Grace is European champion as Chichester triathletes prosper in Holland

Five of the CWTC team in Holland
Five of the CWTC team in Holland

Seven members of Chichester Westgate Triathlon Club competed in the European Triathlon Championships for the Great Britain age group team in Weert, Holland - and one came home as a Euro champion.

The 1.5k wetsuit swim was in the Blue Lake just outside the city, followed by a 40k lapped cycle race with a 10k run around Weert town centre.

CWTC juniors meet Alistair Brownlee

CWTC juniors meet Alistair Brownlee

The temperature rose through the weekend and peaked at 30C during the male races on Sunday morning.

The ladies’ competitors started their race on Saturday morning with Anne Sydenham (F45 category) and Trudi Cunningham (F50 category) competing in hot conditions and doing well in a strong field.

Sydenham finished 15th in her category with a time of 2hr 28min 06sec and Cunningham 13th in hers in 02:36:15.

The ladies were followed in the afternoon by the elite juniors and then the elite adults where a certain Alistair Brownlee romped home to become European champion.

He even had time to grab the Union flag off some CWTC juniors who were cheering him on down the straight, much to the delight of the crowd. The CWTC juniors were delighted to be able to meet their hero after the race (and reclaim the flag) to get autographs and pictures.

County honours for Chichester-area athletes
Sunday morning was the men’s turn with medal hopeful Will Grace starting in the M20 wave, then Ian ‘Bart’ Gay in the M35, followed by Martin Hill and Richard Johnson in the M40 and Lee Sydenham in the M45 category.

The story of the day came from Grace. He had achieved a silver medal in last year’s European championships in Tartu. Here he managed to put in an exceptional run after coming in off the bike in sixth place – clawing his way back to be crowned European Champion.

Not only was it an achievement running a 35.36 time for the 10k after the swim and bike legs, but it was done in the 30C heat.

Grace finished the triathlon in 1:58:02 , making him first in the M20 group.

The other CWTC males also did exceptionally well.

Johnson finished in 2:14:48 and was 18th in the M40s, Gay clocked 2:15:12 for 23rd in M35, Sydenham finished in 2:17:00 for 41st in M45 and Hill, in 2:18:55, was 24th in M40.

Grace has now the opportunity to compete in the world championships in Edmonton, Canada in 2020, where, if he can repeat the Weert performance, he will be in with a medal chance.

* If any local businesses would like to provide sponsorship for Will so he can represent Chichester and GB at the highest amateur level, please email CWTC at info@cwtc.org.uk