Ronnie Schildknecht and Yvonne Van Vlerken took the victories at the second running of the Challenge Walchsee-Kaiswerwinkl Triathlon in Austria.
Swiss pro triathlete Ronnie Schildknecht never let the victory slip out of his hands after the bike split. He even didn’t let Timo Bracht from Germany get close and kept his lead all the way to the finish. Schildknecht crossed the finish line after 3:49:20, effectively shattering last year’s winning time by Michi Weiss. Timo Bracht ran through the finish gate of the Challenge at 3:51:51. Third place surprisingly went to Boris Stein from Germany, an amateur athlete, in 3:54:08. Dorian Wagner finished fourth.
For Ronnie Schildknecht, it was his first Challenge Family race and first race in Austria and he was thrilled with the result. “It was a super tough race and I had really tough competition. I had really good legs on the bike but I got cramps towards the end of the run and was not sure until the very end if my lead was big enough.” He went on to promise for the future that, “the race in Walchsee will be one of my favorites.”
Michael Göhner from Germany who was fourth last year dropped down one rank this time. Last year’s second place finisher Massimo Cigana also didn’t have a day as good as last year and had to settle for eighth place.
The women’s race saw a rematch of the duel between Yvonne van Vlerken and Eva Dollinger. It ended just like last year with Dutch Yvonne van Vlerken winning in 4:25:11 ahead of the local favorite Dollinger, who finished in 4:26:35. Third place went to Mirjam Weerd, also from the Netherlands, in 4:27:58.
This year, the women’s race was decided on the last lap of the run. Up until then, Eva Dollinger was in the lead. After the bike split, Yvonne van Vlerken had started a furious catch up and made good about one minute per lap. With just a few kilometers before the Van Vlerken passed Dollinger.
The exhaustion was visible on the winner’s face this year. “Eva did not make it easy for me.” During her preparations things had not gone well, explained the “flying Dutch girl”. Today, she had to fight hard during the swim and the bike ride. When asked how she felt while in transition from bike to run, she answered: “Not so good.” However, in the end she was able to defend her title from last year.
Eva Dollinger put her eggs in one basket from the start. “I knew I had to risk everything in order to create a gap.” This almost worked out. Dollinger explained, “My body totally shut down at the end. But I gave my all and am super happy.”
Race recap provided by the Challenge Series.
Walchsee-Kaiserwinkl, Austria – Sept. 4, 2011
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run
1. Ronnie Schildknecht (SUI) 3:49:20
2. Timo Bracht (GER) 3:51:51
3. Boris Stein (GER) 3:54:08
1. Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED) 4:25:11
2. Eva Dollinger (AUT) 4:26:35
3. Mirjam Weerd (NED) 4:27:58