Updated: May 31
This weekend the first Triathlon World Cup in Europe in 2022 was held at Arzachena, Italy. This was also the start of the Olympic qualification process for Paris 2024. In the women's race Julie Derron, Luisa Baptista and Petra Kurikova were on the start line. We are pleased to report that Julie and Luisa staged a Viking battle for the duration of the race.
Out of the water there was much to do to close down the leaders. The emerging new Swiss Miss got straight into Nicola costume, mowing down the leaders, then forced the pace up the tough climbs to thin out the field. Luisa who has been training with Julie in camp, realised the threat and worked hard to be in the leading group entering T2. It quickly became a 3 horse race in the run, with an epic battle all the way to the finish line. Julie out sprinted Luisa in the final steps to take silver, with Luisa a valiant bronze.
In the men's race, Max Studer in his first World Cup since the Olympics was joined by training partner Manoel Messias. The great Jonny Brownlee was in excellent form, and forced a four man break away right from the start of the bike. With the lead group 50 seconds clear, and a nasty crash in the chase group on the final descent, there was no hunting them down. Starting the 5km run with such a large lead, one could be forgiven for thinking the podium was already decided. However Manoel put on a spectacular chase, running all the way up into the Silver medal position. This was Manoel's career best race result and very well deserved with such a gutsy effort. Max continued his progress into form with a great run, and confidence boosting 5th place finish as he aims to earn his Paris 2024 Olympic selection.
A spectacular chase by Manoel - on route to second place. Video: World Triathlon
In France our two juniors Alanis Siffert and Linus Hilfiker had their first race of the season at Belfort Triathlon, over the half iron distance. Indeed this was Alanis' first ever triathlon, and the first race at the half distance for Linus. We are proud to say that Alanis led the whole field out of the swim, and led the female race for the whole day to take an outstanding win. Linus did himself proud with first place junior. They both raced in true Viking spirit.
Not to be outdone by their teammates, Marti and Marton Kropko competed at the European Junior Championships in Olsztyn, Poland. Marton led out of the water in his semi-final, but unfortunately crashed early in the bike and could not continue. We wish him a fast recovery from his injuries. Marti flew the Kropko flag by qualifying for the final, and taking an excellent 8th place after fighting back from some difficulties in the swim.
A shout out to young Double G, Panagiotis Bitados who backed up his silver medal at Xterra Portugal last week, with a commanding win at the sprint distance this weekend at Tirana in Albania. Dougle G is developing quickly into a professional athlete unafraid to race anyone, anywhere, at any time.
Congratulations to all the Viking athletes for making it a memorable weekend.