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Greer Wins Balkan Championship

22nd September 2008

Greer Wins Balkan Championship

Serbia yesterday (NZT) hosted the Balkan Triathlon Championships in Belgrade but it was a relatively unknown Kiwi from the other side of the world who stood atop the podium.

22 year old Lee Greer capped a successful few weeks in Europe with victory in an event that also doubled as an ITU European Cup race and included double Olympian Russian Igor Sysoev plus numerous high profile Eastern Europeans looking for strong results to end their season.

Dargaville's Greer tells the tale of a race that might well have had two Kiwis on the podium, but for the bad luck of a puncture to Graham O'Grady.

"It was a wetsuit swim, and a cool one at that with 13 degree temperatures in a lake on the border of Romania and Serbia. I had a great swim, leading the whole way with a guy from Hungary with Graham O'Grady on our feet, we managed to put a gap on the field into transition.

"We all had fast transitions and were quick to get to work on the 9 lap bike course. There were really strong winds and sometimes we would be hardly moving in parts of the head wind. The first 4 laps were really intense with Graham doing a lot of hard work to increase our gap on the chase group.

"Around the 20km mark we thought we had a 1 min lead so we talked to each other and increased the tempo. It was at this time Graham suffered a puncture and was out of the race leaving me and the guy from Hungary to try and hold off the chasers. I was actually thinking of stopping and giving Graham my wheel as I thought he could win and I would probably slowly fade back through the field as I was in the hurt box. Something then clicked and I started to feel really good and I started drilling some long turns on the front into the head wind.

"The two of us led off the bike with 90 seconds lead on a few chasing riders and 3.30 back to the main chase pack with Ben Visser. The guy from Hungary held the lead for the first half and had put 20 metres on me as I was paying for the 100% effort I had put in on the bike. It was at this point I started to pull him in until we were running side by side. I then put in a surge with 3km to go and looked back to see he was hurting just as much as me so I started feeding it to him and eventually he Broke."

Greer went on to win by 28 seconds with fellow Kiwi Ben Visser finishing in the main bunch in tenth place.

ITU European Cup, Serbia (Balkan Championships)

Elite Men

1 Lee Greer NZL 1:49:29

2 Adam Molnar HUN 1:49:57

3 Ludovic Dernier BEL 1:50:25

4 David Plese SLO 1:51:25

5 Janour Jan CZE 1:51:48


10 Ben Visser NZL 1:53:05


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