Andreas Raelert (GER) and Yvonne van Vlerken (NED) yesterday took the titles in Europe's largest half iron distance triathlon, Challenge Kraichgau with both having to fight hard for their titles in a very close race which saw both course records broken.
First out of the swim, Raelert initially gave away precious seconds to the duo Sebastian Kienle (GER) and Normann Stadler (GER) by picking the wrong change bag. Defending champion Stadler was out of the race in second place at 50 k in the bike with a flat. By then, Kienle had taken the lead and extended it to four minutes ahead of Raelert by T2. Together with local hero Thomas Hellriegel Raelert chased the leader. It took Andreas Raelert 18k into the run to catch Kienle and French Francois Chabaud. In new course record of 3:51:05 hours Raelert celebrated a victory in the battle against Kienle. Francois Chabaud as a third party crossed the finish line from France.
The womens' race was even more exciting. The favourites exited the waters of the Lake Hardtsee within a minute of each other. Julia Wagner (GER) and Rachel Joyce (GBR) went hard on the bike and by 50km, van Vlerken had caught them. By the time they reached T2, Germany's Diana Riesler had also caught the lead pack.
Changing from bike to run within one minute the race was to be decided on the run. Here, van Vlerken dominated over her rivals. In a new record time of 4:26:08 hours, van Vlerken secured the victory in the Challenge Kraichgau. The Dutch champion van Vlerken said after her victory.
The race was watched by over 45,000 spectators along the course, enjoying the exciting duel between Raelert and Kienle, one that will be repeated in five weeks at Challenge Roth, in Germany on July 10th.
Challenge Kraichgau took place on June 5th 2011 and is part of the world-wide Challenge Family. With more than 3000 participants Challenge Kraichgau is one of the most popular races in Germany on the distance of 1,9km Swim, 90km Bike and 21km Run.
For more information see www.challenge-kraichgau.com.
Source: Challenge Family
Photo credit: Lars Baron/Getty Images Europe
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