Chronicle of the XI Winter Triathlon "Valle de Ansó"

During the last week, several consecutive storms left the Linza Circuit in good conditions for cross-country skiing. A week earlier the eleventh edition of the Winter Triathlon “Valle de Ansó” had been suspended due to the absence of snow.

The conditions allowed the organizers to announce that the test would be held on Sunday, February 20. During Saturday, with the entire organization working at full capacity to carry out the test, a light, but persistent rain, made us fear the worst.

Those in charge of the circuit work hard to recover the areas that the rain has damaged the most. At dusk the sky clears and temperatures drop, causing the wet snow to freeze. Despite this, the work carried out on the circuit allows it to be practicable, although with considerable technical difficulty, due to the hardness of the snow.

The low thickness of snow did not allow the snow to be cut in the morning, as the crust was broken. Although throughout the morning, with a splendid sun, the conditions will soften somewhat, all participants, even the best skiers, will agree that the hardest segment of the three has been skiing.

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The participation, 74 triathletes, 14 in the female category. Without reaching the 180 registered in the Spanish Championship held in Ansó in 2010 or 156 in Reinosa 3 weeks ago, it can be considered acceptable.

Being similar to 2009, when this test was resumed with the classic format, the organization considers that a bad winter, with few days with the circuits in conditions to train cross-country skiing, and the fact that the lack of snow forced to postpone the test for a week, they have been the cause that the participation was not as expected.

As a similar case, it should be remembered that the initial participation in Reinosa completed the registration cap, 225, and that the initial quota of 150 was covered in just over 24 hours. However, with a previous week of uncertainty, on the day of celebration of the Cantabrian test the participation was considerably lower.

Regarding the level, it should be noted that 7 of the top 10 classified in the male category in Reinosa were present, while in the female category the Champion of Spain, Mónica Sáez, was not lacking.


The organization of the test, in charge of the Ansó City Council, the Linza Sports Society, the Talón Libre Sports Association (manager of the Linza Circuit) and the Mayencos Pirineísta Club, had the collaboration of many of the companies and institutions of the Valley and the Region, without which it would not have been possible to carry out the test.

First segment: Hard race on foot through the streets of Ansó

In the same scenario and the same distance in which the Spanish Championship was played last season, 7 km through the steep and cobbled streets of Ansó, the women's category started shortly after ten in the morning and two minutes later to the male.

Among the girls, Mónica Sáez, from the Mayencos Brico-Jaca Triathlon, flaming Champion of Spain, proclaimed 20 days ago in Reinosa, tried to impose her law on the foot race. Another triathlete from Mayencos, Esther Arias, and Naroa Arrieta, from Trigoi TT, stuck to her. The two Mayencos triathletes would reach the first transition together (30:46), while Naroa lost 30 seconds. Behind, Soraya García (Valdemoro Triathlon) and, well behind, more than 4 minutes, the junior Maite Murgia (Trigoi TT), Spanish Champion of the category in 2009 and who would have a lot to say at the end.

In the men's category, three proper names, who had already faced each other in the Reinosa Triathlon, Jon Erguin (Trigoi TT), Runner-up of Spain, Sergio Gimeno (Foncasa Calatayud Duathlon) and Juan Carlos Apilluelo (Mayencos Brico-Jaca Triathlon). They would be joined by another of the historic winter triathlons in its classic format, the Frenchman Jean Claude Carrere, from the Lourdes Triathlon France, a regular at the Spanish white triathlons of the 80s and 90s, who is already competing in the veterans-2 category , but like Apilluelo, it is maintained at the highest level. The first to reach the transition would be Api (26:45), with Gimeno at 17 seconds, followed by Iñaki Marsal (Hiruki Valle de Egüés), Carrere, Miguel López (Stadium Casablanca) and Jon Erguin, who lost almost a minute compared to by Apilluelo.

Erguin and Sáez open a gap on the bicycle

The cycling segment of this triathlon does not have the usual toughness of a white triathlon. From the 850 meters of Ansó you go up to the 1350 of Linza in 20 km, it is not what is called a mountain pass in which you can make great differences, nor does it have steep slopes. But it was enough for Mónica Sáez (1:02:41) to get an income of more than 6 minutes from the triathlete with the second best set, Erkuden Almagro, from Lagunak Saltoki, who would take the skis in third position. Naroa Arrieta, who came second to Linza, was already losing 10 minutes compared to Sáez. For her part, Esther Arias started cycling just over a month ago and has yet to unleash her full potential in this segment. He lost more than 14 minutes compared to his teammate, making the eighth set. Maite Murgia came to skiing in sixth place, 3:43 behind Arias.

In the boys the differences were smaller, with a Jon Erguin who would make up for the time lost in the race on foot (49:44), entering Linza 11 seconds ahead of Sergio Gimeno and taking 31 from Apilluelo. After them, others such as Ricard Calmet (CN Reus), Carrere, Raúl Roda (not federated), Mikel de la Presa (Estanda Triathlon), Daniel Martínez Ibero and Iker Rozas (Lagunak Saltoki) or Miguel López Allué "Coix" (Stadium Casablanca), to complete the top ten, already more than 7 minutes from the lead.

Technical ski circuit

In the cross-country skiing circuit you have the possibility of designing several routes, most of them simple and without excessive harshness, although in some triathlon organized here, harder and more technical routes have also been taken. In this edition the snow forced. A 2.300-meter circuit was taken which was given 4 laps, without being able to complete the ten kilometers. The circuit consisted of a moderate descent, with its equivalent on the rise, only interrupted by a steeper climb of about 200 meters and a descent in several zetas. The technical difficulty was made by hard snow, with some section in which more than frozen snow was real ice.

With these conditions, skill and balance on skis took more prominence than strength.

Monica Sáez had no rival in skiing either, doing 39:04, got 11 more minutes of income and won with more than 21 minutes of advantage (2:12:31). Junior Maite Murgia asserted her skiing level by climbing from sixth place to second. Esther Arias took advantage of the fact that in addition to knowing how to ski she has strength and caught up with Maite Murgia, however, the Basque's technique is superior and she showed it in the last descent, overtaking Arias again and snatching second place from her. In fourth position, Naroa Arrieta, who was surpassed in skiing by the previous two. Susana Peláez was fifth.

For female teams only Mayencos Brico-Jaca Triathlon scored, the Spanish Champion team in Reinosa, which this time attended with Sáez, Arias and Orosia Lucha, who did not miss the appointment he attends year after year.

In boys, Jon Erguin, of whom we all know his quality on the bike, already demonstrated in Reinosa how he has improved his level skiing, scoring the best set, 27:25. In Linza it was confirmed that he is capable of surpassing the specialists and he was once again the best on the boards in a very technical circuit, entering the finish line in 1:44:53, with 53 seconds ahead of Apilluelo, who once again surpassed Sergio Gimeno, who made the 5th set in this segment, losing more than three minutes, a bit far from his level as a skier.

After the podium, in fourth position Jean Claude Carrere, happy to compete in the classic format, Ricard Calmet, Raúl Roda, Iker Rozas, who improved 3 places skiing, Daniel Martínez, Mikel de la Presa and “Coix”.

The first team on the podium was Lagunak Saltoki (Rozas, Martínez Ibero, Zarranz) that beat the Champion of Spain, the Duathlon Foncasa Calatayud (Gimeno, Colás, Pintanel), second. In third position came the Triathlon Standard (De la Presa, Calderón, Fuente). The Mayencos team, 4th, lost a position after the disqualification of their junior, Nacho Ara, who mistakenly took one less lap on skiing.

After the test, and despite the difficulty of the ski circuit, satisfaction was breathed in the atmosphere. The participants, for what they have enjoyed in this triathlon, in a beautiful setting of the Pyrenees, with a splendid day. The organizers, for being able to breathe easy after more than a month of uncertainty, with a crazy last week.

After the race, the people of Ansó offered a popular meal to participants, companions and volunteers, at the end of which there was the delivery of trophies and the raffle of gifts, including the raffle of several weekend stays in cozy rural tourism houses in the Valley.

Juan Carlos Apilluelo and Mónica Sáez, from Mayencos Brico-Jaca Triathlon, are proclaimed Champions of Aragon in the XI Winter Triathlon "Valle de Ansó"

Three weeks after the Spanish Championship held in Reinosa, where 7 medals were achieved, Mayencos Brico-Jaca Triathlon, shines again in the XI Winter Triathlon “Valle de Ansó”, Aragon Championship, achieving, in large part thanks to the Club "old guard", 10 medals.

In the women's category, gold, silver and bronze have been achieved with Mónica Sáez, Esther Arias and Orosia Lucha, in addition to gold for women's teams.

In the men's category, the incombustible Apilluelo managed to be absolute champion of Aragon (gold also veteran 1), Jesús Les (silver veteran 1) and Rodrigo, Rodríguez and Capdevila were gold, silver and bronze (veterans 2). In men's teams, the Mayencos Brico-Jaca Triathlon team got silver with Apilluelo, Jesús Les and José Luis Rodrigo. It was possible to get one more medal, but the junior Nacho Ara mistakenly took one less lap of the ski circuit and was disqualified.

With these results and those obtained in the Spanish Championship, the team returns to the elite after a few years in which the main supporter of the team was Yolanda Magallón, currently injured. With Apilluelo, who remains in the elite after more than 20 years, and the powerful women's team that has been formed this season, the name of the Club continues to sound in the modality that injected the triathlon virus among its members.

It should also be remembered that Mónica Sáez has been selected to participate in the Winter Triathlon World Cup to be held in Finland on March 26.

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