Mixed Relays brought the ETU Triathlon European Championships to a close, marking a successful three days of racing for Great Britain’s elite triathletes and paratriatheltes which saw Kate Waugh and Jessica Learmonth celebrate junior and senior gold medals.
Less than a week on from her best ITU World Triathlon Series result in Leeds, Learmonth won her first major title with Sophie Coldwell not too many paces behind for silver.
Learmonth, 29, came from a swimming background, only taking up triathlon after time playing golf, football and being a personal trainer. Her swim speed is rarely matched international competition and this weekend was no different. Just behind her was Sophie Coldwell, also an exceptional swimmer and cyclist.
Strong cycling, and some tactical assistance from team mate and defending champion, India Lee, saw Learmonth and Coldwell start the run with Italian, Alice Betto, who was third last week in Leeds. They broke away and ran together for victory, achieving a fantastic one-two for Great Britain.
Learmonth said: “I never expected to be European Champion when I started in triathlon but wow, I’m delighted!”
Coldwell continued her breakthrough senior season, saying on Twitter: “Top day racing with the girls – mega team effort, loads of @BritTri support and I finished off with a silver at senior Euros.”
Waugh wins junior gold
Kate Waugh, 18, jetted from an A Level exam on Thursday morning to the race on Friday. After two flights and a car journey which was held up by a slow-moving bus, she missed the start of the race briefing by ten minutes, meaning she had a poor position on the start pontoon on Friday lunch time.
Reflecting on her win, she said: “I knew it was going to be a tough race, and it was! When I saw the finish line 200m away as I ran alongside Sif Bendix Madsen (DEN), I thought about how much I’d prepared for the race, and it gave me the extra push I needed.
“I’m so overwhelmed to win, and I can’t describe how it feels! I was in Kitzbuhel less than 48hours as I had to get back for exams next week, but I definitely will never forget this trip!”
Olivia Mathias, another 18 year old, was fifth. Like Waugh, she has another full year of racing as a junior and similarly had to return home immediately following the race to continue with her exams.
James Teagle and Douglas Roberts represented Great Britain in the elite men’s race, which was won by Joao Pereira of Portugal. Both athletes ran well from the second pack to finish 21st and 29th in their senior championship debuts.
Portugal also celebrated junior gold through Vasco Vilaca. Britain’s Barclay Izzard finished 19th and Cameron Harris was 20th. Alex Chantler Mayne was unable to race after an accident in Kitzbuhel whilst preparing for the race.
The junior and senior relay teams both finished fifth in races won by Hungary (junior) and Denmark (senior). The junior team comprised of Issy Morris, Cameron Harris, Erin Wallace and Barclay Izzard whilst the senior team was Sophie Coldwell, Douglas Roberts, India Lee and James Teagle. Mixed Relays have been added to the Tokyo Olympic Games and provided a fitting finale to a successful championships.
The paratriathletes won a total of ten medals, six of them gold. For a full report visit HERE.
Pictures: British Triathlon