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A thrilling finish and testing conditions made up the inaugural Challenge Rimini this weekend, with Chris McCormack (AUS) and Erika Csomor (HUN) taking top honors.
Read the race recap from the Challenge Family below:
High winds, strong currents and daunting surf met the athletes on race morning resulting in the swim course being moved and shortened to allow the race to continue.
Thomas Steiner (GER) led out of the water in 18:02, followed by a group of five, led by McCormack in 18:13 and from this stage, the race was neck and neck between McCormack, Daniel Fontana (ITA), who would take second, and Alessandro Degasperi (ITA) in third.
Once out of the water the conditions improved and the pack soon caught Steiner on the tough bike course with the many technical downhills suiting the Italian riders. The fastest bike split of the day went to former professional cyclist, Massimo Cigana (ITA), but it was the three-man pack of McCormack, Fontana and Degasperi who would battle it out on the run course in front of a crowd of thousands along Rimini’s famous promenade.
In the end it came down to a thrilling sprint finish just 100m from the line when McCormack broke away from Fontanta, taking the victory in 4:01:57, with just three seconds to spare. Degaspari took third in 4:03:41.
In the women’s race it was Lucy Zelenkova Reed (CZE) who led out of the water in 19:36, but Csomor showed her strength on the bike, posting the fastest split of the day in 2:48:48, setting herself up nicely for a 1:24:15 half marathon and victory in 4:39:34.
For Diana Riesler (GER) in second place it was happy result in her first race since a major bike accident at Challenge Copenhagen last August. Two operations later, Rimini was her comeback race and she was delighted with her second place in 4:41:36. Camilla Lindholm (SWE) rounded out the podium in 4:44:32.
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