The Spaniard left T2 some forty seconds behind leader Tony Moulai but by the end of the first run lap, Gomez' explosive pace propelled him into the lead and he never looked back. Russian duo Alexander Bryukhankov and Ivan Vasiliev completed the podium in a great result for the Russian Federation.
Gomez was quiet in the opening stages of the race, remaining close enough in the swim and the cycle before attacking the run like a bullet. Maximillian Schwetz (GER) led the way on the swim, leading after the first lap ahead of a French triumvirate of Aurelien Raphael, Frederic Belaubre and Pierre Le Corre.
Schwetz maintained his lead after the second lap and exited the water in first place. Russian duo Dmitry Polyansky and Ivan Vasiliev followed Schwetz closely out of the water, with Belaubre and Raphael maintaining their early pace. As the pack followed it was Polyansky who exited T1 in the lead. Alexander Bryukhankov followed with Fabien (ITA) and Schwetz. Gomez was in amongst the front group about 8th or 9th.
It was an intriguing bike race. After one lap we had a breakaway when Anton Chuchko (RUS) powered away early on. The front group of about 15 riders were led by Ivan Rana (ESP) who maintained the pace about 7 seconds behind Chuchko and twenty-five seconds ahead of the second group.
Chuchko's breakaway didn't last and by the next lap he was swallowed by the leading pack of 15 who included Gomez, Riederer, Bryukhankov, Polyansky, Vasiliev, Fabien and Schwetz. Rana and Vasiliev then took on the mantle and themselves broke free of the front group.
This breakaway lasted for a lap before the pack once again came together - Mark Buckingham was leading the second group who had now fallen forty seconds behind the front pack.
There were some intriguing tactics taking place and after lap 4, Tony Moulai (FRA) and Andreas Schilling (DEN) were the next to make a breakaway and the two really went for it, opening up a huge gap on the pack. Behind this front group, sterling work by mark Buckingham dragged the second group back into contention and the pack behind Rana and Vasiliev was swelled to 30 riders.
Moulai left T2 in the lead with Schilling just behind. The pair held a forty second gap over the chasers which included Rana (ESP), Croes (BEL) and Buckingham (GBR) and Gomez.
In an awesome display of pace and power Gomez ended the first run lap in the lead, ten seconds in front of Moulai and looking unstoppable. Bryukankhov was chasing down Moulai and it remained to be seen whether the Frenchman had enough left in the tank to secure a podium position.
With two laps to go Gomez was cruising, Bryukhankov had sucked in Moulai for second place and the exhausted Frenchman was bravely hanging onto third. Vasiliev sensed blood back in 4th and Fabien (ITA) and Polyansky were also giving chase.
However, there was drama in the closing stages as Moulai had to serve a penalty for throwing his swim hat on the ground. As a result, Vasiliev caught him and crossed the line for third just four seconds ahead of the beleaguered Frenchman.
For Gomez though, there was joy at reclaiming his European title. He said: "It was a tough race with conditions in the heat and the wind. The course was tough too, it was a very complicated but I felt good the whole time and I kept pretty solid on the bike.
"I knew I had energy for the run and although it wasn't a very fast run, it was the same conditions for everyone, but I managed to push hard on the first lap and make a pretty good gap and then I just kept it. I felt tired but pretty happy."
Alexander Bryukhankov said: "I am happy with second place. Before the race I had hoped to be in the top three and I am pleased.
Russian Ivan Vasiliev was delighted with his podium spot. He said: "I'm very happy for third. I think I have secured my qualification for the Olympics so that is my goal.
2012 ETU Triathlon European Championships Results:
Eilat, Israel - April 20-21, 2012
|Elite Men Results||Time||
|Elite Women Results||Time|
|Javier Gomez (ESP)||1:55:48||
|Nicola Spirig (SUI)||2:07:11|
|Alexander Bryukhankov (RUS)||1:56:08||
|Ainhoa Murua (ESP)||2:07:20|
|Ivan Vasiliev (RUS)||1:56:42||
|Emmie Charayron (FRA)||2:07:56|
|Tony Moulai (FRA)||1:56:47||
|Jessica Harrison (FRA)||2:08:27|
|Alessandro Fabian (ITA)||1:56:48||
|Vendula Frintova (CZE)||2:09:00|
|Mario Mola (ESP)||1:56:52||
|Agnieszka Jerzyk (POL)||2:09:23|
|Franz Loeschke (GER)||1:56:57||
|Helle Frederiksen (DEN)||2:09:34|
|Dmitry Polyansky (RUS)||1:57:06||
|Irina Abysova (RUS)||2:09:52|
|Aaron Harris (GBR)||1:57:09||
|Yuliya Yelistratova (UKR)||2:10:00|
|Aurélien Raphael (FRA)||1:57:13||
|Carole Peon (FRA)||2:10:04|
Nicola Spirig wins third European Championship title in Eilat
Nicola Spirig (SUI) and Ainhoa Murua (ESP) produced a thrilling sprint finish at the 2012 Eilat ETU Triathlon European Championships this weekend. Spirig outran Murua for the second straight week after the pair fought a similar sprint in Sydney just last week, with Spirig winning out again, this time for her third European Championship. Defending champion Emmie Charayron (FRA) held her position throughout the race to take bronze.
The elite women took to the course in the dry heat and it was Great Britain's Lucy Hall who exited the swim first to run the 300m up to T1. She was closely followed by Jessica Harrison (FRA), Spirig and Charayron who each made up time in the short run up to transition to begin the ride together.
A lead pack of ten quickly formed on the bike swallowing up Hall and included Murua, Denmark's Camilla Pedersen and Helle Frederiksen and Vanessa Raw (GBR). In the chase pack Mateja Simic (SLO) and Mariya Shorets (RUS) attempted to close the gap in the fourth lap, but a tyre change for Simic entering the fifth lap soon stalled her efforts. The chase pack which also included Carole Peon (FRA) fell further away from the leaders as the ride progressed and with no signs of closing the gap they were almost two minutes behind going into T2.
Spirig lost a few seconds dropping her bike shoe in transition and it was Harrison who strode out first for the run. Murua, Spirig and Charayron were hot on Harrison's heels and the small group stayed together into the second lap.
On the final lap Spirig and Murua kicked out ahead and behind them, Charayron had pulled away from Harrison as they neared the final straight. A spectacular sprint to the line mirrored the previous week in Sydney, but this time it was for the top position. Spirig confidently stepped up a gear in the last few hundred metres to take her third elite European Championship title.
"I'm extremely happy, it's a dream come true and I'm speechless, it's amazing," said Spirig. "I felt good on the run. My training has been going amazing and that's how it should feel in a race and I'm just extremely happy. It was same sprint with Murua last week in Sydney and I won, but we were discussing that after the race and I told her that I am good in a sprint and I will beat you every time. She knew she had to get rid of me before the sprint and the closer we got to the finish line, the more nervous she became."
Photo Credits: Janos Schmidt / ITU Media