Dapena Gonzalez, Van Vlerken take Challenge Gran Canaria

Spain's Pablo Dapena Gonzalez and Yvonne Van Vlerken took the Challenge Gran Canaria honours as IRONMAN World Champion, Patrick Lange, starts 2018 with third.

Chief Correspondent
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Spain and The Netherlands take Gloria-Challenge Mogán Gran Canaria

When I previewed the race (HERE), I did highlight that the presence of IRONMAN World Champion, Patrick Lange, at Saturday’s Challenge Gran Canaria was certainly not a guarantee of a win for the speedy German.

The men’s Pro field was strong and deep, and I gave you six other names that were likely to be in contention. Well, Patrick didn’t win – but I still managed to not mention the winner. Oh well, the ups and downs and trying to forecast triathlon races…!

That said, the result shouldn’t be a complete surprise. Pablo Dapena Gonzalez is the current Spanish Long Distance Triathlon Champion and last week finished second to Great Britain’s Adam Bowden at Challenge Roma. With a win here, he’ll have put himself in prime position in the Challenge Family Bonus Series.

After setting the pace through the opening 1.9km swim, to gain around 25 seconds over most of the pre-race favourites including Lange, Riederer, Heemeryck, and Böcherer, it was Andi Böcherer who quickly used his bike strength to hit the front of the race. He clocked 2:18:44 over the challenging course (though further back, Bart Aernouts managed a 2:17:49), to reach T2 alone, and start the half marathon with a two minute lead.

Lange ran well (1:10:39), and both he and Dapena Gonzalez were closing in on Böcherer. The Spaniard was able to make the pass with a 1:09:24 split to take a 17 second win, while Lange followed his countryman 35 seconds later.

As highlighted in the preview, the women’s race looked like it would be all set for Yvonne van Vlerken (NED) to dominate, and despite giving away the expected three+ minutes to Celine Schaerer (SUI) in the water, she reversed the favour by 12 minutes on the bike. Ewa Komander (POL) was the only athlete close, starting the run four minutes back, but the Dutch athlete added another minute over the half marathon for a comfortable. In third place, Anna Noguera Raja (ESP), produced the best run split of the day (1:20:49) to complete the podium.

Gloria-Challenge Mogán Gran Canaria – Saturday 21st April 2018
1.9km / 90km / 21.1km


1st – Pablo Dapena Gonzalez (ESP) – 4:00:25
2nd – Andi Böcherer (GER) – 4:00:42
3rd – Parick Lange (GER) – 4:01:17
4th – Bart Aernouts (BEL) – 4:02:32
5th – Sven Riederer (SUI) – 4:05:07

10th – Tom Davis (GBR) – 4:24:40


1st – Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED) – 4:38:41
2nd – Ewa Komander (POL) – 4:43:45
3rd – Anna Noguera Raja (ESP) – 4:46:21
4th – Celine Schaerer (SUI) – 4:56:13
5th – Frederica Di Nicola (ITA) – 5:06:02


1st (45-49) – Jane Hansom (GBR) – 5:30:30
1st (18-24) – Barney Palmer (GBR) – 4:35:30
2nd (18-24) – Harry Edney (GBR) – 4:41:12
1st (25-29) – Andrew Woodroffe (GBR) – 4:41:17
2nd (25-29) – Finlay McAndrew (GBR) – 4:46:20
1ST (60-64) – David Patten (GBR) – 6:00:37

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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