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New champions crowned at the TriSmile Triathlon in Estonia

Rinalds Sluckis and Maja Stage capture top spot.

Rinalds Sluckis of Latvia wins the biggest triathlon in the Baltic states – TriSmile triathlon – covering 1km of swimming, 100km of cycling and 10km of running with a finish time of 3:18:21. The second and third place go to Denmark’s Esben Hovgaard (3:21:48) and Simon Landvart (3:24:32). The female race was also firmly in danish hands: Maja Stage dominated today’s race and won in 3:48:57. More than 1250 athletes participated in the three races over the TriSmile111, 33.3 and 11.1 distances during this festival weekend full of triathlon, fun and nature, and temperatures climbing up to almost 30°C.

While the shorter races TriSmile11.1 for children aged 9 to 14, and the TriSmile33.3 took place on Saturday, a total of number of 493 individual competitors and 76 relay teams composed of two or three athletes took part in a fast race over 1000m of swimming in the “Holy Lake” Pühajärv, 100km of cycling through the rolling south Estonian countryside, and a 10km run along the beachfront, adding up to a total distance of 111 kilometres.

Rinalds Sluckis (LAT) exited the 20,5°C waters of Pühajärv, the Holy Lake, in 10th position, and quickly gained the lead on the bike leg. Cycling is definitely TriSmile’s most important discipline, representing the biggest portion of the race both distance- and time-wise. Rinalds Sluckis was ahead of his competition more than 2 minutes after the first lap (36km), and managed to build up his lead until the end of the 100km bike ride through the lush countryside of Estonia’s south. He arrived after the 10km run at the Finishline with a final time of 3:18:21. Denmark’s Esben Hovgaard ran today’s fastest run in 37:11, but could not close the gap to Sluckis, however. Hovgaard finished second in 3:21:48, and his landsman Simon Langvad followed in 3:24:32.

“The cycling was harder than I remembered from my previous participation,” said Rinalds Sluckis at the Finishline, “and once again I had to fight with the heat in Estonia! I am really happy to win today!”

The female race was dominated by Maja Stage from Denmark – she exited the water after 16min 21sec in third position, but as often in triathlon, that can change quickly. With a bike split of 2:45:59 and a run of 42:21 she was unbeatable in today’s race, and finished first in 3:48:57.

“Maybe I pushed a bit too hard on the bike, so I really felt that in my legs during the run. Big thanks to the spectators along the run course who uninterruptedly cheered us on, that was fantastic!”, said the female winner at the Finishline.

Alma Sarapuu of Estonia finished second in 4:05:08, and Yulia Surikova (RUS) came in third in 4:05:08.

The fastest relay team was Jooksuekspert-Sailfish, with team members Jan Siebbersen, Kert Martma and Ilja Nikolajev who together finished the 111km in 3:10:57.

TriSmile Estonia has become the Baltic’s most popular triathlon festival over the past 5 years. Taking place in the beautiful setting of South Estonia, numerous races and a full program of side events entertained the participants, as well as spectators all weekend long.

The swim start was given in four waves in order to allow for all athletes to have a safe and enjoyable race right from the beginning. 76 relay teams consisting of two or three athletes completed the field of competitors racing around lake Pühajärv.

The three days of sport, fun and nature included a 5km charity run, a zip-sliding competition in Otepää’s adventure park, three afterparties for athletes and volunteers at the legendary “Comeback” club in Otepää, and a live concert after the awards ceremony directly at the finishline.

Ain-Alar Juhanson, former pro Ironman athlete from Estonia, started organising the triathlon race in Pühajärv in 2009. During the past three years, the race was part of the TriStar series, and now in the 5th year of existance it changed its name to TriSmile Triathlon, while keeping the race formats, as well as the entertaining programme all week long.

Otepää is Estonia’s winter sport capital with numerous sports and training facilities, and has since long been a popular summer resort all the same. TriSmile offers not only professionally organized triathlon races, but also a varied entertainment program.

TriSmile Estonia 2014 will be held from August 1-3 next year, registrations will soon be opened on the official event website www.trismiletri.ee.