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Rotterdam ETU Sprint Triathlon Race Report

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Zoe Thomas and Fenella Langridge compete in the Rotterdam ETU Sprint Triathlon European Cup

Rotterdam is known for providing fast courses to marathon runners and most recently for the prologue and Grande Depart of the 2010 Tour de France. This fantastic Dutch city did not disappoint when hosting the latest round of the ETU European Cup series with some very exciting racing over the sprint distance event (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run).

 

Three British women took to the start line on Saturday afternoon in glorious sunshine, Zoe Thomas, Fenella Langridge and Georgia Taylor-Brown. The pace was fast right from the air horn blast, or just before for three athletes who couldn’t quite be identified by the officials. At the first  buoy 320m after the dive from the pontoon there were three athletes in the lead with a small gap to a couple of chasers and then gap to a larger group of athlete. This is how it stayed with Brazilian Lopes, American Kasper and Australian Moana-Veale exiting the water and heading out onto the bike with a 20 second lead. Zoe was side by side with Georgia and Fenella was only a hand full of seconds just behind as they headed out onto the 3km link from T1, across the bridge and onto the 5km technical bike circuit. 

 

The three leaders had cemented their lead of 20s to the chase group containing Zoe and Georgia. Unfortunately for Zoe her front wheel went from underneath her heading into a cobble section on a corner three quarters of the way round the first lap. But fortunately she crashed and rolled onto the grass minimising the damage and got back up as the next pack with Fenella in it rode past. Zoe had to sort her chain out and then chase onto Fenella’s pack expending a fair amount of effort. This is how it stayed until the final lap when Georgia’s group caught the three leaders, Fenella who was riding really strongly then attacked with Zoe breaking away from their group who weren’t working particularly well and hit the dismount line 10 seconds back just as the lead pack were racking their bikes on the blue carpet. 

 

Out onto the run and the American Kasper established a commanding lead over Michel and Malowiecki early on. Georgia in only her second race this season ran a really strong and well paced final leg moving up into the top 5 on the final lap. Zoe and Fenella were running inside the top 10 but were being hunted down but the Italian Dossena who had one of the fastest runs of the day even after serving a 10s penalty. Dossena managed to run from the fourth pack into 4th place at the end of the race. During the second half of the run Belgian Michel had managed to dig deep in probably her last race before the Rio Olympic Games to overtake Kasper and put some distance between her to secure top spot on the podium at the end of the 5km run. Kasper and Malowiecki held onto second and third respectively with Dossena coming in 4th, Georgia in 5th, Zoe 10th and Fenella in 11th place.

 

After the race Zoe said “My race tactics were to attack the swim, I wanted to back up my good season of consistently making the front pack. From here I wanted to ride hard because the technical course leant itself to a small breakaway getting an advantage heading out onto the run. Unfortunately for me I got a bit excited about this opportunity and lost the advantage I gained by crashing, but at least I got the swim bit right. I’m frustrated not to have done what I think I could have on the weekend but having only got my first ETU Cup top 10 this year I cannot be too disappointed with 10th even though I crashed”.

 

Just like Zoe, Fenella really enjoyed the event saying “The course was fun with lots of corners and cobbles which meant lots of accelerating and decelerating. I had fun out there, the race went pretty well, I wasn’t quite firing on all cylinders but it’s another solid race in only my third Continental Cup. Rotterdam will be a great venue for the 2017 WTS Grand final”

 

Fenella is returning to London in two weeks time for the British Triathlon Olympic Distance Championships looking for another strong race where she came 3rd last year. That same weekend will see Zoe competing at the World University Triathlon Championships in Switzerland where she hopes to demonstrate her good from she hasn’t quite managed to show in the last few races as well as she would have hoped.

 

Both women are then racing in Liverpool at the British Sprint Championships in 3 weeks time which will see some more exciting and fast racing at the sharp end from these two.

 

Article by Andy Lane

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