Spirig sprints to regain European Championship title

By Nicola Hargreaves | 20 Apr, 2012

Nicola Spirig (SUI) and Ainhoa Murua (ESP) produced a thrilling sprint finish at the 2012 Eilat ETU Triathlon European Championships this weekend. Spirig outran Murua for the second week running after the pair fought a similar sprint to line in Sydney WTS just last week. Defending champion Emmie Charayron(FRA) held her position throughout the race to take bronze.

The elite women took to the course in the dry heat and it was Great Britain’s Lucy Hall who exited the swim first to run the 300m up to T1. She was closely followed by Jessica Harrison (FRA), Spirig and Charayron who each made up time in the short run up to transition to begin the ride together.

A lead pack of ten quickly formed on the bike swallowing up Hall and included Murua, Denmark’s Camilla Pedersen and Helle Frederiksen and Vanessa Raw (GBR). In the chase pack Mateja Simic (SLO) and Mariya Shorets (RUS) attempted to close the gap in the fourth lap, but a tyre change for Simic entering the fifth lap soon put a stop to their efforts. The chase pack which also included Carole Peon (FRA) fell further away from the leaders as the ride progressed and with no signs of closing the gap they were almost two minutes behind leading into T2.

Spirig lost a few seconds dropping her bike shoe in transition and it was Harrison who strode out first for the run. Murua, Spirig and Charayron were hot on Harrison’s heels and the small group stayed together into the second lap.

On the final lap Spirig and Murua kicked out ahead and behind them, Charayron had pulled away from Harrison as they neared the final straight. A spectacular sprint to the line followed mirroring the previous week in Sydney, but this time it was for the top position. Spirig confidently stepped up a gear in the last few hundred metres to take her third elite European Championship title.

“I’m extremely happy, it’s a dream come true and I’m speechless, it’s amazing,” said Spirig. “I felt good on the run. My training has been going amazing and that’s how it should feel in a race and I’m just extremely happy. It was same sprint with Murua last week in Sydney and I won, but we were discussing that after the race and I told her that I am good in a sprint and I will beat you every time. She knew she had to get rid of me before the sprint and the closer we got to the finish line, the more nervous she became.”

Spirig solidifies her ticket to London 2012 with her win in Eilat while Murua took silver for her first ever European Championship podium.

“I knew that Nicola has a very strong final run. I tried to go hard, on the last lap, pushing and pushing hard but I couldn’t get past,” said Murua. “But after two years of finishing 4th, today I’m second and it has been a really nice race and I’m very happy.”

Defending champion Charayron settled for bronze in her first race of the 2012 season after a difficult winter of training.

“I felt tired because it is my first race of the season but I am very pleased because my swim was perfect,” said Charayron. “I didn’t ride very much in winter so I felt good on the bike. My run was a little out but this was not my goal for the season. I couldn’t defend my title because I am not fit enough. But to finish behind Nicola and Ainhoa is a very good race and I’m very pleased.”

Earlier in the day the junior women’s race was won by Great Britain’s Georgia Taylor-Brown in the searing midday sun. Taylor-Brown remained in contention throughout the swim and bike before making a break on the last lap where no-one could catch her. Léonie Périault (FRA) finished second and bronze went to Sarah Wilm(GER).

The race action continues in Eilat on Saturday 21 April when the junior and elite men will crown a new European Champion. The junior men begin racing 12:00 and the elite men begin at 15:00.

Related Event: 2012 Eilat ETU Triathlon European Championships
20 - Apr, 2012 • event pageall results
Results: Elite Men
1. Javier Gomez Noya ESP 01:55:48
2. Alexander Bryukhankov RUS 01:56:08
3. Ivan Vasiliev RUS 01:56:42
4. Tony Moulai FRA 01:56:47
5. Alessandro Fabian ITA 01:56:48
6. Mario Mola ESP 01:56:52
7. Franz Loeschke GER 01:56:57
8. Dmitry Polyanskiy RUS 01:57:06
9. Aaron Harris GBR 01:57:09
10. Aurelien Raphael FRA 01:57:13
Results: Elite Women
1. Nicola Spirig SUI 02:07:11
2. Ainhoa Murua Zubizarreta ESP 02:07:20
3. Emmie Charayron FRA 02:07:56
4. Jessica Harrison FRA 02:08:27
5. Vendula Frintova CZE 02:09:00
6. Agnieszka Jerzyk POL 02:09:23
7. Helle Frederiksen DEN 02:09:34
8. Irina Abysova RUS 02:09:52
9. Yuliya Yelistratova UKR 02:10:00
10. Carole Peon FRA 02:10:04
Results: Junior Men
1. Matthias Steinwandter ITA 00:56:16
2. Delian Stateff ITA 00:56:19
3. Kristian Blummenfelt NOR 00:56:20
4. Simon Viain FRA 00:56:31
5. Dorian Coninx FRA 00:56:38
6. Dávid Pap HUN 00:56:40
7. Amitai Yonah ISR 00:56:40
8. Yohan Saby FRA 00:56:43
9. Bob Haller LUX 00:56:47
10. Nan Oliveras ESP 00:56:53
Results: Junior Women
1. Georgia Taylor-Brown GBR 01:02:47
2. Leonie Periault FRA 01:02:53
3. Sarah Wilm GER 01:03:02
4. Sophie Coldwell GBR 01:03:12
5. Renáta Fuchs HUN 01:03:13
6. Suse Werner GER 01:03:20
7. Luisa Condeço POR 01:03:21
8. Monika Orazem SLO 01:03:21
9. Charlotte Deldaele BEL 01:03:23
10. Lisa Schanung ITA 01:03:24
Results: Mixed Relay
1. Team I Denmark DEN 01:11:54
2. Team I Germany GER 01:12:22
3. Team I Hungary HUN 01:12:59
4. Team I Poland POL 01:13:20
5. Team I Russia RUS 01:14:02
6. Team I Spain ESP 01:14:11
7. Team I Ukraine UKR 01:15:45
DNF. Team II Ukraine UKR 01:15:51
Results: Mixed Junior Relay
1. Team I Italy ITA 01:12:19
2. Team I France FRA 01:12:24
3. Team I Russia RUS 01:12:28
4. Team I Great Britain GBR 01:12:29
5. Team I Portugal POR 01:12:40
6. Team I Belgium BEL 01:13:43
7. Team I Germany GER 01:13:43
8. Team II Hungary HUN 01:14:37
9. Team I Netherlands NED 01:15:33
10. Team I Slovenia SLO 01:16:12