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Swim, Bike and Rerun: Spanish success story for Britain’s paratriathlon team

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The 2019 European Paratriathlon Championships were hosted in Valencia, with six British athletes returning as medallists including two golds.

In the women’s PTS5 race, Lauren Steadman and Claire Cashmore secured one of their many one-twos in 2019 in Valencia in a repeat of the result from the previous year.

Exiting the water first, Steadman was seeking to secure her seventh consecutive European Championship, however it was world champion, Cashmore, who led out onto the bike course.

The pair rode in a race of their own as they remained neck-and-neck across the 20km course and way clear of the rest of the pack. It was on the run that Steadman made her decisive move to win the race and retain her crown.

Such was the British pair’s dominance that third place Lemoussu (FRA) finished over three minutes behind Cashmore.

Having finished second in 2017 and first in 2018, Fran Brown successfully defended her title in the PTS2 category.

Crossing the line over six minutes ahead of second-placed Liisa Lilja from Finland, it was on the bike leg that Brown was able to carve out her decisive lead, setting the fastest split time of the race.

In the men’s PTS2 race, Andrew Lewis was aiming to reclaim the European crown he’d won in 2016 and 2017, whilst Stuart Meikle was competing in his first European Championship.

Completing the swim in the second fastest time, Lewis produced a competitive bike leg and strong run to repeat his 2018 result and cross the line for silver, finishing 15 seconds behind Ribstein of France. British champion Meikle finished in sixth.

Matching Lewis’ silver was Melissa Reid (PTVI) alongside her guide, Elle Twentyman. Reid added silver in Valencia to the silver medals she’d picked up at the World Championships in Lausanne and at the Tokyo Paralympic test event in 2019.

Reid and Twentyman were strong across all three disciplines, but it was Susana Rodriguez (ESP) who took the gold after setting the fastest bike and run times of the race.

In the men’s PTVI race, Dave Ellis and his guide, Luke Pollard, suffered a puncture early on in the bike leg to finish 11th.

Jade Jones-Hall picked up the team’s only bronze medal in Valencia, adding to the gold she won at the European Championships two years before.

She set the fastest run leg of the race to come within thirty seconds of Ijdema (NED) in second, finishing over two-and-a-half minutes ahead of fourth place.

Joe Townsend suffered a puncture like Ellis in the men’s PTWC race as he also set the fastest run leg to cross the line in sixth.

Making it a hat-trick of punctures for the team, George Peasgood (PTS5) surrendered a lead of almost a minute and ran the final few hundred metres with his bike to finish fifth.

Michael Taylor racing in his first European Championship finished in sixth place in the men’s PTS4 race, crossing the line only a minute off the podium.

Jonathon Riall, British Triathlon Paratriathlon Head Coach, said: “With over half the team coming home with medals, it was a really successful day of racing in Valencia. In tough conditions with the weather and a series of punctures, it was great to see such strong performances across the classifications and for that to be translated into medal success.”

British Triathlon’s Swim, Bike and Rerun series will continue to look back at the performances of British athletes by recapping the 2019 World Triathlon Series.

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