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Spaniards Virginia Berasategui and Eneko Llanos were victorious on home soil at the 210 ETU Long Distance Triathlon European Championships in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain on Saturday.
It was the second European Long Distance title in a row for Berasategui, who started the day with a three-minute swim deficit to defending Long Distance world champ Jodie Swallow of Great Britain. The Spaniard was untouchable on the bike, however, covering the 120-kilometre bike course in 3:10:59-over ten minutes faster than Swallow. The Brit put on a surge on the run, but it wasn’t enough to catch the leader, as Berasategui broke the finishing tape in 6:14:46, just over four minutes ahead of Swallow. Italy’s Edith Niederfriniger rounded out the podium, finishing a distant third in 6:41:01.
“This is one of the most important victories of my life,” Berasategui said afterward. “With this fantastic atmosphere, I expect to win the 2012 ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championship. After hosting this year’s European Championship, Vitoria-Gasteiz, capital of the Spanish Basque Country, will host next year’s Long Distance World Championship.
Tough competition was served up by the Danish team in the men’s race, but in the end no man could match the long distance speed of Spain’s Eneko Llanos, a three-time XTERRA Triathlon World Champion. Denmark’s Martin Jensen and Jimmy Johnsen stayed with Llanos for the 4-kilometre swim and 120-kilometre ride, but the Spanish superstar was too quick once the trio started the 30-kilometre run. Llanos, the 2003 ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Champion, pulled away to finish in 5:35:34, one-and-a-half minutes ahead of Jensen. Johnsen completed the great day for the Danes by rounding out the podium, finishing another two minutes back.
“One of my goals was to be the European or world champion at home,” Llanos said. “Now I am the European champion and next year I will have the opportunity to win a world championship at home.”
1. Eneko Llanos (ESP) 5:35:34
2. Martin Jensen (DEN) 5:37:00
3. Jimmy Johnsen (DEN) 5:49:19
4. Mikel Elgezabal Fernandez (ESP) 5:53:58
5. Pedro Gomes (POR) 5:56:50
6. Richard Calle Martinez (ESP) 5:57:36
7. Jarmo Hast (FIN) 5:59:22
8. Andrej Vistica (CRO) 6:04:11
9. Karl-Johan Danielsson (SWE) 6:07:59
10. Petr Soukup (CZE) 6:09:06
1. Virginia Berasategui (ESP) 6:14:46
2. Jodie Swallow (GBR) 6:19:02
3. Edith Niederfriniger (ITA) 6:41:01
4. Eva Ledesma (ESP) 6:42:34
5. Tiina Boman (FIN) 6:47:14
6. Lisbeth Kristensen (DEN) 6:54:00
7. Valentina Filipeto (ITA) 6:56:26
8. Martina Dogana (ITA) 7:01:41
9. Venla Koivula (FIN) 7:08:48
Race recap provided by ITU.