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Boris Stein (GER) and Yvonne van Vlerken (NED were crowned the champions of Sparkasse Challenge Kraichgau presented by KraichgauEnergie.
Read the recap from the Challenge Family below:
The day started with a one-hour delay due to bad weather. Challenge Wanaka champion, Dylan McNeice (NZL) was second out of the water but a tumble just two kilometers into the bike effectively put an end to his race, although he did finish. In the women’s race, the same thing happened to women’s leader Danielle Sämmler (GER) who crashed at the first roundabout with the resulting mechanical damaging taking her out of the race.
With Stein leading throughout the bike and the run before winning in 3:53:07, it was Maik Petzold (GER) who took second place in 3:56:26 on his debut over this distance and in the process, outrunning race favorite Timo Bracht (GER) who had to settle with third in 3:58:43. Other race favorite, Andreas Raelert (GER) was unable to keep the pace of the leading athletes following major dental surgery earlier in the week.
In the women’s race Julia Gajer (GER) took second place in 4:27:12 only really threatening van Vlerken’s lead at the beginning of the bike, after which Van Vlerken took the top spot and never gave it away. She earned the title in 4:26:35. Gajer was crowned German National Champion as the highest finishing German. In third place was Jenny Schulz (GER) in 4:28:21.
Despite the bad start, the usual excellent Kraichgau triathlon weather soon emerged during the day. Around 3,000 age grouper athletes were spurred on by more than 50,000 spectators, enjoying the traditional Challenge Kraichgau atmosphere of Europe’s largest half distance race.
Björn Steinmetz, Challenge Kraichgau race director said, “It was an exciting race in both the men’s and women’s. Above all, my thanks go out to all the volunteers, who made the apparently impossible possible in pouring rain this morning.”
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