European Champions Yakovlev and Virginia Berasategui Win in Gernika
The current European champions Sergei Yakovlev, from Russia, and Virginia Berasategi claimed victory in the Gernika International Duathlon held under the sun, with wind and between 22 and 24 degrees of temperature, large public and fewer participants than in other years.
The last-minute dismissal of Belgian Rob Woestenborghs, world runner-up in 2010, eased the pressure on men's winners Víctor del Corral and Yakovlev.
José Fuentes-Pila, brother of the athletes Iris, Zulema and Margarita, launched the event, all of them champions of Spain at some point and at different distances.
Russian Yakovlev was the first to clear the 5,2 km. with a time of 15:37, six seconds more than the record set by Portuguese Jorge Silva in 2010 in the two laps through the center of Gernika.
The participants made with lateral wind and in front of the cyclist route towards the beach of Laida, where they made the turn to, with wind blow in favor, return to Gernika totaling 26 kms.
The Asturian Emilio Suárez used himself thoroughly in a technical circuit and speed bumps. He was the fastest at 39:21. Yakovlev did 40:17.
The Catalan Del Corral was the first to make the transition from bicycle to footwear in the pits to run the last 2.500 meters in the crowded streets of Gernika.
Del Corral - he will contest the European duathlon in 7 days in Limerick, with an option for a podium, and the World Cup in Gijón at the end of September -, he could not defend his meager advantage against Yakovlev because of a pull on his left calf that allowed the escape from Russian.
Yakovlev allowed himself the luxury of walking the final 10 meters across the finish arc at 1.03: 21. Del Corral second ahead of the Australians Raf Baugh and James Attad, who had a very regular behavior at the top positions.
The Cantabrian Félix J. Martínez -the fastest in the third stage of the duathlon with 7:09- and the Basque Kepa Ruiz -very good his performance in the cycling segment- fulfilled remarkable.
Virginia Berasategi, who had already won here in 2005, added her first win of the season with a certainly special value: without fully healing her left foot and after emerging from a sentimental breakup.
The Bilbao woman, a specialist in long distances, played this competition with real hunger and rage with some films that were not very flattering to her interests.
The reigning European long distance champion easily resolved the challenge of surpassing the Biscayan, also living in Cantabria, Inma Pereiro, Spanish short distance runner-up.
The key was in the strong rhythm of Berasategi in the first section on foot, in which she beat another woman with great distance for 15 seconds, the athlete Tamara Sanfabio, current champion of Spain in the marathon. Inmaculada Pereiro served 3:21 at the end of the cycling stage on the right bank of the Urdaibai estuary.
Berasategi won with an aggregate time of 1.13: 41 and 1:56 ahead of Pereiro, while Sanfabio arrived 8 minutes after the winner.
Virginia Berasategi, who hugged Inma Pereiro, cried for a long time as a kind of natural discharge, in reaction to the last months of tension and disgust for injuries and issues of the heart. At the end of April he will participate in the American triathlon of Mildflowers.