The European Cross Triathlon Championships took place over the weekend in Stara Myjava, near Bratislava, Slovakia. Athletes were subjected to a true test of grit, determination and courage with some vertical climbs and stomach sinking descents on both the bike and run.
Team GB had no women in the elite wave but on the men’s side, there was representation from Tom Curtis, Tim McDowell and Graham Wadsworth. The race began with a 1000m swim in a 13°C mountain lake followed by a 25km mountain bike and a 7.5km run. Conditions were very muddy but warm and sunny, making the bike course even more challenging.
The British trio had fantastic support from the Age Group athletes who travelled there for their race on Sunday. Wadsworth had a strong bike and the 4th quickest run split of the day which helped him to a 10th place overall finish and first British male across the line. McDowell had a great swim and bike and fought hard on the run to finish in 12th place. After a great swim which saw him exit the water in joint 3rd overall, Curtis finished in a credible 20th place in his first ever off-road triathlon.
However, it was Frankie Batelier (FRA), 2009 Xterra European Champion, who won the elite men’s race with another commanding performance to become European Cross Champion. Batelier was 3rd out of the swim but soon took the lead on the bike and never looked back. In second place was Vic Morales Del Corral (ESP) who had the fastest run of the day and Tomas Jurkovic (SVK) was third.
Batelier said after the race, “it was a very hard race today – the mud on the bike course made the conditions hard, especially on the second lap and the long climbs made the run tough. I was very happy to win here today though as there was good competition.”
In the women’s elite race, Corina Wasel (AUT) posted the 3rd quickest swim and the fastest run on the way to becoming European Champion but second place Maud Golsteyn (NED) gave her a run for her money with a strong bike. Judy Van Der Berg (NED) finished third.
There was also a team event that was determined by the cumulative time of the top three finishers from each country. Great Britain was 4th overall behind Slovakia, Czech Republic and France, which was great effort by the team.
For the Age Group race, heavy rain overnight and on Sunday morning meant that the course was cut to one lap on all three disciplines. However, Britain now has three new European Cross Triathlon Champions. Sian Turner won the female race overall and the 25-29 age group, Lucy Cash won the 30-34 age group and Stuart Lumb won the 65-69 category.
The British Off-Road ‘Cross’ Championships are taking place on 31st July in Scotland. Anyone interested in taking part should visit www.durtytriathlon.com to enter.