WATCH AGAIN: The first edition of Challenge Sanremo

This is a preview of the race – click here for our in-depth report on wins for Italy’s Gregory Barnaby and Switzerland’s Emma Bilham.

Sunday, September 25th will see the first edition of Challenge Sanremo held on the Italian Riviera, with a 48-strong international pro field set to battle it out for the win on what promises to be an exceptionally challenging course.

Start time and how to follow live

Challenge Sanremo will kick off at 0720 UK time, which is 0820 CEST for the European audience and an early 0220 Eastern time for any fans watching over in the States.

For those keen to watch the action, the Challenge Family have a live stream of the race along with commentary which can be watched on Sunday via the embed below.

YouTube video

There will also be live updates and tracking of the event via the Challenge Family website.

The course

Whilst the field itself is bound to make this event a great race, the course that the athletes get to race on this weekend is spectacular.

The swim is a single lap of 1.9km at the stunning Bagni Paradiso Beach, before the 90km single lap bike course takes in almost 1,500 metres of ascent and includes one of the most famous descents in the historic Milan-Sanremo road race, one of the five Monuments in professional cycling.

Finally, the athletes will finish with a three-lap run course along the ocean front before sprinting for the tape in the heart of Sanremo on the shores of the Mediterranean.

Pro Men

In the men’s race, Pablo Dapena Gonzalez is the top seeded athlete and is likely to prove to be tough competition for any of the other pro men hoping to take the win.

The Spaniard, who is ranked #45 in the world, finished 10th at the PTO US Men’s Open in Dallas this past weekend and will be hoping to shake off any lingering fatigue from that impressive display of strength over 100km.

The 34 year old was the winner of Challenge Gdansk in June and will hope that on Sunday he can add to his impressive 17 Challenge Family event podiums.

Pablo Dapena Gonzalez wins Gdansk 2022 credit Challenge Family
Pablo Dapena Gonzalez wins in Gdansk [Photo credit: Challenge Family}

Gonzalez won’t have it easy on Sunday, however, as there is a strong contingent of other Europeans who will hope to take advantage of the Spaniard’s hard race in Dallas and long haul travel.

Amongst them is William Mennesson, the Frenchman who finished second at IRONMAN France this year. His form is however is a little sporadic, with the 28-year-old having failed to finish three of his last five races, including IRONMAN Wales.

Of the home athletes, Gregory Barnaby could well be the favourite. Fourth at the World Triathlon Long Distance Championships in Samorin, he finished in the same position at Challenge Walchsee. More recently, he was second across the line at IRONMAN 70.3 Zell am See before a post-race DQ for crossing a centre line on the bike.

Pro Women

In the women’s race, Lucy Byram will be the overwhelming favourite for the win. The 23-year-old Brit, who won Challenge Wales earlier on this year, was also second at Challenge Riccione, before also finishing on the podium at IRONMAN 70.3 Vichy in August behind rising star, Lydia Dant.

Lucy Byram Challenge Wales finish
Photo Credit: Huw Fairclough / Challenge Family

With such a strong swim-bike combine, Byram will hope that the challenging bike course will give her the opportunity to put some significant time into her opponents before heading out on to the run.

Facing up against Byram are a number of strong European women, including Swiss duo Emma Bilham and Nina Derron, plus German Lena Berlinger. Out of the two Swiss athletes, Derron seems to be in the best form this season, with the world number #81 having finished fourth at IRONMAN Ireland and IRONMAN Switzerland already this year, with a podium this weekend looking like the perfect way to cap off her season.

Berlinger just beat Derron by over a minute at Alpe D’Huez and will be hoping that she can once again hold off one of her main podium rivals on the Italian Riviera.

Prize Money: What’s on offer?

The prize purse on offer this weekend is EUR 19,000 – with each of the winners collecting a EUR 3,500 share of that total.

The total funds will be paid six-deep, as follows:

  1. €3,500
  2. €2,100
  3. €1,400
  4. €1,150
  5. €850
  6. €500

Of course, thanks to the formation of the Professional Triathletes Organisation, financial rewards from performance are not solely from on-the-day performances.

The PTO World Rankings will see a total of $2million awarded at the end of 2022, based up on the final standings in those points tables. The rewards there can be substantial, with a move up or down the rankings system potentially earning you more than any individual event.

PTO World Rankings

As a Challenge Family event, there’s also a third potential source of earnings for athletes too, courtesy of the Challenge Family World Bonus!

Challenge Family offers a $125,000 bonus pot, which is paid out as $25k / $16.5k / $12k / $6k / $3k to the top five ranked male and female athletes across the Challenge Family/CLASH Endurance race season.

Lucy Byram currently sits in sixth position in those rankings, and win would see her jump up into second position.

Tomos Land
Article by
Tomos is a contributor to TRI247. He is a Journalism Student at Cardiff University and competes for Gog Triathlon Club back home in North Wales.