Swim, Bike and Rerun: A Home European Championships for 2018


The 2018 European Championships were hosted jointly by Glasgow and Berlin, with the triathlon taking place in Strathclyde Park in the August of that year.

This was the first multi-sport European Games and combined the European Championships from a range of sports, including ETU Triathlon European Championships which saw elite men’s, women’s and mixed relay races, as well as Age-Group races taking place.

Announced the month before, the British women’s squad consisted of defending champion Jessica Learmonth,  2016 champion India Lee and Beth Potter.

In the men’s squad were double-Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee, that year’s Commonwealth Games bronze medal winner Marc Austin and Barclay Izzard.

The women’s race was the first of the elite races to take place, with Learmonth soon setting the early pace. In fact, only France’s Cassandre Beaugrand was able to stay with her on the swim as they established a 25 second lead over the chase group.

Nicola Spirig (SUI), who had been 51 seconds behind the pair, showed her class to catch them on the bike leg, soon passing Beaugrand before her and Learmonth pushed on.

Above: Highlights of the women's race from Glasgow 2018

They came out of T2 together, with third placed Beaugrand now nearly two minutes behind. After a hugely impressive run, it was the Swiss who took the gold medal with Learmonth achieving her second podium in two years to finish second. Beaugrand took third.

Lee and Potter finished 21st and 27th respectively.

The following day it was the turn of the men, with four-time European champion Brownlee hoping to make it a fifth in front of a home crowd.

Richard Varga (SVK) emerged first from the water, with Brownlee not far behind and well placed, as a lead group of eight athletes passed through T1 together.

Above: Alistair Brownlee was seeking a fifth European Championships gold in Glasgow

This group stayed compact throughout the bike leg, and it was Brownlee who led them into T2 by a second. France’s Pierre Le Corre was just behind him alongside Martin Van Riel who had made up time to join the lead group.

Catching up from behind, Fernando Alarza (ESP) had an impressive run leg as he powered his way through the field, passing Brownlee and setting his sights on the front of the race. Le Corre pulled away to take the victory, eleven seconds ahead of Alarza who had passed Van Riel to take second.

Having fallen back from the leaders, Brownlee came across the line in fourth with Izzard also claiming a top-10 finish with ninth. Marc Austin finished 35th overall.

The day after the men’s race saw the athletes return to the course for the mixed relay. Following injuries to Austin and Izzard in the men’s individual race the day before, there almost wasn’t a British team to race.

Iestyn Harrett and Gordon Benson were drafted in to join Potter and Lee, gaining the opportunity to experience a championship event in front of a British crowd.

They were up against strong teams including France and Switzerland, who had individual champions Le Corre and Spirig respectively. France were the reigning world champions in mixed relay, and they fielded a very competitive and competent team in Scotland.

It was the team from Belgium who took the early lead however, having won the men’s race the day before Le Corre (FRA) soon overturned this after the first changeover. His lead was short-lived as Alarza (ESP) once again showed his running strength to claim the French lead from the bike leg and see Spain at the front of the race.

Above: An exciting mixed relay unfolded in Strathclyde Park in 2018

Having taken over nearly a minute behind the leaders, Spirig (SUI) as the third athlete surged through her swim, bike, run to take a lead over Beaugrand (FRA) and Aradas of Spain as she handed over to Sylvain Fridelance.

Dorian Coninx, who had been part of the French team to win the World Championships, took over from Beaugrand and set about making up the eight second deficit on the Swiss athlete.

He caught and passed Fridelance to take the lead out of T2, maintaining it to the finish line. The Swiss held on for second, with the Belgian team claiming bronze. The makeshift British team crossed the line in twelfth.

Strathclyde Park also welcomed Age-Group athletes from across Europe to compete in the Age-Group Sprint Championships.

Over 600 British athletes took part, winning 67 medals - 22 gold, 24 silver and 21 bronze. You can see a full roll of honour here.

2018 was a great year for triathlon across the three Home Nations and we’re recapping the action in a series of Swim, Bike and Reruns.

In addition to having a home European Championships, as well as the World Triathlon Series in both Leeds and Nottingham, athletes from England, Scotland and Wales raced in the Commonwealth Games in Australia.

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