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Spirig takes fourth Euro Champs title
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Saturday 21st June 2014


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She may be headed towards the European Athletics Championships to represent Switzerland in the Marathon, but Olympic Champion Nicola Spirig showed once again on Friday that she hasn’t lost her triathlon ability by taking her fourth ETU European Triathlon Championship title in Kitzbühel, Austria.

Lois Rosindale took fifth with Holly Lawrence 11th for the British team.


Although the rain and the cold could not stop Nicola Spirig from winning her 4th European gold in Kitzbühel, the weather definitely had an impact on the race. While yesterday the water temperature of the Schwarzsee was still okay, it dropped on race day, making these European championships a wetsuit race.

Five girls managed to break away in the second swim lap with Vilic (AUT), Betto (ITA), Vanek (HUN), Bonin (ITA) and defending champion Rachel Klamer (NED). The Dutch girl lost too much time in transition when mounting the bike and had to let the others go. Vilic also dropped off, leaving three girls in the lead on the bike.
In the chase pack of nine Nicola Spirig (SUI) and Lisa Perterer (AUT) were working hard to close the gap. Halfway through the bike they managed to catch the 3 leaders. All the time the rain was pouring down.
A chase pack of 7 was reduced to 5 due to the cold weather but they managed to almost close the gap at the end of the last bike lap. With Lois Rosindale (GBR) and Sophia Saller (GER) two more strong runners were making their way to the front of the race.
In the meantime one by one athletes were stepping out of the race, seeking some warmth in the medical tent.
The run would be all decisive and Nicola Spirig immediately tried to break away. The Swiss Olympic champion was racing her first elite international race of the season but she proved to be in good shape, although she suffered from cramps and a stitch going into the last run lap. She could not slow down, since the young German Sophia Saller held Nicola in her sight throughout the run. The gap was only 12 seconds. Annamaria Mazzetti was running strong in third.
In the last lap Nicola Spirig ran towards her first big win of the season, claiming a 4th European crown after being away from triathlon to become a mom in 2013. Behind her Sophia Saller took silver in her first ever olympic distance elite race and Mazzetti was happy to win her 2nd bronze medal since 2011, after coming 4th last time.

Olympic champion Spirig was thrilled to be back on the highest level. “It was a great race for me. I had a good swim and was happy to catch the lead girls in the 2nd lap on the bike. I worked hard on the bike today. It was a bit ironic. I was happy to catch up, but then it got so cold that I couldn’t sit back. I was so cold and still had to work to try to keep warm. That made it hard and gave me cramps at the end. Therefore I decided to run as fast as I can. It’s amazing to finish here as the European champion.”

I had a stitch in the 3rd run lap. I was feeling okay, but then I got this stitch, and it was a pretty bad one. But I managed to get it under control. I needed to, because the distance with Saller was always the same. Only in the last 500 meters I started to relax, knowing that the gap was big enough. I am so happy with my 4th European title. Will I be back for a 5th one? I don’t know. Let’s see what happens… It’s not easy being a mother now, but my son and my family mean so much to me. Normally Sven is always with me, but now he has been cheering for me from home”, Nicola says.

Sophia Saller couldn’t be happier. “I was in tears when I crossed the line. This was my first olympic distance race on this level, so I did not know what to expect, how much to eat and drink. And of course I got cold on the bike. I was happy that the other girls were really careful in the turns, because at times it was dangerous. Due to the rain at a certain point my brakes were not working properly. I was glad when the bike was over and I could start the run. In better weather conditions it could have been a different run, but I never believed I could overtake Spirig. She’s such a strong athlete”, the German girl told us.

Annamaria Mazzetta took her second bronze medal. “Coming in 4th and just missing the podium last time was pretty hard, so I am really satisfied to be back on the podium”, the Italian smiles. “It was not easy for me coming here after a few bad races. But the European championships have always been good to me. It was so hard and so cold and I was just trying to keep myself warm.”


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