Emerging from a 4-man duel to the finish, Joao Pereira of Portugal out sprinted Raphael Montoya of France by 1 second to win the ETU European Championship in Kitzbühel, Austria.
Outrun by the top duo, Joao Silva of Portugal finished 3 seconds behind Montoya take the final spot on the podium, 5 seconds ahead of 4th place Vicente Hernandez of Spain.
Left 40 seconds behind on the swim, Fernando Alarza of Spain struggled mightily to make up ground, but his race-best 31:29 10km run could only bring him up to 6th place, 4 seconds behind fellow Spaniard and 5th place finisher Uxio Abuin Ares.
As expected, Richard Varga of Slovakia led the swim by a few seconds over Russian brothers Dmitry and Igor Polyanskiy who led a pack of 20 chasers within a 20 seconds gap. Significantly, Fernando Alarza, who set the fastest run and finished 3rd behind the Brownlee brothers at the most recent WTS race in Leeds, lagged a minute behind the lead swim and missed the front pack on the bike.
Working hard and well together, Abuin and Hernandez, the Polyanskiy brothers and Portuguese teammates Pereira and Joao Silva carved out a 55-seconds lead on the chasers, including Alarza.
Halfway through the run, the Polyanskiy brothers dropped back while the remaining front pack were joined by Montoya, who recently earned a silver medal at the Madrid World Cup, and Antonio Serrat Seoane of Spain.
By the final lap, it came down to Silva and Pereira, Montoya and Hernandez. When Silva and Hernandez lost the pace, Pereira and Montoya battled down the blue carpet until the Portuguese competitor found a little more in the tank.
ETU European Championship
June 16, 2017
S 1.5k / B 40k / R 10k
1. Joao Pereira (POR) 1:45:31
2. Raphael Montoya (FRA) 1:45:32
3. Joao Silva (POR) 1:45:35
4. Vicente Hernandez (ESP) 1:45:40
5. Uxio Abuin Ares (ESP) 1:45:47
6. Fernando Alarza (ESP) 1:45:51
7. Rostislav Pevtsov (AZE) 1:45:54
8. Antonio Serrat Seoane (ESP) 1:46:12
9. Shachar Sagiv (ISR) 1:46:16
10. Dmitry Polyanskiy (RUS) 1:46:21