Claire Cashmore defended her European title, Dave Ellis guided by Luke Pollard finished second as did Mel Nicholls, and Michael Salisbury and Hannah Moore both crossed the line third in Madrid.
The day started with a change from triathlon to duathlon due to the adverse conditions building up to the event, with athletes competing over a 2.5km run, 20km bike and a final 5km run at Casa de Campo in the Spanish capital.
Cashmore won the women’s PTS5 category, with Ellis and Pollard claiming silver in the men’s PTVI and Nicholls in the women's PTWC races. Salisbury (men’s PTS5) and Moore (women’s PTS4) both battled to bronze.
Getting the weekend’s racing underway were the men’s PTS4 and men’s PTS5 categories. Salisbury (PTS5) and Finley Jakes (PTS4) were the British interest in the first start of the day.
The PTS2-5 and PTVI categories all set off in succession of one another, with PTVI pairings of Ellis and Pollard and Oscar Kelly and Jamie Price the next set of Brits to take to the course.
Completing the British starts were Cashmore (women’s PTS5), Moore (women’s PTS4) and Louis Rolfe (men’s PTS2) who all got underway together.
Cashmore had a good first run across the single-lap, out-and-back course to come into first transition in third place. The bike course consisted of one 20km loop around the park, with the Brit chasing down the two in front of her to take the lead in the latter stages.
Coming out of transition two and onto the bike, she held a commanding lead over the rest of the field, crossing the line to defend her title and take home yet another gold medal.
Reflecting on taking the win, Cashmore commented: “I’ve had a bit of a rough year this year, been struggling with a bit of niggles, so to come here and actually put that performance together I am absolutely over the moon.
“It was really special to win. I think this morning it was a little bit about who could be the most adaptable. Suddenly at 4am it changed into a duathlon and it’s ‘right, everything’s up in the air’ and a complete change of plan. That’s one thing that Covid has really taught me, just to be as adaptable as possible and not let little things stress you out.”
Ellis and Pollard set off alongside Kelly and Price in the men’s PTVI race. With the starts being split into B1 and B 2/3 classifications, the two British pairings (B2/3) started with a deficit to the B1 athletes.
They both set off over the first run with the determination to close the gap to the athletes in front of them, with all four Brits coming through transition one in a similar time.
Onto the bike and Ellis and Pollard made inroads on the gap and were well-placed in third as they started to create a gap between the podium places and those behind them. Starting the run in third place, they gained a place over the 5km to the finish to cross the line in second place and leave Spain with a silver medal. Kelly and Price finished nineth.
Ellis said after the race: “It’s cool to be over in Spain. I think Madrid is a real iconic city for hosting triathlon so it’s great to have a European Championships here. You want a tough race, an honest race, and I think the French boys just had a great race today.
“It’s our first proper race of the season, so a good one to blow the cobwebs and we’ve got another one in about three weeks’ time.”
Pollard commented, “We had a good race today, pretty hard competition to be fair, really quick going out on that first run. Quite a nice bike course through the park, pretty tough in places.”
Salisbury made a quick start to the men’s PTS5 race, running at the front of the first starters and being the first athlete into transition one.
The Brit produced a consistent bike leg with positions proving fluid across the 20km course through the park. Heading into second transition, he’d established himself in third position, a place he’d hold onto to earn himself bronze and a place on the Europe Triathlon Para Championships podium.
Having crossed the line, Salisbury said: “I thought I’d take my opportunity to take the lead in a big race. Jairo Ruiz, the Spanish guy who was right on my shoulder the whole way, I thought ‘I just want to hold him off to get first into transition’.
“It is a bit of a difficult one to get used to, changing at the last minute, but you have to remember that it’s the same for everyone. You just have to be as relaxed as possible and take it in your stride. The swim is my weakest bit, but at the same time I’m really disappointed that I didn’t get to swim because I feel like I’d worked on that.”
Moore was representing Great Britain for the first time in a number of years, and she rounded off the morning for the British athletes by winning bronze in the women’s PTS4 classification.
Having initially been ranked fourth, she was moved up onto the podium following a change in classification for one of her competitors.
Having started alongside Salisbury, Jakes raced to seventh place. Rolfe, who was making his Championship debut and had been presented with his GBR trisuit at a team event the night before, crossed the line in fifth.
Ending the day in the Spanish sun was Nicholls as the PTWC races took place after the Age-Group racing to allow for a course change.
Nicholls was second into T1 and maintained that position throughout the bike leg. Unable to close in one first place, she was able to stay clear of third to complete the final 5km to the finish and earn another medal for the British team.