Frenchman Mathis Margirier and Australian Grace Thek took commanding wins at OSTO Challenge Salou, as the pair continued their podium laden season with a trip to the top step in Spain.
Behind, Britain’s David McNamee secured a first podium of the season with a strong showing, ahead of Aussie Charlie Quin, as New Zealander Rebecca Clarke came second in the women’s race in front of Chilean Barbara Riveros.
Out of the water, Margirier exited with a small gap over compatriot Baptiste Neveu, with Quin within five seconds and McNamee within ten seconds after a fantastic swim.
The Championship winner last month, Margirier was the favourite coming into the race, and rightly so, having finished on a podium in each of his past five races.
Out on the bike, the PTO World #23 quickly established a lead over the rest of the field with McNamee, as the pair pushed the pace lap by lap to eventually come off the bike with a five minute buffer to Quin and Milan Brons of the Netherlands.
Leaving T2, Margirier and McNamee started the run shoulder to shoulder, but a small gap quickly opened up by the end of the first lap, holding steady at about 15 seconds until around halfway, before Margirier put his foot on the gas.
Closing in on the finish, Margirier continued to put time into McNamee, as Quin started closing the Brit down, but not quickly enough to put McNamee under any real pressure.
Margirier, who extended his podium streak to six races in close to nine months, took the tape in the end with close to two minutes over McNamee, with the Brit getting on his first top 3 finish in a year, as Quin rounded out the podium.
After the race, Margirier, who has been racing non-stop so far this season, shared his thoughts on his second consecutive win.
“I’m really happy but my body is so tired after all the racing in the past month but I’m really happy with the race. The heat was intense and inside of me it was really hard. It’s a lot of training and a lot of work. There were a lot of French and all the other spectators supporting, they really pushed more than if I was alone so thank you to everybody.”
Kiwi Clarke led out of the water with a big lead, as she entered transition with close to 90 seconds over a small chase pack which included Constanza Martella, Riveros, Megan McDonald and Thek.
Out on the bike course, the trio of Thek, McDonald and Clarke worked well together through the first lap, before McDonald was dropped and the duo from Down Under came off the bike with a two minute buffer to the rest of the field.
Running through transition, Clarke had a small lead over Thek, with the Aussie happy to take her time to settle before reeling in Clarke and taking the lead, as further back Riveros overhauled McDonald to move into third.
For the rest of the run, Thek showed her dominance, opening up minutes to Clarke, as the gap between the New Zealander and Riveros of Chile remained constant, as each athlete ran strong over the second half to secure the podium.
Thek took the tape, with Clarke coming home in second just under five minutes back. Riveros, running brilliantly, finished in third after holding off a late surge from German Svenja Thoes.
After the race, Thek shared her thoughts on her performance and discussed the pressure she faced coming into the race as a favourite.
“It was a very classy field today, very competitive and we all finished in a short period of time. You never know what’s going to happen on race day, I went in as favourite but anything can happen so I was thrilled to get across the line in first.”
Challenge Salou 2023 results
Sunday 4 June 2023 – 1.9km / 90km / 21.1km
- 1. Mathis Margirier (FRA) – 3:24:23
- 2. David McNamee (GBR) – 3:26:18
- 3. Charlie Quin (AUS) – 3:29:35
- 4. Alberto Moreno Molins (ESP) – 3:33:33
- 5. Franck Guyon (FRA) – 3:35:58
- 1. Grace Thek (AUS) – 3:53:53
- 2. Rebecca Clarke (NZL) – 3:58:24
- 3. Barbara Riveros (CHI) – 4:00:48
- 4. Svenja Thoes (GER) – 4:01:33
- 5. Elisabetta Curridori (ITA) – 4:02:12