By Erin Greene on 25/05/16 at 9:00 am
This Friday, Europe’s top paratriathletes will be in Lisbon, Portugal in the hunt for final Paralympic points before qualification for the 2016 Paralympic Games closes in one month. The sport class start lists are loaded with hungry talented ready for battle.
Two top contenders for Great Britain will line up in Lisbon with Phil Hogg and Joseph Townsend racing. Both are consistent competitors, who could make a real showing for the nation in Rio. But they will be challenged by Italy’s Giovanni Achenza and the Netherlands’ Geert Schipper and Jetze Plat. Although Plat has won the ETU title for the last two years, he and Townsend will need impressive finishes to stay in the bubble for Brazil.
While the women’s PT1 class will not compete in Rio this summer, Spain’s Eva Maria Moral Pedrero and Great Britain’s Lizzie Tench will go up against newcomers Fiona Mccormack (IRL) and Romy Pansters (NED).
Italian Michele Ferrarin returns as the reigning World Champion, but in last year’s ETU Championship in Geneva he was outperformed by Frenchman Stephane Bahier and earned the bronze to Bahier’s silver. These two men are the top-ranked athletes in the men’s PT2 sport class, but everyone else will be after points to improve their standing in the Paralympic qualification rankings.
With no Americans in the European race, France’s Elise Marc is the favourite heading into Friday’s race followed by Rakel Mateo Uriarte (ESP). The race will also be important for Findland’s Liisa Lilja to improve her ranking for Rio.
While not a sport class slated for Rio on the men or women’s side, that didn’t deter a wide array of talent from traveling to Lisbon. Reaching the top of the European Championship podium in the men’s PT3 sport class usually goes to Alejandro Sanchez Palomero (ESP) or Oliver Dreier (AUT). This weekend, the two will come face to face to see who can beat out the other for the ETU title. But both men will also have competition with Spaniard Daniel Molina, who also joined them on the ETU podium last year, to contend with.
By far the most stacked men’s start list of the weekend is in the PT4 sport class. Topping it out is Martin Schulz (GER), Yannick Bourseaux (FRA) and Jairo Ruiz Lopez (ESP). All three of these men will likely book tickets to Rio and will put on a show to dazzle when they do. But look out for George Peasgood (GBR) to lead on the swim and bike, as he’s known for his strong up front speed.
Great Britain have entered all of it’s big hitters in the women’s PT4 sport class with Lauren Steadman, Faye Mcclelland, and Claire Cunningham all racing. The trio shared the World Championship podium in 2014.
Likely three of the strongest competitors that will take to Copacabana for the women’s PT5 sport class will line up in Lisbon in Alison Patrick (GBR), Susana Rodriguez (ESP), and Melissa Reid (GBR). Joleen Hakker B1 will also provide stiff competition for the ladies.
While they won’t be heading to race in Rio, that won’t stop last year’s European Championship gold and silver medallists Vasyl Zakrevskyi B1 (UKR) and Alen Kobilica B1 (SLO) from sweating it out for the ETU titles this Friday.
Find more details about this event - 2016 Lisbon ETU Triathlon European Championships