It was record breaking conditions at the 3rd Tyrol Challenge Walchsee-Kaiserwinkl: 14 degrees C at the start, a bit more than 18 in the water of Lake Walchsee, dry streets and overcast with sunny spells. And that was exactly what happened: German favorite Andreas Raelert finished in 3:48:49, equaling last year’s record while New Zealander, Gina Crawford took out the women’s course record in 4:20:08.
Nils Frommhold from Germany came out of the water first. But his lead only lasted to the first bike split, then favorites Andi Raelert, Timo Bracht and Ronnie Schildknecht caught up with him. At this moment it was certain, that Raelert would take the win. In question was, who would finish second and third. Finally it was Bracht followed by Frommhold. Last year’s winner Schildknecht finished fourth. Andi Raelert, at the moment fastest triathlete of the world, owed the victory to his „fantastic legs““according to his own words. When Raelert attacked at the first lap of the bike split on the famous Huber height, Bracht had no chance and fell back.” It was only at the fourth lap of the run when I realized that a second place could be possible today”, Bracht said after the race.
The women’s race for a long time was dominated by young Austrian Eva Wutti, although Mary Beth Ellis came out of the water first. But after a very fast bike split Wutti came on the run course first with favorites Ellis and Gina Crawford way behind. In the end Wutti’s power didn’t last and she was overtaken by Crawford, Ellis and Kaisa Lehtonen from Finland in the last of four run laps . Crawford was followed by Mary Beth Ellis from the USA in 4:21:12 and Lehtonen in 4:23:16. Crawford was fresh from a victory in Zell am See last week and had “sore legs”. Unbelievable, when one had seen her getting faster on the run from lap to lap. Eva Wutti on the other hand was happy to have reached the finish line: “I was comfortable on the bike, but the run was unbelievably hard for me.”