Swim, Bike and Rerun: British success in Punta Umbria

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There was medal success for plenty of British athletes at the ETU Duathlon European Championships earlier this year.

The city of Punta Umbria welcomed athletes for the 2020 ETU Duathlon European Championships in March, with elite and Age-Group athletes donning their GB trisuits in search of a European title.

Beth Potter, Alistair Brownlee and Mark Buckingham headlined for Great Britain in the elite races as they raced through the historic city.

Potter, the ETU European Triathlon champion, set the early pace on the first run, however, was raced all the way to T1 by Jocelyn Daniely Brea Abreu (ESP), with the Spaniard making her way onto the bike course first.

The pair shared the lead with a handful of other athletes on the bike course, until Potter and Lisa Perterer (SUI) broke away to create a lead. The Swiss was riding strongly, and it wasn’t long until she’d created a gap over the Brit.

Having entered T1 17 seconds behind Potter, Perterer arrived at T2 18 seconds ahead of her, knowing that she was up against a strong runner for the final leg.

Potter reached the finish line nine seconds behind the Swiss, halving the lead but unable to catch her, bringing home the silver medal for Great Britain.

Brownlee and Buckingham found themselves up against the reigning world and European champion, Benjamin Choquert (FRA), as well as Tyler Mislawchuk (CAN) who had taken gold at the Tokyo triathlon test event in 2019. As a Canadian, he would be ineligible for the European Championships, but was racing for points and prize money.  

The opening 5km run saw the athletes set a fast pace, with both Brits running strongly at the front. Onto the bike and the pace was maintained. After multiple attacks from the front by Brownlee, Choquert and Mislawchuk, it was Buckingham who led the group into T2.

The final 2.5km run saw the French duo of Choquert and U23 European Champion, Krilan Le Bihan, Brownlee and Mislawchuk (CAN) take the race into their own hands as they strode away.

Choquert (FRA) kicked on to victory, with Mislawchuk (CAN) trying to go with him. It looked set for Brownlee to take third and European silver, until Le Bihan (FRA) came through to pass him and the Canadian to take second, with Brownlee settling for fourth in the race and third in the championship.

In the Age-Group Sprint Championship, the Great Britain team won 35 medals, with 10 gold, 13 silver and 12 bronze medals.

Britain’s fastest male and female athletes across the 5km run, 20km bike and 2.5km run were Henry Hart, who was the third fastest overall male age group racer as he took gold in M20-24 in a time of 00:55:13. Hart edged out compatriot David Pearson who was looking defend his title, instead taking home the bronze.

Joint third overall female time (01:04:19) was shared between Natalie Duncombe and Katie Latham, who won silver medals in F30-34 and F35-39 respectively.

In the 16-19 category, Britain claimed five of the six medals across the male and female races, with gold for Lucy Bednall on debut.

In the Age-Group Standard Championship there was further success for the British team, with 32 medals added to the total. 11 gold, 9 silver and 13 bronze medals were added to the tally, with Lucy Davies (F25-29) also crowned the fastest female overall across the 10km run, 40km bike and 5km run. 

Claire Hall had a weekend to remember. Not only did she replicate her success in last year’s championships at Targu Mures, where she took gold in the female 45-49 age group sprint, but she also competed in Sunday’s standard distance race and took her second gold medal of the weekend.

There was a clean sweep in the 20-24 category in both the male and female races, with the top six places in the men’s race all claimed by members of the British team.

Britain also took gold in the oldest category, with Vernon Thomas winning the M75-79 race in 02:36:42.

Photo credit: ETU Media.

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