Jonathan Wayaffe surprises with phenomenal win Challenge Mallorca, Imogen Simmonds by far the strongest athlete in the women’s field

Imogen Simmonds wins Challenge Mallorca

While several names were seen as favourites in the various previews about Challenge Mallorca and especially Pablo Gonzalez Dapena (ESP) and Niek Heldoorn (NED) were seen as big favorites, the name of Jonathan Wayaffe  was actually not mentioned. Nevertheless, it was the Belgian athlete who ran to victory in the very last meters of the strongly contested race. In the women’s race, it was an unleashed Imogen Simmonds who won; she led the race for a long time since the bike.

In the men’s race, several large groups formed after the swim, but during the bike it was mainly Thomas Bishop, Lukas Kocar, Rico Bogen and Marcel Bobat who led the pace; they formed a leading group of four for a long time, with a larger group of nine athletes behind them, which also included Wayaffe and Heldoorn. Dapena Gonzalez was lost immediately after the swim; as he left T1 he immediately suffered a flat tire and then he dropped out of the race. Afterwards he sighed: “Bad luck again”. No wonder, as the Spaniard’s season has indeed been plagued by setbacks. 

In the closing stages of the bike it was Bogen and Kocar who together rode away from Bobat and Bishop and so the two started the run first. But, the didn’t had the best running legs of the day, while Wayaffe had a very strong day. It was Wayffe who started to catch up right from the start of the run, which he started about four minutes behind and began overtaking competitor after competitor. “I didn’t even speed up or run spectacularly, but the guys in front were struggling and collapsing more and more,” he explained afterwards. So in the very last kilometers he suddenly ran to the lead position and won in a time of 3:53:36. The battle for the podium was particularly exciting, as Italian Andrea Pizzeghella finished second 31 seconds later and 47 seconds behind Wayaffe the bronze was waiting for Bishop. 

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The women’s race was dominated by Imogen Simmonds. She took over the lead in the race while biking and from then on only managed to increase her lead. She won Challenge Mallorca in a time of 4:20:58. Anne Reischmann, Simmonds’ teammate, finished second in 4:25:24 and so the two (see interview below) celebrated after her finish. Fenella Langridge finished third in 4:26:11.