The hills of the Austrian Alps will be alive with the sound of more than 600 Great Britain Age-Group Team triathletes this weekend as the 2014 ETU European Triathlon Championships are staged in Kitzbuhel, Austria.
A team of 303 British triathletes will contest the medals in the Standard Distance race, while 307 have entered the Sprint. Both teams will be confident of a successful weekend, particularly in light of Great Britain’sdominance last year, when they won a total of 95 medals at the ETU EuropeanChampionships at Alanya in Turkey – 37 in the Standard Distance (12 Gold, 14 Silver and 11 Bronze) and 58 in the Sprint (20 Gold, 18 Silver, 20 Bronze).
Phil Holland was one of those medalists, with silver in the M35-39 category of the Standard Distance, and he will be aiming to go one better this time. “I can’t wait,” he says. “I haven’t raced in open water this year and I hear it’s quite warm in Kitzbuhel, so I’m hoping it’s a non-wetsuit swim because I don’t particularly like wetsuits.
“The big difference between Kitzbuhel and Alanya is the bike. Turkey was flat whereas Kitzbuhel is 700m of climbing, but I’m better climbing than on the flat so I’m happy with the course. If I can’t do well on the bike there I can’t do well on it anywhere.”
Many of the Great Britain Age Group Team’s medalists from Alanya will return alongside Holland. In the Standard Distance seven gold medallists from last year will be in Kitzbuhel: Jane Hansom (F40-44), Maria Powell (F45-49), Beverley Childs (F55-59), Lesley Kernaghan (F60-64), Barry Jameson (M60-64), Hilary Stevenson (F65-69) and Roger Kiernan (M70-74).
The Age-Group Standard Distance Championships will be held on Sunday, 22 June, beginning at 7:30am. The race opens with a 1.5km swim in the Schwarzsee, followed by two laps of a 19.7km bike course against the stunning backdrop of the mountains, with 360m climbing on each lap. The run is another two-lap affair, this time of 4.8km each around the lake.
In the Sprint Great Britain has nine returning champions from last year: Clover Murray (F16-19), Jason Moore (M25-29), Jonny Mclean (M35-39), RachelBown (F40-44), Alan Cole (M40-44), Steve McKeown (M45-49), Jane Saunders (F50-54), Gavin Sword (M50-54) and Joyce Mark (F55-59).
The Age-Group Sprint Championships will be held tomorrow, Friday 20 June, starting at 8am. The course begins with the 750m swim in the Schwarzsee, before one lap of the 19.7km bike route and one of the 4.8km run around thelake.
Image: Janos Schmidt/ITU