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The Championship in pictures: recapping the exciting race in stunning images

Photo by: Jose Luis Hourcade

The fifth edition of The Championship, the “crown jewel” of the Challenge Family series where athletes can race if they have qualified at one of the Challenge events around the world, offered yet another day of exciting racing. Since it’s inception the combination of a strong field and the unique venue at the x-bionicsphere in Samorin, Slovakia has made for a series of outstanding races. Yesterday’s race continued that tradition – as these photos by Jose Luis Hourcade prove.

Related: Iden and Perez Sala take The Championship

All eyes were on Gustav Iden coming into the race – even though just two weeks before he’d had to pull out of the Ironman World Championship St. George because of sickness. Photo: Jose Luis Hourcade
The 1.9 km swim takes place in the Danube River. Photo: Jose Luis Hourcade
Slovakia’s own Richard Varga was 20 seconds clear of Josh Amberger after the swim. Photo: Jose Luis Hourcade
As she did a year ago, Lucy Buckingham (nee Hall) was out of the water first, but this year she had some company in the form of Sara Perez Sala. Photo: Jose Luis Hourcade
Buckingham was riding the new Felt IA 2.0. Photo: Jose Luis Hourcade

Related: The Felt IA 2.0

After a horrible crash at Clash Daytona, Perez Sala showed she has bounced back in style, alternating the lead with Buckingham on the bike. Photo: Jose Luis Hourcade
Emma Pallant-Browne would end up seven minutes behind the two race leaders by the end of the bike. Photo: Jose Luis Hourcade
Iden would arrive at T1 to find he had a flat tire, but managed to pump it up and get up to the chase group quickly. He arrived in T2 1:30 behind a group of three race leaders. Photo: Jose Luis Hourcade
Iden quickly moved to the front of the race, but for a while during the first lap of the run, Austria’s Thomas Steger thought he might actually be able to outrun the Dane. Photo: Jose Luis Hourcade
There was no touching the two-time 70.3 world champ, though, as he cruised to an impressive win. Photo: Jose Luis Hourcade
Despite a 30 second penalty for stepping on the dismount line, Varga was thrilled with his first long-distance success – he took second to thrill the Slovakian crowd. Photo: Jose Luis Hourcade
Perez Sala was unstoppable on the run, taking the biggest win of her career. Photo: Jose Luis Hourcade
Pallant-Browne used an impressive run to get second. Photo: Jose Luis Hourcade
After spending so much of the day duelling at the front, Buckingham, who finished third, hugs the champion. Photo: Jose Luis Hourcade