Alison Patrick and her guide Hazel Smith won the PT5 category at the European Championships ©British Triathlon

Britain's Alison Patrick and Lauren Steadman today won gold medals at the European Championships in Geneva in their respective Paratriathlon categories.

The victories followed the gold medals they had won in last year's World Championships and are encouraging for Britain's chances for next year's Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, when the sport will make its debut on the programme. 

Patrick, who is visually impaired, was guided by Hazel Smith to win the PT5 category and Britain’s Melissa Reid won bronze behind her.

The key to Patrick's victory was the swim leg. 

“We had a really good swim today," she said.

"That’s where I’m making gains, but we had the fastest bike split, which I wasn’t getting last year so that shows how well Hazel and I are working together.

“It’s amazing to be British, world and European champion for now and Hazel was so happy to win a first major title.

"It is really helping both of us that we are able to train together.

"We just know what each other are doing."

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Former swimmer Lauren Steadman claimed the European Championships in the PT4 catagory as British triathletes claimed the top three places ©British Triathlon

Steadman, meanwhile, led a British clean sweep of the podium in the PT4 category.

Steadman, Faye McClelland and Clare Cunningham repeated their finishing order from last year’s International Triathlon Union World Championships in London.

"My swim was good, I found a rhythm," said Steadman, a former swimmer who represented Britain at the Paralympics in Beijing 2008 and London 2012. 

"Overall it was really good, but I would like to improve on the bike a bit.

"I knew the other British girls would be hot on my heals, it’s great for Britain to get the top three, it’s great for the team.

"I’m really happy to have all of the titles, but you’re never certain about what’s round the corner, you can never settle for where you are.”

British Triathlon performance director Brendan Purcell, said: “You can see from the performance levels that we’re just a year away from Rio now; the standard was really impressive from a lot of athletes so it was tough, but we have come away with good results.”

The PT1, PT2 and PT3 female categories were won by Italy's Rita Cuccuru, The Netherlands' Saskia Van Den Ouden and Germany's Nora Hansel respectively. 

Winners of the men's race were The Netherlands' Jetze Plat, Russia's Vasily Egorov, Spain's Alejandro Sánchez Palomero, Germany's Martin Schulz and Ukraine's Vasyl Zakrevskyi in the PT1, PT2, PT3, PT4 and PT5 categories.

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