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Emma Pallant, Pablo Dapena secure Challenge Cape Town wins

The debut of Challenge Cape Town saw two British athletes on the podium, headed by another successful day for Emma Pallant

Chief Correspondent
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Another 2019 victory for Emma Pallant

Last weekend South Africa dominated the Rugby World Cup final, but on home soil today, the inaugural Challenge Cape Town triathlon saw the podiums topped by Great Britain and Spain.


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Dapena, Pallant Win Inaugural CHALLENGECAPETOWN

Pablo Dapena took the crown in the inaugural CHALLENGECAPETOWN on Sunday, when he sprinted to the finish in a time of 3:46:48.

The Spaniard finished approx. 90 seconds ahead of Steven McKenna (AUS) in second place, with Matt Trautman (RSA) coming in third. First out of the water after a strong swim, Dapena formed part of a six-man bunch that dominated most of the 90km cycle from Big Bay into the Company’s Garden.  But it was on the run where he showed his strength, and he quickly set the pace in front, together with McKenna, with Trautman following close behind.

Dapena was ecstatic about his victory. “The conditions were amazing. I had a great swim and enjoyed the flat and fast bike. The run was a little windy at times and that hill was a challenge, but I loved racing in Cape Town, and I hope to be back next year!”

Challenge Cape Town 2019 / Pablo Dapena Gonzalez
Photo credit: Chris Hitchcock

The women’s race belonged to Emma Pallant (GBR), who took a convincing win in 4:14:51 – seven minutes faster than Annah Watkinson (SA), and almost 10 minutes ahead of British pro Laura Siddall.

“I loved the swim and the run was tough,” noted Pallant. “The flat and fast bike made for an awesome day, and I had great fun on the course.”

This was an historic day for the race organisers, who successfully staged the first middle distance triathlon in the City of Cape Town.

The 1.9km swim, 90km cycle and 21km run showcased the Mother City in a way that no mass participation event athlete has seen it before.

The day dawned to a misty but wind-free Big Bay, and the race opened with ideal swim conditions and water temperatures reaching 15.5 °c. The cycle followed, which comprised three spectacularly scenic loops along Otto du Plessis Drive with its uninterrupted ocean views, followed by a ride into the City, and a final sprint along Adderley Street and Government Avenue in the Company’s Garden. This was the first time that a cycle race went through the historic Garden.

The 21km run through the Zonnebloem and District Six precinct showcased many of the City’s most historically significant landmarks, including Parliament, City Hall, and the Castle of Good Hope. Three 7km laps completed the run, which included a brutal climb from the Castle all the way up to the M3.

“We couldn’t have asked for better conditions to stage this inaugural event,” said race director Gary Marescia. “The nature of the course made it possible for pros and age groupers to put themselves to the test.”

“A middle distance triathlon in the City of Cape Town has been a long time coming, and I am thrilled that we could show local and international triathletes that the Mother City is ready for an event of this calibre.”

CHALLENGECAPETOWN attracted participants from 20 countries across the globe, with women making up 27% of the field. Top age grouper finishers each earned a slot to participate in THECHAMPIONSHIP in Samorin, Slovakia, in May 2020.

Pro Men

  1. Pablo Dapena (ESP): 3:46:48
  2. Steven McKenna (AUS): 3:48:14
  3. Matt Trautman (RSA): 3:49:44
  4. Kyle Buckingham (RSA): 3:52:12
  5. Tim Don (GBR): 3:55:49
  6. Bradley Weiss (RSA): 3:56:31
Challenge Cape Town 2019
Photo credit: Chris Hitchcock

Pro Women

  1. Emma Pallant (GBR): 4:14:51
  2. Annah Watkinson (RSA): 4:21:20
  3. Laura Siddall (GBR): 4:24:23
  4. Gillian Sanders (RSA): 4:38:20
  5. Lauren Cannon (RSA): 4:39:59
  6. Vicky van der Merwe (RSA): 4:43:20
Challenge Cape Town 2019
Photo credit: Chris Hitchcock
John Levison
Written by
John Levison
TRI247's Chief Correspondent, John has been involved in triathlon for well over 30 years, 15 of those writing on these pages, whilst he can also be found commentating for events across the UK.
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