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Gomez, Pedersen: favourites dominate in Barcelona
Posted by: John Levison
Posted on: Sunday 19th May 2013


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It may have been his first event at the half-ironman distance, but I don't think I spoke to anyone in the last month who didn't think that Javier Gomez would win the ETU European Middle Distance Championships today at Challenge Barcelona - and he delivered, in some style with a comprehensive six minute margin of victory. Denmark's Camilla Pedersen lived up to her favourites status taking the ladies title ahead of Ireland's Eimear Mullan.

Men

On the heels of Jens Toft out of the swim, the pair had put 30 seconds margin into a swimmer of the quality of Martin Jensen, with Chris McCormack a further 30 seconds in arrears. A superb bike ride, tactically following the pace of Toft before launching an attack in the late stages followed before the final execution of a crushing half marathon. Gomez was in a different league. Martin Jensen continued his return to full fitness my making in a Danish two-three ahead of bronze medal winner Toft. Ritchie Nicholls took 'top Brit' honours in fifth, behind Italy's Jonathan Ciavattella and pushing McCormack into sixth (4:16:07)..

Gomez said after the race: “I only have one word: spectacular. In the beginning, I tried to manage my effort in the very demanding cycling segment, but when I saw myself getting comfortable and securing enough margin, I decided to enjoy the run course and its public. I am very happy with my result, the atmosphere and the great organization of this Challenge competition.”

Javier Gomez, Challenge Barcelona 2013

Jensen was very happy with silver: “It is a spectacular circuit that I thoroughly enjoyed and I am really happy with my silver medallist position, especially since I have only recently recovered from my injury.”

McCormack had no complaints and praised the event: “I travelled a long way looking for a challenge, and I found it. It was a hard race, a very good training at the beginning of the season. Furthermore, I have been able to enjoy it alongside Javier Gómez Noya, an incredible person with whom I can find no fault; he is extremely talented and very classy. I would feel privileged if he would succeed me in this distance; it has been a real pleasure to compete with him in a town like Calella and with the spectacular organization provided by Challenge."

Women

The course may have changed, but Camilla Pedersen (DEN) didn't let those hills stop her from retaining her Half Challenge Barcelona title and winning the ETU Middle Distance Championship.

Perdersen, along with Holly Lawrence (GBR) and Ricarda Lisk (GER) set the pace in the swim before quickly making the lead her own on the bike and building a comfortable lead ahead of the half marathon run where she was never threatened. Ireland's Eimear Mullan matched our pre-race prediction for her of second and can be well pleased with her development over the winter.

Pedersen said “it has been incredible… a real challenge with this new cycling course. I had problems with my bike a couple of times, but everything ended up well and I managed to enjoy the circuit, where I felt really comfortable. I love this circuit, it is fun and constitutes a real challenge. I never expect anything specific before starting a new race, I just go out there planning to give my best and it makes me really happy to win.”

Ladies podium, Challenge Barcelona 2013

Half Challenge Barcelona-Maresme, Sunday 19th May 2013

Pos Men Women
1st Javier Gomez (ESP) 4:05:07 Camilla Pedersen (DEN) 4:35:34
2nd Martin Jensen (DEN) 4:11:12 Eimear Mullan (IRL) 4:41:11
3rd Jens Toft (DEN) 4:13:13 Maria Czesnik (POL) 4:42:35
4th Jonathan Ciavattella (ITA) 4:14:23 Ricarda Lisk (GER) 4:44:38
5th Ritchie Nicholls (GBR) 4:15:20 Eva Wutti (AUT) 4:45:47

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