European Championships Middle Distance/Aquabike/Aquathlon in Walchsee: our race preview

Nicola Spirig during last weekend's European Championship Sprint Triathlon. (Picture: Instagram Spirig)

Giulio Molinari, Ruedi Wild, Frederic Funk, Bart Aernouts, Thomas Steger, Ruben Zepunkte, Nicola Spirig, Anne Haug, Svenja Thoes, Lena Berlinger, Sara Perez Sala: these are just some of the pro athletes who could lay claim to the European Championship Middle Distance title this Sunday at the 2021 ETU Challenge Middle Distance Championships in Walchsee.

The European Championship, won in 2019 by Andrey Bryukhankov (RUS) and Katrina Rye (GBR) in Targu Mures, takes place in the beautiful Austrian setting through breathtaking mountainous scenery. It’s no coincidence much can be expected from men like Wild, Funk, Steger and Molinari, all powerful athletes with who excel in endurance races.

Among the women, most eyes are on Anne Haug and Nicola Spirig. Both ladies have already seen success this season: Spirig won Challenge Gran Canaria and Haug recently won Challenge St. Pölten. It is expected both ladies will push the limits in their battle to call themselves Europe’s middle-distance athlete. Spaniard Sara Perez Sala is perhaps the most likely to challenge the Olympic and Kona champions. In her first middle distance race she took fourth at Challenge Miami and became an athlete to be reckoned with. After that fourth place, several good races followed and she is likely to contend for the podium in Walchsee.

On Thursday (tomorrow) Perez Sala will also be on the start of the 2021 ETU Aquathlon Championships in Walchsee, where she is considered one of the favorites as well. In the men’s race, Slovakia’s Richard Varga seems to be the man to keep an eye on. With his incredibly strong swim, he almost always comes out of the water first at World Cups and other international races and he is an outstanding runner as well.

In addition to the three European Championships, Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee features an extensive program of side events including the Junior Challenge on Saturday, making the region a spectacle of triathlon for four days. The EC Middle Distance and Aquabike will be broadcast via a free livestream which you can find at starting on Sunday, June 27 at 8:30 a.m. (CEST).