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The Championship 2023 women’s results: India Lee hits new high in Šamorín

Great Britain's India Lee was the impressive winner of Challenge Family's The Championship, the biggest success of her career so far.

Staff Reporter
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Great Britain’s India Lee registered the biggest win of her career when running away with the win at The Championship in Šamorín on Sunday

She had a small gap to make up after the swim but moved to the head of affairs on the bike and then rammed home her advantage on the run to win by just under two minutes. This was her fifth middle-distance win, the previous one coming at Challenge Vansbro last year.

Just as with the men’s race, won by Mathis Margirier, there was a thrilling battle for second place as defending champion Sara Perez-Sala (ESP) was just overhauled by Caroline Pohle (GER) in the last kilometre.

Swim – Langridge pushes pace up front

Britain’s Fenella Langridge, who finished second at IRONMAN South Africa at the start of the season, showed her prowess in the water, as she accelerated past Rebecca Clarke of New Zealand to lead into T1, with Sala and Pohle in hot pursuit.

This lead group of four came out of the water with a buffer of +0:25 to one of the pre-race favourites in Lee, with Switzerland’s Imogen Simmons a further half a minute back at a deficit of just over one minute.

Lucy Byram, the Challenge Family World Bonus leader who started her season with wins at CLASH Miami and Challenge Puerto Varas, came out of the water at +1:21 alongside Aussie Grace Thek, with some strong cyclists in the group coming out of transition between +1:00 – 1:30 off the front.

Further back, recently-crowned World Long Distance Champion Marjolaine Pierre of France was out of the water at +2:37, with the youngest athlete in the field (just 23) leaving herself with a lot of work to do on the bike and run.

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Bike – Lee puts power down

Out on the bike, it was Lee who took the race by the scruff of the neck early on, as she bridged the gap up to the front three of Langridge, Sala and Pohle. The Brit, who recently finished seventh at the PTO Tour European Open, looked in total control in the early stages of the ride.

By the halfway mark, Lee continued to push on at the front, with Langridge, Sala and Pohle hanging in tough. Behind them, Byram and Simmonds were holding the gap to the front, despite Lee’s best efforts, to remain within +1:30 of the leading group of four.

By the final stages of the bike, Lee, who was said to have only one gear working on her bike, gapped Sala, Langridge and Pohle, as she entered T2 with a small buffer of just under half a minute. Behind, Byram and Simmonds had narrowed the gap down to Pohle to less than a minute, with the podium firmly in their sights.

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Run – Thrilling tussle for second

Heading out onto the run course it was a slim advantage for Lee, but she immediately looked strong and within the first 5km the Brit had put a minute between herself and the chasers.

And that gap held steady – indeed it increased a fraction – but there was an absorbing battle in behind for second.

For all but the last kilometre it looked set to go to Sala but the line didn’t quite come quick enough as Pohle pounced past.

All of the top three women went under Lucy Charles-Barclay’s previous course record time.

India Lee wins the Challenge Championship in Samorin 2023 [Photo credit: Activimages / Challenge Family]
[Photo credit: Activimages / Challenge Family]

Challenge Family The Championship 2023 results

Sunday May 21, 2021 – 1.9km / 90km / 21.1km

PRO Women

  • 1. India Lee (GBR) – 3:58:29
  • 2. Caroline Pohle (GER) – 4:00:17
  • 3. Sara Perez Sala (ESP) – 4:00:24
  • 4. Amelia Watkinson (NZL) – 4:00:44
  • 5. Grace Thek (AUS) – 4:01:28
  • 6. Lucy Byram (GBR) – 4:02:00
  • 7. Fenella Langridge (GBR) – 4:03:32
  • 8. Margie Santamaria (ITA) – 4:03:36
  • 9. Diede Diederiks (NED) – 4:04:15
  • 10. Marjolaine Pierre (FRA) – 4:06:18
Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.
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