Austria’s Thomas Steger managed a come-from-behind win, while Sarissa de Vries (NED) rode and ran her way to a convincing win at Challenge Riccione in Italy today. In his comeback race after an Achilles tendon injury, Sebastian Kienle used a surprisingly strong run to take third.
Steger pulls clear on the run
Pieter Heemeryck led the way out of the water, but the Belgian had some company not far behind in the form of 2018 ITU long-distance world champ Pablo Dapena (ESP), Italy’s Mattia Ceccarelli, Thomas Davis (GBR) and Germany’s Frederic Funk. Kienle had a tough time in the water, hitting T2 three-minutes down.
Ceccarelli, the 2019 champ, rode off the front, hitting T2 with a minute’s lead on Dapena, Germany’s Michael Raelert, Giulio Molinari (ITA), Davis and Funk, with Kienle hitting the run about four-minutes behind the leaders. Out on the run course Dapena appeared to have things in control as he moved to the front, but he was closely marked by Heemeryck, Raelert and Funk. As the run progressed both Steger and Kienle started to move through the field, with Steger eventually getting past Dapena in the final kilometres to take the win over the Spaniard, with Kienle running his way to third, a great sign for the Ironman champion that he’s recovering from the injury.
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de Vries hits the top of the podium
After a runner-up finish a couple of weeks ago at Challenge Gran Canaria to Nicola Spirig, the Netherlands’ Sarissa de Vries continued her show of top fitness with an impressive all-around race. Third out of the water behind Italian Zane Ilaria and Great Britain’s India Lee. de Vries quickly took control on the bike, hitting T2 with a two-minute lead on Lee and a whopping six-minute cushion on the rest of the women in the field.
Once on the run course, de Vries continued her dominating performance, opening up more time on the rest of the women. Lee would take second, almost six-minutes down, followed by Italian Marta Berhnardi and Germans Carolin Lehrieder and Lena Berlinger.