Challenge Budva 2021 results: Lucy Hall rules, Ditlev wins after DSQ drama

Lucy Hall and Magnus Ditlev produced stunning performances to cross the line first at the inaugural Challenge Budva-Montenegro on Sunday, but it was two days before the Dane could really celebrate his victory.

Ditlev, an impressive winner by a wide margin in the men’s PRO race, saw his victory removed by disqualification hours later for unintentional course cutting – handing top spot on the podium to Patrick Lange.

Two days later though Challenge Family announced the disqualification had been overturned and changed to a five-minute time penalty. Such was Ditlev’s dominance, that was enough to return him to the top of the podium.

PRO Women – Hall the way…

Lucy, third at the duathlon which was Challenge Salou last weekend, had been expected to record the fastest swim of the morning, and she absolutely destroyed the rest of the field to head into T1 with a lead of almost three minutes over Emma Bliham. Elis Visser meanwhile was in fourth and almost five minutes off the pace.

Hall saw the pack close on her in the first third of the bike leg (see Tweet below for the reason), with Bliham pulling to within a minute-and-a-half of her, and Visser to just over three minutes. The Dutch star then fell away though in the next 30km and it was Bilham who appeared to be the only real threat to Lucy.

Hall began the half-marathon with a lead of 1:20 over Bilham, and gradually extended it to pull clear for a terrific victory by just over two minutes. Bilham was second, with Visser third more than four-and-a-half minutes away.

PRO Men – Ditlev drama

Italian Mattia Ceccarelli had a small advantage over Ognjen Stjoanovic exiting the water, with that pair followed by favourite Lange and Nils Frommhold a few seconds further back. Ditlev meanwhile was a further 50 seconds behind them.

Once back on dry land, Lange and Frommhold quickly moved to the head of affairs on their bikes, but behind them it was Ditlev who was making a major move. By the time the field had cycled 15km, Magnus was in front. And by 30km he led by more than a minute.

Ditlev continued to extend his lead on the bike and by the time he headed into T2 he had a lead of well over four minutes. By the halfway stage of the run Ditlev led the second-placed Lange by more than seven minutes, leaving Patrick to yell out “how is this possible?”.

Ditlev maintained that huge gap to come home in front almost seven minutes clear of Lange at the line, with Ruedi Wild passing Frommhold in the closing stages.

At this stage there was no hint of the controversy to come, but hours later Challenge Family released a statement confirming that Ditlev had been disqualified.

It read: “It is with a very heavy heart that we have to announce the disqualification of Magnus Ditlev after his victory earlier today at CHALLENGEBUDVA-MONTENEGRO. This dsq is due to an unintentional course cutting action, after following the lead bike, which became apparent in the final stages of today’s race.

“All involved regret this decision but the application of the objective rules as set out by our World Triathlon governing body is an important factor in our sport.

“In an act of solidarity, pros finishing behind Magnus decided to share their earnings of today’s prize money as a token of appreciation of the form Magnus showed.”

The drama did not end there though, and some 48 hours later Challenge released another statement, amending Ditlev’s DSQ to a five-minute time penalty. That was enough to restore the Dane to the top of the podium by just under two minutes from Lange.

The statement read: “Following Magnus Ditlev’s disqualification at CHALLENGEBUDVA-MONTENEGRO for unintentional course cutting and a subsequent protest from Ditlev, CHALLENGEFAMILY and CHALLENGEBUDVA-MONTENEGRO have further investigated the incident.

“The decision to disqualify Ditlev was based on information available at the time as per the World Triathlon rules where course-cutting results in disqualification. However, based on subsequent investigation, his disqualification has been returned to a five-minute time penalty as provided initially.

“The action was reduced in acknowledgement of the part the race organisation played in misdirecting Ditlev, for which CHALLENGEFAMILY and CHALLENGEBUDVA-MONTENEGRO has apologised, with a commitment to put more robust procedures in place to ensure this is not repeated.

“Ditlev retains his place as the inaugural CHALLENGEBUDVA-MONTENEGRO champion with a time of 3:46:29 with Patrick Lange in second (3:48:21) and Ruedi Wild in third (3:50:43).”


Challenge Budva 2021 Results

Sunday October 10, 2021


  • 1. Magnus Ditlev (DEN) 3:46:29**
  • 2. Patrick Lange (GER) 3:48:21
  • 3.. Ruedi Wild (SUI) 3:50:43
  • 4. Nils Frommhold (GER) 3:51:27
  • 5. Mattia Ceccarelli (ITA) 3:53:45

** Includes five-minute time penalty.

PRO Women

  • 1. Lucy Hall (GBR) 4:17:09
  • 2. Emma Bilham (SUI) 4:19:23
  • 3. Els Visser (NED) 4:21:41
  • 4. Gabriella Zelinka (HUN) 4:30:33
  • 5. Margie Santimaria (ITA) 4:37:00

Written by
Graham Shaw
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