Charles and Sanders victorious in Slovakia
Britain's Lucy Charles and Canadian Lionel Sanders win The Championship 2017
Britain’s Lucy Charles has been crowned the winner of Challenge Family’s inaugural The Championship 2017 at Samorin, Slovakia.
More than 900 competitors from 57 nations lined up alongside the Danube River - in the shadow of the incredible x-bionic® sphere, and conditions were favourable with light winds and a temperature of 20 - 28°C.
The elite women's line-up included Heather Wurtele (CAN), Annabel Luxford (AUS), Emma Pallant (GBR) and Lucy Charles (GBR) – fresh from her win at Ironman Lanzarote.
Charles took an early lead, exiting the water 25 secs in front of Luxford, followed by Salthouse (+ 01.26). However out on the bike leg, Luxford took the lead with Charles dropping down to third place, whilst Kimberly Morrison (GBR) put in a strong performance to climb up to second place 45km into the bike leg.
Entering T2 it would be Kimberly Morrison (GBR) in first, Luxford (AUS) in second and Wurtele (NZL) in third.
On the run course, Morrison started with a 53 second lead, but after a dominant start to her run, Luxford took, what seemed at the time, a comfortable lead. Within the first 5km of the run, Wurtele had climbed up to second place to continue to reduce the gap between herself and Luxford, with Charles emerging on both their tails.
Charles put in a spectacular run and in the last kilometre stole the lead, crossing the finish line in an impressive 04.14.32.
Charles said: “I can’t believe it. I could see that I was closing the gap on the run, but I didn’t expect to claw in the race win. Epic course, epic race and I really am over the moon. I think the 20m draft rule is great, and certainly works in my favour.”
In the men’s race all British eyes were on Alistair Brownlee, who exited the swim in second place, 46 seconds behind the leader Richard Varga (SKV).
However during the early stages of the bike leg German Michael Raelert overtook both Varga and Beownlee. But the lead was short-lived as Brownlee pulled back and entered T2 in first place with Sebastian Kienle (GER) in second and Lionel Sanders (CAN) in third, who both had continued to close the gap throughout the bike leg.
Sadly Olympic champion Brownlee Alistair had to retire after just a few kilometres and the race for victory would be between Kienle and Sanders.
Both men were within an elastic band width of each other throughout the majority of the run. After a dramatic breakaway at 16km, however, it was Sanders who took the win with a time of 03:40:04.