Thomas Steger, Sarissa De Vries win Challenge Riccione

Contrasting fortunes for the British Pro athletes racing at Challenge Riccione, Italy, where Austria and The Netherlands would top the podiums

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Second place for India Lee in Italy

Another close finish – this time in Riccione

We didn’t have the benefit of the live coverage from last week’s epic Sanders-Long finale in Utah, but Sunday’s Challenge Riccione in Italy served up another quality field and exciting racing with moves late in the race determining the men’s winner.

After finishing second two weeks ago at Challenge Gran Canaria, Spain’s Pablo Dapena Gonzalez looked for much of the run as though he would be able to add another Challenge Family victory to his C.V. Well known for his speedy running, the former ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Champion would however have to give way to the fast feet of Austria’s Thomas Steger.

The Team Pewag athlete put together a superb 1:08:12 run split (against the 1:11’s of Gonzalez and third placed Sebastian Kienle), to take the title by and 80 second margin, passing the Team BMC Pro Triathlon team athlete late into the half marathon.

It was a rare off day for Great Britain’s Thomas Davis, who after crashing out in Gran Canaria was hoping to get his season back on track, after a COVID-test prevented him from even making the early season trip to Challenge Miami. Bad days happen, and he was refreshingly honest:

Not much to say about that @challengericcione They say bad things come in 3’s

I could make excuses, but quite simply I didn’t turn up. A flat tyre at 40 miles didn’t help, but on the day I wasn’t good enough. But #deathbeforeDNF. Not sure where I came, but i wasn’t troubling the top 10.

Back to the drawing board. I’ll come back stronger

By contrast, it was a much better day for India Lee. Consistent throughout with a second best swim and bike, followed by the third quickest run, she spent most of the day – and finished – in second place, to Sarissa De Vries. The Dutch athlete finished second in Gran Canaria to the all-conquering Nicola Spirig. Key to her race was a strong bike leg which allowed her to gap Lee by just over four minutes, eventually finishing with a comfortable six minute winning margin.

Challenge Riccione, Italy – Sunday 9th May 2021
1.9km / 90km / 21km

PRO MEN

1st – Thomas Steger (AUT) – 3:52:34
2nd – Pablo Dapena Gonzalez (ESP) – 3:53:54
3rd – Sebastian Kienle (GER) – 3:55:19
4th – Mattia Ceccarelli (ITA) – 3:55:59
5th – Andi Boecherer (GER) – 3:56:26

PRO WOMEN

1st – Sarissa De Vries (NED) – 4:23:16
2nd – India Lee (GBR) – 4:29:03
3rd – Marta Bernardi (ITA) – 4:33:29
4th – Carolin Lehrieder (GER) – 4:34:34
5th – Lena Berlinger (GER) – 4:35:26

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