Triathlon legend Sebastian Kienle completed the next instalment of his ‘Discontinued Tour’ at one of the toughest endurance challenges in the world, as the German finished runner-up at the legendary Norseman Xtreme Triathlon.
Just missing out on the top spot to home favourite Jon Breivold, who by now is close to writing himself into Norseman history, Kienle secured his third podium of the season having led out of the water and dealt with the trials and tribulations of the bike and run course competently.
After enduring a tough time over the past few months, with a disappointing set of results on home soil at Challenge Roth and then over the middle distance at Challenge St Polten in Austria and Challenge Frejus in France, it is good to see Sebi back on track.
The women’s race also had a pretty special conclusion, with Britain’s Flora Colledge finally claiming victory in this iconic event, at the fifth attempt.
Men – Bucket list checked off for Kienle
Having led out of the water, Kienle raced strongly over the bike and the run to finish run second, with the experience and knowledge of race veteran Breivold allowing the Norwegian to take the initiative.
Chasing all day after being closed down at the beginning of the bike leg and left behind by Breivold, Kienle at no point rested on his laurels as the former IRONMAN World Champion proved that class is permanent with a determined performance.
Finishing in an astounding time of 9:34:16, some 25 minutes behind the eventual winner Breivold, Kienle showed his quality with a strong performance across the board, perhaps just missing that extra knowledge that is required to get the best out of yourself on this challenging course.
After thunderstorms closed the top of the mountain, all athletes finished at the 32.5km mark of the run. Over the remaining 10km of the brutal run course, would Kienle have been able to drag himself back to the front of the race?
These are the questions that remain to be answered, with the fans of the sport and event left with nothing else to do other than cross their fingers that the German titan returns next season for another crack at the legendary event.
Afterwards he said: “Today was tough. Of course, it would have been cool to have another hour or two in the mountains, but for about 20 seconds, I was quite relieved to turn around, to be honest!
“I had a powerful bike today and am pleased with the performance and experience. This was my professional career’s last long-distance race in Europe, and I’m so happy that I chose to race Norseman. I’ve been watching the videos from Norseman, and I understand why the race is on many triathletes’ bucket lists.
“The battle with this unknown Norwegian guy Jon Breivold was fun and brutal. He did a powerful bike leg, and his running in Zombie Hill was impossible for me to follow today. Zombie Hill also proved its reputation, and I was a Zombie at some points – I was unsure how to move my feet.
Women – Colledge claims big win at last
In the women’s race, it was a close competition between several athletes. After sitting a few spots back for the bike, Colledge made a decisive move on the run and worked hard to overtake several competitors to take the lead by Zombie Hill.
Finally crossing the line in first place after previously placing second twice at Norseman, her delight was obvious to see as she raised her arms in victory.
“It still hasn’t sunk in yet,” she said at the finish. “Ever since I first saw a photo of Norseman I remember saying ‘That’s the race I want to win!”
Her coach Arild Tveiten, head coach of the Norwegian Triathlon team, was at the finish to congratulate her.
Emilie Klev Bergheim from Norway was second in the women’s race. She lost Flora while they climbed Zombie Hill but continued to finish strong. Another Norwegian, Kaja Bergwitz-Larsen became third. The three women battled each other during the whole
Norseman Xtreme Triathlon Results 2023
Saturday August 5, 2023
- Jon Sæverås Breivold (NOR) – 9:09:57
- Sebastian Kienle (GER) – 9:34:16
- Allan Hovda (NOR) – 9:39:27
- Fridtjof Røinås (NOR) – 9:50:13
- Lars Wichert (GER) – 10:19:59
- Flora Colledge (GBR) – 11:20:10
- Emilie Klev Bergheim (NOR) – 11:31:44
- Kaja Bergwitz-Larsen (NOR) – 11:36:43
- Nikoline Haugen (NOR) – 11:58:57
- Hannah Saitch (GBR) – 11:59:54