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Vabrousek, Grice Take Out Inaugural Challenge Henley-on-Thames

Vabrousek challenge Henley 2011.jpgPetr Vabrousek (CZE) and Yvette Grice (GBR) have taken out the inaugural titles at Challenge Henley-on-Thames at the weekend.

The men's race started off looking like the battle was going to be between Aaron Farlow (AUS) and Stephen Bayliss (GBR), who was first out of the water, with Lothar Leder (GER) retiring early on the bike leg. But with only 20k to go there were just two minutes separating the top six men. Farlow was first off the bike in 4:43:13 but it was the man from the Czech Republic, Petr Vabousek who proved to be the strong man on the day becoming the eventual Challenge Henley champion by just over a minute after a 2:53:47 run split in a final time of 8:37:58. Nicholas Peter Ward Munoz took second in 8:39:33 with Aaron Farlow holding on to third spot in 8:40:10.

"Despite the cold start, the race went very well and for me, as a former rower, it was quite iconic. I paced myself properly through the whole race and it paid off," said Vabrousek.

The ladies race was equally dramatic, with its own twists and turns throughout the day. Three-times Norseman winner Susanne Buckenlei (GER) had to withdraw on the run and after an impressive bike, it was UK athlete Yvette Grice, who looked the strongest at the start of the run course, despite being four minutes off the pace set by Kiwi Candice Hammond. This strength was carried through the entire marathon run as she became the Challenge Henley champion in a time of 9:47:35, just 50 seconds in front of Charisa Wernick (USA). They were over seven minutes ahead of 3rd place Lou Collins (GBR) in 9:54:58. Despite having the fastest bike split of the day and leading out on to the run, Kiwi athlete Candice Hammond dropped down to 4th spot missing the top three spot by just 40 seconds.

2011 Challenge Henley-on-Thames Results:

Pro Men Results Time
Pro Women Results Time
Petr Vabrousek 08:37:58
Yvette Grice 09:47:35
Nicholas Ward Muñoz 08:39:33
Charisa Wernick 09:48:25
Aaron Farlow 08:40:10
Louise Collins 09:54:58
Stephen Bayliss 08:44:31
Candice Hammond 10:00:39
Christophe Bastie 08:49:37
Celia Kuch 10:25:48

Click link to view all the results from the 2011 Challenge Henley-on-Thames triathlon event.

The inaugural Challenge Henley on Thames took place against a historical backdrop with stunning scenery. Thousands of spectators lined the routes to support athletes of all abilities as they took on the Challenge of a 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run.

Competitors started the race at the prestigious Henley Business School and as the mist cleared and the sun shone through the competitors completed their 3.8k swim on the Royal Regatta Course made famous by British Olympic rowers.

The triathletes then put themselves through a fast paced three-lap closed road cycle which featured a steady 15km climb up Pishill and a slightly steeper ride on the dual carriageway from Henley to Nettlebed with sweeping descents through the Chiltern Hills. This was followed by a fast four lap run course next to the River Thames, with thousands coming out to support the athletes.

Challenge Henley-on-Thames is part of the Challenge Family global series of long distance triathlons featuring 13 races over three continents. For further information, visit www.challengehenley.com or www.challenge-family.com. Challenge UK will return on September 16, 2012.
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