Young Frenchman Mathis Margirier claimed his first big win on the international stage as the triathlon hub of Šamorín hosted The Championship, with a strong field of professional men fighting it out for a slice of the €100,000 prize purse.
It was Margirier who caused something of a surprise after a closely-fought race as he ended a run of four successive second places, the latest at Challenge Gran Canaria.
Margirier was one of four athletes who came into T2 in quick succession – he was alongside Frederic Funk (GER) and Aaron Royle (AUS), with Tom Bishop (GBR) just 21 seconds down.
Through 5km there was still nothing between them but soon after Margirier kicked clear and was never really threatened, crossing the line 1:22 ahead of Royle – who held off Funk by four seconds to take second place.
Meanwhile in the women’s race, Britain’s India Lee also notched the biggest win of her career – click here for full report and results.
Swim – Royle puts down a marker
After much had been made of the water temperatures in the build-up to the race, with talk of a shortened swim or even a duathlon, the swim went ahead over the full distance with water temperatures rising sufficiently to allow the athletes to complete the full 1.9km swim course.
Royle, who having only made the switch to middle distance last year has made quite a name for himself sitting at PTO World #9, was first out of the water, The Olympian came out just ahead of former short-course rival Richard Varga, the home favourite.
Sven Thalmann of Switzerland was just off the feet of Varga and Royle after an impressive swim, with a big group consisting of many of the pre-race favourites, including Bishop and World Long Distance Champion Clement Mignon out +0:30 behind Royle.
Funk, regarded as one of the very best riders in the field, came into transition just inside the top 20, around +1:00 down alongside Belgian Pieter Heemeryck, with American Matt Hanson – one of the fastest runners in the sport – further back at a deficit of around three minutes.
Bike – All to play for
Margirier, who finished a magnificent second at Challenge Gran Canaria last month, took the lead early on the bike. Along with Funk, Bishop and Royle, this group of four continued to make it an honest race through the first and second checkpoints, opening up buffers on the rest of the field.
By the halfway mark it was the German Funk who really pushed the pace at the front, as the lead group opened up a gap of close to a minute to fifth-place David McNamee. Heemeryck and Frenchman Antony Costes were the only other athletes within 90 seconds of the lead group.
Over the second half of the bike, the front group of four continued to inflict some damage on the chase group, as Bishop and Funk in particular worked hard to extend the gap out to well over three minutes back to McNamee and Heemeryck. Dutchman Youri Keulen worked hard to drag the second chase group up to the first group of chasers.
Into T2, Royle, Bishop, Margirier and Funk looked set to battle it out for the podium as they enjoyed a buffer of well over three-and-a-half minutes to McNamee, Heemeryck and Costes. A group of four – including Britain’s Harry Palmer and Keulen – were a half-minute further back.
Run – Margirier makes his mark
It was a thrilling start to the run, with the leading trio shoulder to shoulder for the first 5km.
But soon after Margirier would make what proved a decisive move as he eased clear and would gradually open up the gap to over a minute. And while first place looked settled going into the closing stages, it was a different matter in terms of the other podium spots.
It couldn’t have been much closer in the battle for second as Royle had just four seconds to spare from Funk. Heemeryck was fourth and Bishop fifth.
But the plaudits went to Margirier, whose time of 3:31:29 was a new course record, beating Florian Angert’s mark from 2021.
Challenge Family The Championship 2023 results
Sunday May 21, 2021 – 1.9km / 90km / 21.1km
- 1. Mathis Margirier (FRA) – 3:31:29
- 2. Aaron Royle (AUS) – 3:32:51
- 3. Frederic Funk (GER) – 3:32:55
- 4. Pieter Heemeryck (BEL) – 3:33:28
- 5. Tom Bishop (GBR) – 3:34:05
- 6. David McNamee (GBR) – 3:34:35
- 7. Youri Keulen (NED) – 3:34:56
- 8. Kieran Lindars (GBR) – 3:35:53
- 9. Alessandro Fabian (ITA) – 3:36:20
- 10. Simon Viain (FRA) – 3:37:27