Photos: A Challenge Salou Du

Challenge Salou 2021

Unsafe conditions forced the cancellation of the swim at the middle-distance Challenge Salou, as Spain’s northeastern Costa Daurada was battered with high winds that caused rough water conditions. Instead, athletes raced in a modified duathlon (run-bike-run) format. Though choppy waves were no longer a factor, the wind very much continued to influence the race, as athletes pushed through blustery conditions on all three segments.

In the men’s professional race, they seemed to band together in a pack as a strategy to protect themselves from the wind in the first run lap, with almost 20 men finishing the 5K opener together. On the bike, however, things began to break up, with Germany’s Frederic Funk pulling ahead at the halfway point. With a 2:48 lead entering T2, his victory seemed all but imminent—until American Collin Chartier chased him down. Chartier’s strategy to hold back on the windy bike to save himself for the run paid off as he quickly overtook Funk and ran to a 3:28:41 win. Van Egdom of The Netherlands took second place in his first-ever middle distance race, while Robbie Deckard (USA) rounded out the podium in third.

In the women’s race, Sara Perez Sala led into T1 in front of her home crowd, but was quickly overtaken by Sweden’s Lisa Norden, who put on a master class in riding through strong and unpredictable winds. She took the lead early in the bike and built a 5:52 cushion against her competition by T2, which she further extended on the run, breaking the tape in 3:50:59. Meanwhile, a battle for the remaining podium spots ensued, with Els Visser (NED) edging out Lucy Hall (GBR) to take second and third, respectively.

Scroll through to see photos from the race, captured by José Luis Hourcade.