Barclay Izzard Gold, Ben Dijkstra Bronze at Huelva ETU Cup in Spain

Huelva ET Triathlon European Cup Barclay Izzard / Ben Dijkstra

Izzard and Dijkstra secure nominations for Olympic selection race in Yokohama

After starting his 2018 season with victory at at the ETU Triathlon European Cup event in Gran Canaria, Great Britain’s Barclay Izzard repeated that feat – over double the distance this time – on Sunday, taking the tape and a big win at the Huelva ETU Triathlon European Cup event in Spain.

After missing most of 2018 through injury, Ben Dijkstra made it two Brits on the podium, running through to third place and passing long-time leader, Mark Devay (HUN).

Elite Men

Last year was a real breakthrough season for Izzard, who went on to represent Great Britain in the ETU European Championships in Glasgow (9th) and finish 7th in his first ITU World Cup start in Cagliari, Italy.

His performance in Spain looks set to guarantee him a World Triathlon Series start in Yokohama (which, depending on selection for Bermuda, could be his first WTS event), since the Huelva event has added importance for British athletes. Selection for Tokyo 2020 for the British team is possible in 2019, the key events being WTS Yokohama (18-19 May) and the Tokyo Test Event (15-18 August). That of course puts pressure on gaining selection for those events, and Huelva was a ‘Gateway event’ (full policy HERE) offering a selection opportunity for Yokohama. That victory should guarantee Izzard a start in Japan, with Dijkstra also nominated for the race too – the intricacies of the policy to determine whether or not that will guarantee a place or not, to be determined.

The Huelva event saw Hungary’s super swimmer, Mark Devay, lead out of the opening 1.5km swim, add a quick transition and then attack hard on the bike. He was still clear at T2 and started the run with a 51 seconds advantage over a chase group of 20 athletes, which included Izzard, Dijkstra and fellow Brits, Christopher Perham and Calum Johnson.

Izzard quickly broke from the chase group on the run and set about chasing down Devay, which he did at the 5km mark – and then continued his pace to take a clear victory. Ignacio Gonzalez Garcia (ESP) took second, with Ben Dijkstra able to finally catch and pass the brave racing of Devay with less than 500metres to go.

CLICK FOR FULL MEN’S RACE VIDEO (FROM 25 MINUTES IN)

Elite Women

The Elite women were lead back on to the beach at Punta Umbria by Great Britain’s Olivia Matthias, heading a group of 17 athletes separated by just 14 seconds, before a break in the swim. Sophie Alden and Hannah Kitchen were also in that back from a British perspective, along with London 2012 Silver medallist, Lisa Norden (SWE) and four French athletes; Margot Garabedian, Emmie Charayron, Pauline Landron and Celia Merle. India Lee was 55 seconds back with Beth Potter and and additional 51 seconds down.

With Norden pushing the pace on the bike, by T2 the lead group had been whittled down to 11, with Matthias now the sole British athlete in the leading pack. With a big gap to the chase pack, the medals were set to be decided among the leading 11 athletes.

Pauline Landron (FRA) was first out of T2 and on to the run – and that was the way it stayed – and she duly won her first Olympic distance race by more than a minute over home athlete Cecilia Santamaria Surroca (ESP). The French matched the British one-three in the men’s race, with former Junior World Champion, Emmie Charayon (FRA) taking the Bronze.

Olivia Matthias ran strongly to take a clear fourth place, her best result to date at senior level in ETU European Cup competition, another strong performance from the young British team.

CLICK FOR FULL WOMEN’S RACE VIDEO (FROM 20 MINUTES IN)

Huelva ETU Triathlon European Cup, Spain – Sunday 24th March 2019
1.5km / 40km / 10km

ELITE MEN

1st – Barclay Izzard (GBR) – 1:52:01
2nd – Ignacio Gonzalez Garcia (ESP) – 1:52:24
3rd – Ben Dijkstra (GBR) – 1:52:31
4th – Mark Devay (HUN) – 1:52:36
5th – Simon Viain (FRA) – 1:52:47
6th – Genis Grau (ESP) – 1:52:57
7th – Calum Johnson (GBR) – 1:53:06

15th – Christopher Perham (GBR) – 1:53:55
DNF – Grant Sheldon (gbr)

ELITE WOMEN

1st – Pauline Landron (FRA) – 2:06:09
2nd – Cecilia Santamaria Surroca (ESP) – 2:07:10
3rd – Emmie Charayon (FRA) – 2:07:19
4th – Olivia Mathias (GBR) – 2:08:02
5th – Anja Knapp (GER) – 2:09:09

11th – Sophie Alden (GBR) – 2:10:19
13th – India Lee (GBR) – 2:11:10
21st – Hannah Kitchen (GBR) – 2:14:05
DNF – Beth Potter (GBR)