Stephen Bayliss and Martina Dogana took out top honours at this weekend’s Challenge Vichy where abnormally hot temperatures in excess of 40C saw the race reduced to a half distance this weekend for safety reasons.
In the men’s Per Bittner and Scott deFillipis rounded out the podium while Carrie Lester and Jana Candrova continued the strong international theme on the women’s podium.
Brett Carter led out of the swim in 24:00 with Bayliss just three seconds behind. Together they led the bike until about the half way point when the chase pack which included Bittner and caught up. Bayliss hung onto his lead, but had Silva Rota and Anthony Pannier right on his heels heading out onto the run. However, Bayliss soon developed a comfortable lead which he held on to, finishing in a time of 3:59:58. The fastest run split of the day was posted by Scott deFillippis who ran a 1:14:39 from 12th into third place in 4:04:36 just behind Bittner who finished in 4:03:50.
Bayliss said he was happy to have retained his title and enjoyed the race despite the hot conditions. “Once I had got my head around the fact I was racing a half it was fine. I just had to push a lot harder than I would have done in the full distance and it turned out well!”
In the women’s race, Carrie Lester exited the water in first place in 28:14 and went on to build a comfortable lead ahead of a chase pack that included Dogana and Deborah van Gossum. By the end of the bike she had two minutes over Dogana but the Italian proved to be the stronger runner on the day, slowly whittling away Lester’s lead until she passed her at the 11km mark, going on to win in a time of 4:35:28. Lester posted 4:37:09 with Candrova bringing up third some way back in 4:57:22.
“I had a perfect race,” said Dogana. “I thought I swam better than I actually did but I went out strong on bike. I was prepared for full so I had to push more on bike and run than I would have done in the full and I wasn’t sure if I could go faster. But I kept pushing and it worked!”
Challenge Vichy is part of the Challenge Family global series of long distance triathlons and next year will host the official ETU Long Distance European Championships on 18 August 2013. For further information visit www.challengevichy.com or www.challenge-family.com.