Switzerland dominated the Elite team relays in Lisbon today, wining both the women’s and men’s European titles. One day after the Triathlon European Championships, both the juniors and elites were back racing for the Team Relay European Championships. The races were super sprint distance of a 1-lap 300-metre swim, 2-lap 8-kilometer bike and a 1-lap 2-kilometer run all staged around the Pavilion.
In the Elite women’s field, the Swiss team along with Russians and Portuguese emerged as the favorites, all fielding strong teams. Switzerland had Magali Di Marco, Nicola Spirig and Melanie Annaheim to call upon while the Russia fielded Irina Abyssova, Olga Zausaylova and Liubov Ivanovskaya. However, the crowds turned out for their idol Vanessa Fernandes, who was the anchor for the Portuguese team which included junior bronze medallist Anais Moniz and Barbara Clemente.
At the first changeover it was world number 19 Abyssova of Russia who managed to establish a strong lead of 16 seconds over Portugal’s Moniz and Czech Jana Jirouskova with the Swiss Annaheim another five seconds back. Spirig, the middle athlete for Switzerland, posted the fastest split of the day at 26:33, to come back from fourth position and lead into the final changeover by 21 seconds. Zausaylova had Russia in second for the anchor leg with a 25-second lead over Spain and a 2-minute advantage over Portugal.
Fernandes had it all to do for her relay but again proving what a phenom she truly is, managed to overtake Spain and then Russia in the final 300 metres to bring in the silver for Portugal. There was no catching Magali Di Marco who took the win for Switzerland and the title of 2008 European Team Champions.
4. Czech Republic
In the men’s race the same trio of countries were the pre-race favorites to podium and they did just that with Switzerland again taking gold with Russia and Portugal trading places from the women’s podium. The first relay saw Hug lead by 15 seconds from a chase group of five which included athletes from Russia, Czech Republic, Netherlands and the two Portuguese teams.
In the middle relay, Brukhankov put in the fastest split of the day at 24:25 to catch Marceau of Switzerland to share the lead coming into the changeover. Portugal dropped back to third, 45 seconds down with the Czechs a further 30 seconds back. In the anchor leg it was Sven Riederer versus Artem Parienko all the way until the final 100 metres when Riederer’s sprint carried him over the line for gold to the delight of his awaiting tea mates. Bruno Pais of Portugal came across the line to secure the bronze.
5. Czech Republic
7. Italy II
9. Portugal II