Following his success at The Championship, French rising star Mathis Margirier has confirmed his place in the already strong pro field for Challenge Salou on 4 June, joining local favorite Pablo Dapena González and other international contenders. The race is at a new later date to help ensure warmer temperatures than previous years – the battle will erupt and for now the biggest question seems to be: will local favourite Dapena be able to grace his comeback with a victory?
Dapena has not had an easy time of it; the Spaniard experienced a particularly long period of injury with limited racing. As a result the athlete, who has many Challenge Family victories to his name has not see the podium top spot for a while. On June 4, he and Margirier seem to be the favorites, but in front of a Spanish crowd, can Dapena go the extra mile in the battle for victory at Challenge Salou?
With the likes of David McNamee (SCO), Victor Arroyo (ESP) and Milan Brons (NED), among others, there are obviously more than enough strong contenders: all will want to make things difficult for Dapena and Margirier. McNamee, who also raced The Championship where he finished sixth, seems to be the most dangerous challenger in that respect.
An exciting battle for the title also awaits the women. Four women are very close to each other in terms of PTO rankings and if you take that ranking as a yardstick, Grace Thek (21) is the biggest contender for victory at OTSO Challenge Salou. The world-class Australian athlete, who finished fifth at The Championship last week, will have to contend with Rebecca Clarke of New Zealand (29), Svenja Thoes of Germany (32) and Barbara Riveros of Chile (34), among others. Further down in the PTO ranking there’s Elisabetta Curridori (70), among others, who can still be counted as a dangerous outsider for the win. The Italian is a frequently seen athlete at the Challenge Family events and always plays an important role in her races.