“That was one hell of a finish!” said a delighted Els Visser after she outsprinted Fenella Langridge to take the win at Challenge Canberra on Sunday.
At the end of the first of three run laps, Visser was just six seconds down and for the next two laps they raced neck and neck, neither able to shake the other.
As they approached the last small hill just metres from the finish line, there was still nothing in it, but it was Visser who used the gradient to her advantage to get ahead, both sprinting down the finish chute with Visser taking the win in 4:20:48. Langridge was just eight seconds behind.
Patience pays off
“It’s a really challenging bike course so I just thought be patient but try to push hard and I was getting closer and closer,” explained Visser, with the Dutchwoman notching her third victory of the season.
“It took me the first lap of the run to close the gap to Fenella and we were pretty much running side by side and it became a mental game. I gave my absolute best and I’m super pleased to take the win.”
Next up for both of them is IRONMAN Western Australia on December 3rd and Brit Langridge, who has been training in Australia for the last month, said on Instagram: “Never been in a run battle like that… so much learnt for next one. Next week Els 😂.”
Quickly back on the bike
There was drama of a different sort in the men’s race as Daniel Bækkegård’s race nearly ended when a fogged visor coupled with a fast tight turn resulted in him crashing on the bike.
Fortunately, the Dane was able to get straight back into the race with nothing lost but a couple of minutes and went on to win by a similar margin from Aussie Kurt McDonald.
“It was good to blow off a few cobwebs!,” said Bækkegård afterwards. “I didn’t have a great swim and a terrible transition, then I had a crash going downhill in the Arboretum.
But after checking nothing was broken I jumped back on the bike and tried to keep as calm as possible.
“Then I just had to chase the front group and Kurt and Caleb [Noble] did an amazing job on the front, really pushing the pace. When I caught them I kept charging.
“It was amazing to race Kurt on the run, he’s one of the young guns and it was awesome to race and see how eager he was to go out there and leave everything on the race course.”