First edition of Challenge Egnazia, strong field prepares for exciting race

Lucy Hall as one of the favorites (Picture: James Mitchell)

Three weeks of top-level triathlons conclude this weekend at Challenge Vieux-Boucau and Challenge Egnazia. In this preview, we look ahead to the Italian race – the first edition – and for sure we can prepare for an undoubtedly great battle in both the men’s and women’s race.

In the men’s race, Menno Koolhaas, among others, is at the start of Challenge Egnazia: the Dutchman became European Champion Long Distance at Challenge Almere-Amsterdam last month, but experienced an off-day at Challenge Peguera-Mallorca last weekend, where he still finished tenth nevertheless. Fighting for the best possible ranking within the Challenge Family World Bonus – where he is now third – he will give his all on Saturday to get the maximum result at Challenge Egnazia. Koolhaas is someone with a huge engine and high speed, so is considered one of the favorites for victory.

Thomas Davis is another athlete who is seen as one of the favorites for the win. The Brit is always someone to be reckoned with and only comes for victory. Dangerous outsiders include Ognjen Stojanovic (SRB), Sven Thalmann (SUI) and Simon Viain (FRA). Of course, there are also a number of home favorites at the start, of which Italian Alessandro Degasperi is most likely the biggest contender. Degasperi already has dozens of top performances to his name and will certainly be looking to add one more while racing in his home country.

In the women’s race, the same can be said of Italy’s Margie Santimaria. In recent weeks, she has been featured frequently in Challenge Family races and this coming weekend she concludes that “tour” with her participation in Challenge Egnazia. Yet Santimaria is not considered the biggest favorite of all, as that is most likely Britain’s Lucy Hall.

Hall has something to put right after her participation in Challenge Peguera-Mallorca, where she was overcome by the heat last weekend and dropped out while running. That was of course a huge disappointment for Hall, who was also considered one of the favorites on the Spanish island, and so she will be extra motivated to race for first place this Saturday.

In addition to Hall and Santimaria, Italy’s Valentina D’Angeli and Germany’s Daniela Kleiser are also seen as women who could provide a nice surprise at Challenge Egnazia.