The Netherlands’ Jetze Plat was arguably the most impressive performer at the 2014 Para-triathlon European Championships in Kitzbühel, Austria, on Saturday (21 June) as he claimed victory six minutes ahead of his competitors.
But it was Germany’s Martin Schulz and France’s Yannick Bourseaux who provided the race of the day, as they once again traded blows before Schulz narrowly edged out his opponent in the final few metres.
Meanwhile, it was an impressive outing for Great Britain, with their athletes taking 12 medals overall, including gold’s for Lauren Steadman, Chris Goodwin and Karen Darke.
The Netherlands’ Plat continued to make his mark in Para-triathlon as he took a commanding victory in the PT1 event.
A relative newcomer to the sport, and predominantly a handbiker, Plat demolished his competition on the bike course to finish in an incredible time of 59:48.
His time was a full six minutes ahead of his closest competitors - Great Britain’s Phill Hogg and Joe Townsend - who took silver and bronze respectively.
In the women’s race, GB tasted victory with Darke taking gold in 1:22:07. This was backed up by her compatriot Jane Egan in silver, with Italy’s Rita Cuccuru claiming bronze.
Russian Vasily Egorov claimed gold to become European champion ahead of Paralympic and World Champion Michele Ferrarin of Italy.
After the bike stage, it was Ferrarin who was leading, but a commanding effort in the run from Egorov ensured he claimed victory in 1:08:18. France’s Stephane Bahier came third.
In the women’s race, German Nora Hansel took the win in 1:32:41 ahead of Russia’s Veronika Gabitova.
Dutch athlete Saskia Van Den Ouden led from start to finish in the PT3 to claim the European title in 1:25:49 ahead of Great Britain’s Sarah Pearson.
In the men’s race, Austrian Oliver Dreier claimed gold after being reclassified ahead of Italy’s Alessio Borgato and Spain’s Daniel Molina. Borgato trailed Molina after the swim stage, but an impressive effort on the bike saw him safely into silver position.
Great Britain’s Steadman took victory in 1:09:49 to once again upstage her compatriot Faye McClelland in the PT4 as they took gold and silver respectively.
It could have been a clean sweep for Great Britain, but Clare Cunningham was overtaken on the final lap of the run by Italy’s Irene Riviera, who took bronze.
Arguably the most dramatic finish of the day came in the men’s PT4, with Germany’s Schulz being pushed all the way by France’s Bourseaux, but in a repeat of the 2013 World Championships final, the German proved too strong in the final stages and claimed gold.
Great Britain’s Goodwin and Dave Ellis claimed another pair of gold and silver medals for their country in the PT5 event, with Ukraine’s Vasyl Rakrevskyi in third.
And the medals didn’t stop there for Great Britain, with Melissa Reid and Alison Patrick taking silver and bronze behind Spain’s Susana Rodriguez, who impressed with gold in 1:12:06.