South African Matt Trautman and Swedish Anna Bergsten won Challenge Vansbro in a very dominant style today. The race was hard fought during the bike and finally decided during the run. Trautman won the race 3:34:59 and Bergsten in 4:10:02.
In the men’s race, it was initially Norwegian Jorgen Gundersen who came out of the water first: he did so after 21:43 minutes, giving him a lead of nearly a minute over a group of eight men, including defending champion Jesper Svensson and Robert Kallin. Twenty seconds behind that group Trautman followed as well, and he made up his deficit almost immediately on the bike.
It went pretty fast on the bike, so Gundersen quickly lost his lead and dropped back into the leading group. Yet that leading group also fell apart pretty quickly and fewer and fewer athletes remained. Halfway through, only Kallin, Trautman and Svensson were left, and not much later Svensson could not keep up with Kallin and Trautman either. That’s why Kallin and Trautman headed towards T2 as the leading duo and once they got there, they had a 4:33 minute lead over Svensson – who lost a lot of time in the closing stages on the bike – and behind Svensson three competitors followed very closely. Of those three men, Gundersen proved to be the fastest runner.
While Trautman actually quickly ran away from Kallin and then saw his lead grow rapidly, Gundersen actually began to gain time on Kallin. He came pretty close in the closing stages, but in the end it just was not enough to claim the silver. Trautman won the race in 3:34:59, while Kallin finished second in 2:39:53. Gundersen finished third in 3:40:26.
Women’s race: Bergsten far too strong
In the women’s race, we saw a similar development, although Bergsten pulled ahead earlier. It was France’s Justine Guerard who came out of the water first with a time of 25:59, followed just over a minute and a half by Bergsten. Behind Bergsten it were Shiva Leisner (+4:21), Jenny Nilson (+5:40) and Josefine Flod (+5:41) coming out of the water, among others, but from then on all eyes were on Bergsten.
Bergsten really showed her amazing level and rode at a fast pace toward Guerard and even though Guerard tried to hang on for a while; she proved no match for Bergsten’s level of biking. A half-minute lead quickly became one, that minute became two and finally back in T2 Bergsten’s lead had increased to nearly eight minutes on the still in second position Guerard. Leisner followed in third, trailing only fifty seconds behind Guerard, leaving her with a sight of a silver trophy.
Meanwhile, Bergsten was able to solo to a stunning victory relatively easily, as her lead over Guerard remained the same for almost the entire run. She won the race in a time of 4:10:02. In the last kilometers, Guerard managed to get a little closer, but she finished in second after 4:16:54. Leisner lost a lot of time during the run, but still managed to finish in third with a deficit of +31:00 and finished in 4:41:02.