Jack Moody and Els Visser Win at Challenge Taiwan

Jack Moody and Els Visser win at the 12th Challenge Taiwan, overcoming tough conditions and strong competition.

Jack Moody and Els Visser Win at Challenge Taiwan

Jack Moody (NZL) and Els Visser (NED) emerged victorious at the 12th edition of Challenge Taiwan, held in the spectacular setting of Taitung. Moody claimed the men's title in 3:49:16, while Visser clinched the women's crown in 4:08:39, both navigating through challenging conditions and fierce competition.

The race attracted over 8,000 athletes, with the overcast and warm weather conditions, coupled with high humidity levels and a water temperature of 24°C, setting the stage for a wetsuit-free swim for the pro athletes. The anticipation was high as the competitors prepared to tackle the demanding course.

How the Race Was Won

The men's race saw Joe Begbie (AUS) take an early lead, exiting the swim in 23:49, closely followed by Filipe Azevedo (UAE), Kurt McDonald (AUS), and Caleb Noble (AUS). In the women's race, Alanis Siffert (SUI) established a clear lead, finishing the swim in 24:22, with Lottie Lucas (UAE) and a group led by Samantha Kingsford (NZL) trailing behind.

As the race transitioned to the bike segment, the dynamics began to shift. In the men's race, McDonald took the lead by the 20km mark, with Azevedo and Begbie riding together 45 seconds behind. The Antipodean contingent of Moody, Noble, and Sam Osborne (NZL) worked together to close the gap. By halfway, McDonald had extended his lead, while Osborne and Moody dropped Noble but lost time to the leaders.

In the women's race, Visser made a stunning comeback, closing the gap to Siffert and securing a 1:12 lead by the 20km mark. Lucas moved into second place, with Siffert slipping to third. Visser continued to dominate, entering T2 with a commanding four-minute lead over Lucas.

The run segment proved to be the decisive factor in both races. In the men's competition, Moody displayed incredible determination, steadily closing the gap to McDonald. Despite McDonald's initial lead, a costly wrong turn in the final 5km opened the door for Moody to claim victory. Azevedo secured second place, while Joel Wooldridge (AUS) completed the podium in third.

Visser's run performance in the women's race was equally impressive. She maintained her lead throughout, ultimately claiming her third win and sixth podium of the 2024 season. The battle for second and third unfolded in the latter half of the run, with Siffert overtaking Lucas to secure the runner-up spot.

Moody's ability to capitalise on McDonald's misfortune and Visser's dominant performance from the bike segment onward highlighted their exceptional abilities.

The race was not without its share of unexpected moments. The challenging course, with its technical aspects and demanding terrain, tested the athletes' skills and endurance. The humid conditions added an extra layer of difficulty, making the victories of Moody and Visser all the more impressive.