Bart Aernouts and Lucy Gossage produced stellar displays to claim gold at the ETU Powerman European Long Distance Duathlon Championship in Horst.
The Men’s Race
Bart Aernouts sprinted to victory to claim the European Long Distance Duathlon Championship in Horst.
The 2010 World Duathlon Champion led home compatriot Rob Woestenborghs in a Belgian one-two as the duo dominated the majority of the race.
Switzerland’s Andreas Sutz finished third to complete the podium.
In the early stages of the first run it was Russian Sergey Yakovlev who set the pace with Roger Roca (ESP).
By lap 3, the lead group contained seven athletes with Yakovlev and Roca joined by Woestenborghs (BEL), Aernouts (BEL) Mott (GBR), Rodriguez (ESP) and Le Duey (FRA).
The big surprise was that defending Champion Joerie Vansteelant was some way off the pace and by the 4th lap he was 55 seconds behind.
Woestenborghs exited transition onto the bike in the lead, with Le Duey and Roca in close pursuit.
Vansteelant, who didn’t look comfortable on the course, withdrew from the race on the second bike lap. After the race the World Champion admitted that his hamstrings were tight and put it down to his exertions in Fuerteventura last weekend.
Nevertheless, Aernouts and Woestenborghs continued to fly the Belgian flag and the duo set a breathtaking bike pace to really open up the field.
Only Andreas Sutz could keep up with the Belgians and by the last bike lap the trio held a lead of over 1 minute 30 seconds ahead of the chasing pack.
On the final run segment, Aernouts and Woestenborghs continued to push each other with Sutz falling behind but secure in third place.
The Belgian training partners remained neck and neck for the remainder of the race before Aernouts kicked on and sprinted ahead of Woestenborghs to claim the title and in a touching gesture, he even had time to pick up his 4 month old daughter to carry her over the line with him.
After the race, the new Champion Aernouts said: “I am happy with the result, very pleased.
“The pace was very high, we were just a small group. Myself and Rob had a plan to push it on the bike and make it a tough race for everybody and Andy (Sutz) was the only one who could follow.
“There is still a long way to go on the final run, we were both comfortable on the run and with 1.5kms to go I pushed a bit harder and that was enough to win.”
Rob Woestenborghs, who was also runner up at the World Duathlon Championships in Zofingen last year, said: “I am satisfied with second place, I had a very small chance to win. I train with Bart and I know he is stronger than me.”
Andreas Sutz said: “I am really happy I had no expectation to get on the podium. I thought if I ran a good race I had a chance of top five but I didn’t expect to get on the podium.”
The Women’s Race
Lucy Gossage produced a supreme performance to win the ETU Powerman European Long Distance Duathlon Championship in Horst.
The British athlete dominated the race from start to finish and despite a late challenge from Sweden’s Eva Nystrom, a delighted Gossage crossed the line over a minute ahead.
Nystrom was secure in second place and 2011 World Duathlon runner up Jenny Schulz claimed her first European Duathlon podium with a third placed finish.
A fired up Gossage set a pulsating pace immediately and was joined by Sabrina Monmarteau (FRA) and Schulz (GER) as a lead group was established. Nystrom and compatriot Camilla Lindholm were some 15 seconds behind.
By the end of the 4th lap, Gossage, Monmarteau and Schulz had increased their lead with Nystrom isolated in 4th place as Lindholm fell further behind.
Monmarteau exited transition first but by the end of the first bike lap Gossage had powered into a healthy lead.
Nystrom was the most impressive performer on the bike as she not only moved up into second place but closed the gap behind Gossage to twenty seconds.
By the end of the third 20km bike lap, Nystrom had closed the gap again and she left transition together with Gossage and very much in striking distance.
Jenny Schulz was maintaining her form in third place but the early challenge of Monmarteau faded as the French athlete dropped out of contention.
However, Gossage excelled again on the final run segment as she pushed hard to leave Nystrom trailing. With two laps to go she had increased her lead to ten seconds and by the last lap her victory was never in doubt.
This is the first time Gossage has defended one of her titles and the British athlete believes this is significant. She said: “Psychologically that’s a big battle for me to win today, to actually defend my title. It’s different being expected to do well but I kept cool and ran a better race.”
Gossage also reserved high praise for Eva Nystrom, with the duo creating a healthy rivalry in Duathlon. She said: “You never have an easy day with her, we bring out the best in each other.”
Nystrom said: “Lucy is a great runner and I am happy with my second place. I was a bit off the pace after the first run, more than I thought, and I had to work hard on the bike.”