown was also very happy with second place in her first race of the season.
Quarteira (Portugal) ETU Triathlon European Cup – Saturday 1st April 2017
1.5km / 40km / 10km -ELITE WOMEN
12th – Jenny Manners (GBR) – 2:05:14
13th – Vanessa Fernandes (POR) – 2:05:31
26th – Zoe Thomas (GBR) – 2:10:01
28th – Fenella Langridge (GBR) – 2:11:31
32nd – Megan McDonald (GBR) – 2:13:04