Stanford crowned European Champion

Published:

Non Stanford returned to the top of the podium for the first time since 2019 with an impressive performance at the European Championships in Munich as she stormed to victory in the women’s race.

Coming off the back of winning silver for Wales in the Mixed Relay at the Commonwealth Games, Stanford was hungry to showcase her strength over the standard distance in the individual race.

The 2013 World Champion looked strong through the swim and came out of the first lap in sixth place before heading into transition one in fifth place.

Fellow Brit Sophie Alden led the way out of the swim and they both got out onto the bike pack with seven others including Cassandre Beaugrand (FRA) and Laura Lindemann (GER).

Stanford remained in the lead pack throughout the 40km bike leg and after being in the top three settled in to seventh place to conserve energy.

Alden found herself involved in a crash and was forced out of the race in the first lap while Iona Miller lay in 33rd place.

It was on the run where Stanford showed her experience, she came out of transition two in fifth place and watched as Beaugrand, Lindemann and Emma Lombardi (FRA) led out the first lap and carved out a lead of seven seconds.

Through the second, Stanford began to hunt the leading three down and joined them as a lead group of four.

With two laps to go, the Commonwealth silver medallist made her move and pushed to the front before building a gap of almost ten seconds on Lindemann and Lombardi.

Stanford went into the final half of the lap looking in good form and knew the finish was within her reach.

After a masterful run, Stanford took the tape with rapturous applause from the German crowd, Lindemann came home in second place with Lombardi in third.

“it's a complete surprise if I'm honest," Stanford said. "This is actually my last ever World Triathlon race, I'm retiring this year and 2011 was the first time I represented Great Britain at a European Champs so it's quite fitting that this is the last time I will ever represent Great Britain. To come away with gold is absolutely beyond my expectations. 

"I had a terrible second transition, something was wrong with my bike and I got really far behind and I thought I just have to stick to my own pace here because it's such a hard run course. I just gradually found myself moving through the pack and next thing you know I was at the front. It was quite unexpected."

Issy Morris finished in 27th place while Iona Miller crossed the line in 36th overall. 

In the men’s race, Great Britain were represented by Dan Dixon, Barclay Izzard, Harry Leleu, Grant Sheldon and Jack Willis and it was a hard race immediately from the start with the field of 70 athletes strung out on the swim.

Leleu was the first British athlete to exit the water, closely followed by Willis, who were both 42 seconds behind the race leader Mark Devay of Hungary. With a lead group of 13, later 12, forming at the head of the race on the bike, the British athletes had to work hard in the chase group, where Willis and Leleu were often at or near the front.

The gap between the chasers and the leaders grew to nearly a minute, but the hard work on the final lap saw the athletes in the chasing group reach transition two 45 seconds behind the leaders with Willis the highest placed in 15th off the bike.

On the run, Sheldon gained 19 places over the first lap of 2.5km before running himself into the top-15 to cross the finish line in 15th, followed by Willis in 24th and Leleu in 29th.

Izzard was the biggest mover of the British athletes on the run, gaining over 20 places to finish 30th with Dixon 48th in only his second international triathlon over the standard distance.

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