An extreme distance of 130 kilometres and a tough profile with inclines of up to ten kilometres – Alban Lakata and co. had not seen such a demanding European Championships route in a long time. Add to that rain, low temperatures and thick fog on Sunday.
“I didn’t cope very well with the conditions”, Alban confessed. “But I don’t want to complain, I’m happy with my performance.” With his sixth European Championships medal in the bag, there was no reason to leave the High Tatras unhappy.
There were tactical reasons why he let Tiago Ferreira of Portugal pass at the longest incline from the 50th kilometre. “I thought it would work out in the end”, Alban Europaexplained. And that really was the case because the Austrian managed to progress from position five to two during the second half of the race. However, he did not manage to catch up with Tiago Ferreira.
“He was really strong today. I was hoping he would get tired but that didn’t happen”, the Albanator, who crossed the finish line 3m 37s later, revealed. That’s not much when the winner made it in 5h 40m 12s. “It shows that I can concentrate on a peak”, according to the World Champion, for whom this was his 13th international medal - more than anybody else in the marathon field.
The Topeak-Ergon Racing Team nearly got a second European Championships medal. But Kristian Hynek had a defect after 32 kilometres. His attempt to resolve the problem himself, unfortunately, was unsuccessful so Kristian had to replace the wheel. After 65 kilometres, he was all of 5m 45s behind and in 18th position.
“I nearly wanted to give up because it was cold and I was freezing. But I knew I had four more hours to go.” And Kristian was right. He managed to get as far as fifth position. It was a pity that he wasn’t aware of his two rivals Karl Platt and Luis Pinto in the confusing final section.
“If I had seen them two minutes earlier, I could have gone for the Bronze”, Kristian said. But he saw them just a few hundred metres before the finish line, and at the end he missed out on a medal by a ridiculous nine seconds. “Of course, I’m disappointed with the result but I can be very happy with my condition”, explained the man who came third in the 2016 European Championships.