Pendle athlete Simon Phillips registered a podium finish when representing Great Britain at the 2015 Alcobendas ETU Duathlon European Championships.
Competing in the 55-59 age category in the Spanish city, just north of Madrid, the Stockport Tri Club member crossed the line as a bronze medallist following a 20km bike ride that was sandwiched in-between two 5km runs.
Phillips, part of Pendle Forest Cycling Club, actually recorded an identical finishing time to runner-up Eduardo Rodriguez, recording a better ride and second run in the process, but was controversially bumped below the Spaniard when the results were announced.
The one-time Edge End High School pupil completed the course in one hour, five minutes and 53 seconds, with a time of 18 minutes and 17 seconds for the initial run, 35 minutes and 22 seconds on the bike, and eight minutes and 51 seconds for the final run.
Native Miguel Soler Rodriguez was crowned champion after recording a time of one hour, three minutes and 59 seconds over the two disciplines.
“The weather was absolutely horrendous,” he said. “It was wet, windy and cold and the course itself was really tough with a lot of roundabouts to negotiate. There was about 400 competitors in all, with athletes setting off in waves of age groups.
“There was quite a few crashes because the Spanish roads were like glass with the rain. It was quite dangerous. I was okay because I’m used to racing in those conditions. A few others seemed a bit apprehensive.
“A Spaniard won the race and I finished tied with another Spaniard, though for whatever reason I was awarded bronze. His time over the first 5km run was better but my times over the second two events were better.
“I posed the question but I didn’t really get an answer. That was the result and that’s how it stands.”
He added: “I was open-minded going in to it so I was delighted to finish third. I’ve now automatically qualified for next years European Championships in northern Germany.
“It’s better than I had expected. I would’ve been happy just to finish so to finish with a medal is unbelievable.
“The winner beat me by just over a minute so I wasn’t too far away. It’s definitely my best achievement since I’ve been competing. I couldn’t believe the result.”
Simon, who watched girlfriend and coach Gillian Doolan win the ladies open competition, will now compete in the Iron Man event in Nottingham at the end of the month which comprises a 1.2-mile open water swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run.
“Gill won the ladies open competition too so it was a good, memorable weekend,” he said. “We were both absolutely delighted and we went out to celebrate.
“You never know what to expect in these events. It’s a different kettle of fish competing against so many good athletes from around Europe.”
He added: “To compete in the World Championships is the ultimate dream now. I’m confident I can qualify after doing so well in the Euros.”