The 2012 Eilat ETU Triathlon European Championships mark the final continental championships with two guaranteed Olympic spots allocated to the winners. France is hoping to snatch the women’s spot with reigning champion Emmie Charayron and additional strength in Jessica Harrison and Carole Peon, but Nicola Spirig (SUI) will have very different ideas. While Javier Gomez (ESP) makes a season debut, he is up against the likes of Alexander Bryukhankov (RUS) and Sven Riederer (SUI) who along with Spirig, has the potential to produce a Swiss double.
About the race:
The European Championships are the Continental Championships of the European Triathlon Union (ETU). In the lead in to London, each of the 10 Continental Championship winners (five female and five male) earn a spot for their NOC at 2012 London Olympic Games. Click here to read the Olympic Qualification 101
Elite Women – Friday April 20 – 16:00 (UTC/GMT +1) Click here for time in your area
Elite Men – Saturday April 21 – 15:00 (UTC/GMT +1)
TOTAL PRIZE MONEY:
60,000 € (equal for men & women)
Swim – Two-lap, 1.5-kilometre swim in calm open water with a mass beach start.
Bike – Six-lap, 40-kilometre leg over a technical course.
Run – Three-lap, 10-kilometre run on a flat asphalt surface.
STORIES TO WATCH FOR:
Elite Women’s Race
The elite women’s race will see reigning European Champion Emmie Charayron (FRA) in her first race of the 2012 season. However, Charayron will have her work cut out to beat Nicola Spirig (SUI) who took the 2009-2010 European title and did not race in the event last year. She recently claimed silver in the opening ITU World Cup in Mooloolababa followed by a fifth place finish at the 2012 World Triathlon Series opener in Sydney last week among a top class field.
Finishing just behind Spirig in Sydney was Spain’s Ainhoa Murua. Even though a European Championship podium finish has eluded Murua on more than one occasion, she recently won the 2012 Quarteira ITU Triathlon European Cup in March and will certainly be aiming for the Olympic spot in Eilat.
The French team is strengthened by Jessica Harrison and Carole Peon. Harrison has proved good form in the last six months and with Peon taking silver at the 2010 European Championships, both are capable of powerful performances on the world stage.
Elite Men’s Race
A number of names stand out among the elite men’s starting line-up with Javier Gomez (ESP) and Sven Riederer (SUI) appearing in their first race of the season along with Alexander Bryukhankov (RUS) arriving straight off the back of Sydney.
Gomez ended 2011 with a sixth place finish in the 2011 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Grand Final Beijing , enough to secure third position on the overall World Championship Rankings of 2011 behind Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee. At the 2011 Pontevedra ETU Triathlon European Championships Gomez had a disappointing 40th place finish due to a stitch, but in the absence of 2010-2011 European Champion Alistair Brownlee, Gomez will be hoping to reclaim his title from 2009.
Bryukhankov enters the European Championships just one week after Sydney where he and Ivan Vasiliev were the highest finishing Russians in fifth and sixth. Competitors in Eilat will need to keep a close eye on Vasiliev after he produced a two man breakaway on the bike in Sydney, leading a substantial part of the run.
Predominantly competing in ITU World Championship races last year, Riederer finished fourth in the 2011 World Championship Rankings and will aim to solidify Switzerland’s Olympic position with fresh legs in Eilat.
Dmitry Polyansky also raises the likelihood of a Russian win after he took bronze in Pontevedra last year behind the Brownlee’s. However, Portugal’s Joao Silva has the potential to surprise the crowd after a breakthrough win at the 2011 ITU World Championship Series in Yokohama where he shared the podium with silver medallist Bryukhankov and Polyansky who took bronze. In addition Silva has enjoyed success in Eilat before, winning the 2011 Eilat ETU U23 Triathlon European Championships.