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Canada’s Lionel Sanders and Great Britain’s Lucy Charles earned the victories at Saturday’s The Challenge Championship in Samorin, Slovakia, taking home the titles and 30,000 Euros as part of a total 150,000 Euro prize pot. Overall more than 900 competitors from 57 countries lined up alongside the Danube River in the shadow of the x-bionic sphere.
Slovakia’s own Richard Varga kicked off the action by leading out of the swim, with two-time Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee and two-time Ironman 70.3 world champion Michael Reelert following. Brownlee worked hard to lead off of the bike, but by that time uber bikers Sebastian Kienle (GER) and Lionel Sanders (CAN) had gotten within striking distance. Both Kienle and Sanders passed Brownlee and then went to battle for the win. Sanders gained the edge, using a 1:14:21 half-marathon to take the victory in 3:40:04. Kienle earned the runner-up spot in 3:41:46, with Raelert rounding out the top three. Brownlee ultimately dropped out of the race.
Charles kicked off the day out front, coming out of the water in front 25 seconds ahead of Australia’s Annabel Luxford and 1:26 ahead of Australia’s Salthouse. The big mover on the bike was Great Britain’s Kimberly Morrison, earning about a one-minute lead over Luxford to start the run. Charles was fourth off of the bike, but worked hard on her way to a 1:25:09 run split to pass the three ahead of her and take the victory in 4:13:59. Luxford was second at 4:14:33, with Wurtele claiming third at 4:15:36.
The Challenge Championship Samorin, Slovakia – June 3, 2017 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run
1. Lionel Sanders (CAN) 3:40:03
2. Sebastian Kienle (GER) 3:41:46
3. Michael Raelert (GER) 3:45:34
4. Andreas Dreitz (GER) 3:47:17
5. Richard Murray (RSA) 3:50:22