With a swim in the azure-blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, a bike course with a sixteen-kilometer climb but also very technical descents where sometimes speeds of over eighty kilometers per hour were achieved, a final descent directly copied from the world-famous Milan-San Remo road race, and a run course that runs for several kilometers through a tunnel, but also along the beautiful coast of the historic city in Italy, the first edition of Challenge Sanremo was just one to remember. Certainly for Gregory Barnaby and Emma Bilham, as they raced the race of their lives and win a very powerful way.
Especially in the men’s race, it was agonizingly exciting, because even though the bike course was so technical and tough, the real differences were made during the run. But, these difference did not became huge, for when Gregory Barnaby won in a time of 4:11:59, it took only fifteen seconds for William Mennesson to finish second. Third was Simon Viain, who conceded just 43 seconds to the winner, and Jon Saeveras Breivold – fourth – also came in just 1:01 minute later. Upfront biggest favorite Pablo Dapena Gonzalez dropped out the race while facing equipment failure during the bike.
In the women’s race it was Bilham who won; the Swiss athlete was not only the strongest uphill on the bike, she also outclassed everyone on the descents. With heart and soul she threw herself downhill, without any fear. Corners were cut razor sharp, the brakes hardly used, if at all. “But it did give me a few scary moments,” she admitted after the race. However, those scary moments did not prevent her from soloing impressively to victory, which she claimed after 4:50:10. Behind, it was two Francaises, Justine Guerard (4:54:26) and Jeanne Collonge (4:57:13), who won the silver and bronze. For Guerard, it marked her first professional podium.
Here you have interviews with the first two men and first two woman.