Until Sunday the only women’s winner the Challenge Championship had ever had was Lucy Charles-Barclay, but since she raced at the Collins Cup the day before we knew we were going to see a new women’s champ this year. Turns out it would be another Lucy from Great Britain as 2012 Olympian Lucy Hall had a huge day to take the women’s title. On the men’s side Germany’s Florian Angert moved himself from third at the last Championship event in Samorin to the top of the podium this time around.
The day started off with a choppy swim in the Danube and high winds that made the bike ride particulary tough, too. Slovakian home-country hero Richard Varga led the men out of the water, but it wasn’t long before Germans Angert (second out of the water) and Frederik Funk powered their way to the front, holding off the normally strong-cycling Dane Magnus Ditlev along the way.
Funk and Angert would hit the run course together with Ditlev three minutes down and fourth-placed Michael Raelert (GER) over seven minutes behind. Funk eventually pulled clear of his countryman and Erdinger teammate and would cruise to the win in 3:36:03. Ditlev caught Funk at the 16 km point and would take second, with Funk rounding out the podium.
Hall leads from the start
Like the other British Lucy, Hall is an excellent swimmer and led the way out of the choppy swim with Spain’s Sara Perez Sala right on her heels, with American Haley Chura about 20 seconds behind. Those three were out in front when the chase group that included Great Britain’s Fenella Langridge and India Lee, France’s Justine Mathieux, Sweden’s Lisa Norden and Spain’s Judith Corachen Vacquera all went off course and would ride an extra 10 km.
That pretty much guaranteed the race would come down to the first three. Hall hit the run with a three-minute lead on Sala, with Chura almost 10 minutes behind. Hall faded a bit over the last half of the run, but had more than enough of a cushion to take the win in 4:10:45, 90 seconds ahead of Sala, who held on for silver. Chura made up lots of time on both women, but had to settle for third.
For full results click here.