Anne Haug of Germany took a dominant win at Anfi Challenge Mogán-Gran Canaria to make it her second victory of the season, as she continues to be the in-form athlete of 2023.
Behind her, Diede Diederiks of the Netherlands took second place, as Brit Megan McDonald impressed across the board to claim third.
Swim – Pohle first out of the water
German Caroline Pohle was the first professional female out of the water, as the PTO World #91 proved to be the best at not only getting through the 1.9km swim leg but also navigating through the large age-group fields on her second lap of the two-lap swim course.
Italian Margie Santimaria was next out of the water, over a minute behind Pohle, before a number of small groups began to filter through. At +1:30 back, McDonald was in good company, as she exited alongside pre race favourite Haug.
A further 30 seconds behind Haug and McDonald, last year’s IRONMAN Israel winner Ruth Astle came out of the water +2:00 back from the front, alongside German athlete Svenja Thoes. Thoes, who last year won IRONMAN France, IRONMAN Ireland and IRONMAN Italy, travelled to Gran Canaria in search of a first win in 2023.
Bike – Haug puts her foot down
Over the first lap of the bike, Haug quickly cut down the deficit to Pohle up front. Within a lap, the former IRONMAN World Champion had whittled her compatriot’s lead down to just 30 seconds, with Thoes and McDonald also moving to within a minute of the early leader.
Haug, by halfway, had made her way to the front and as the bike went on, the recent IRONMAN 70.3 Lanzarote winner extended her advantage to +2:30 over McDonald, who was riding excellently in second, and early leader Pohle.
Further back, Santimaria kept the pressure on the front three, with Astle also just off the pace. Diederiks, who lost time on the swim, made her way to the front five by the third lap and put herself in a good position to be in contention for the podium on the run.
By T2, Haug had a big gap on the rest of the field, with the win almost a certainty as she stepped out on to the run. Behind her, Astle had made great progress over the final quarter of the bike leg, as she came into transition in second place ahead of McDonald and Diederiks.
Run – Haug dominates
After the first lap of the run, Haug had a five minute advantage over McDonald, who continued to impress as she moved up past Astle into second. Sitting 20 seconds behind McDonald in third, Astle had a similar gap to Diederiks, with Pohle and Santimaria also within a minute.
Having struggled with a running injury over the past couple of weeks leading into the race, Astle was racing off little run volume, with the Brit hanging in tough for the podium over the first lap or so. However, she couldn’t keep Diederiks at bay for long, as the Dutch athlete made her way into third, and looking capable of catching McDonald.
Haug, as expected, came home comfortably to take the win. The 40 year old, who has now won two from two so far this season, will surely go into the PTO European Open as a big contender for the win. With such great running pedigree, and the bike power to match, Haug might well be the one to inflict a first loss over the 100km distance on last year’s US and Canadian Open winner Ashleigh Gentle.
Despite winning by almost 13 minutes, Haug shared after the race that the bike course proved to be challenging, and that despite swimming well, she lost the feet earlier on which left her solo for a proportion of the swim.
“A race is a race and you always have to pull out a good performance. My swim was OK, I tried to stay on Caroline’s feet but I was on my own. I tried my hardest but the bike was tough and hard. The run was so cool, you run alongside the beach, the crowd was amazing and supporting all the way. I’m so happy to take the win, it was an amazing race!”
Anfi Challenge Mogán-Gran Canaria 2023 Results
Saturday April 22, 2023 – 1.9km / 90km / 21km
- 1. Anne Haug (GER) – 4:05:38
- 2. Diede Diederiks (NED) – 4:17:52
- 3. Megan McDonald (GBR) – 4:18:34
- 4. Margie Santimaria (ITA) – 4:20:37
- 5. Caroline Pohle (GER) – 4:21:32