Nicola Spirig’s impressive “training race” at Challenge Gran Canaria

Nicola Spirig at the 2019 ITU Grand Final in Lausanne. She has been elected to the World Triathlon Athletes Committee. Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

Switzerland’s Olympic gold (2012) and silver (2016) medalist Nicola Spirig tuned up for another Olympic appearance this summer with an impressive win at Challenge Mogan Gran Canaria yesterday. While we described her race as “near perfect,” Spirig’s coach, Brett Sutton, celebrated the day on Twitter saying “Good to see Nicola Spirig bounce back to her old self, with a professional if not sensational performance in Challenge Mogan.”

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Through her Instagram feed we learned that Spirig was in Gran Canaria “for a second training camp and a little half Ironman.” Spirig also noted that the day was ” a training race and that she would be doing it on a road bike rather than a tri bike. Spirig had aero bars on the bike, which she used to put together an impressive 2:18:28 bike split for the challenging course that featured 1,400 m of climbing. Her bike split was almost a minute faster than eventual third-place finisher Lisa Norden (2:19:25) and over 90 seconds faster than runner up Sarissa de Vries (2:20:05). (Men’s winner Jan Frodeno’s bike split was 2:05:36.)

Spirig has used half-distance events to tune up for her last two Olympic appearances, so it looks like her build up to Tokyo is on track. Spirig will also be part of a sub-8 hour full-distance attempt next year with Lucy Charles-Barclay.