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Spirig rounds into Olympic form with huge win at Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee

Olympic gold medalist over five-minutes ahead of Ironman world champ Anne Haug

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

It was a day of “statement wins” in Europe today as 2012 Olympic gold medalist Nicola Spirig (SUI) prepared for another Olympic run with a dominating display at the European Middle-Distance Championship at Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee, beating the defending Ironman world champion, Germany’s Anne Haug, by over five minutes.

Spirig trailed Spain’s Sara Perez Sala by just a couple of seconds out of the water, but once she got on the bike she quickly pulled clear, using the day’s fastest bike split to arrive in T2 with a huge lead over Haug and Perez Sala. The German would gain back a bit of time on the Swiss star on the run, but was still well back as Spirig broke the four-hour barrier with her 3:58:00 finish time and Haug crossed the line in second at 4:03:03. Italy’s Marta Bernardi rounded out the podium in 4:09:53.

Today’s impressive race bodes well for Spirig, who won a number of half-distance races before her gold-medal performance in London in 2012, and did the same before her silver-medal finish in Rio.

Women’s results:

  1. Nicola Spirig (SUI) 3:58:00
  2. Anne Haug (GER) 4:03:03
  3. Marta Bernardi (ITA) 4:09:53
  4. Anne Reischmann (GER) 4:12:01
  5. Sara Perez Sala (ESP) 4:12:28

Funk cruises to men’s win

Germany’s Frederic Funk continued his impressive run towards the top-levels of the sport with an impressive win in which he was always near the front. First out of the water was Christophe de Keyser, but on his feet was a big group that included Funk and another pre-race favourite Giulio Molinari (ITA). Funk pulled clear of the rest of the men at the halfway point of the bike, eventually being joined by former pro cyclist Ruben Zepuntke. Those two hit T2 three minutes up on Molinari and five-minutes up on Austria’s Thomas Steger.

Out on the run course Funk was never challenged as he cruised to the win in 3:36:56. Behind him, though, there was lots of action as Steger managed to run his way to second, with Belgium’s Bart Aernouts running his way through the field to round out the podium.

Men’s Results:

  1. Frederic Funk (GER) 3:36:56
  2. Thomas Steger (AUT) 3:38:51
  3. Bart Aernouts (BEL) 3:42:05
  4. Ruben Zepuntke (GER) 3:42:09
  5. Gregory Barnaby (ITA) 3:43:38

You can find full results here.