Ditlev and Hall win the first Challenge Budva-Montenegro – Trizone
With a more than impressive performance, Magnus Ditlev has just won the first edition of CHALLENGEBUDVA-MONTENEGRO. The Dane took the lead on the bike and also dominated running, before winning his very first CHALLENGEFAMILY race. Lucy Hall also had an impressive day, as she led the women’s race from start to finish and will return home with a resounding victory.
In the men’s swim, Mattia Ceccarelli’s intentions were at least immediately clear: to create a gap over the rest of the field. And even if this gap did not widen too much, the Italian still managed to take a small lead over his first pursuers. When he landed after 23:09 minutes, he was 16 seconds ahead of Ognjen Stjoanovic, followed by a few seconds by Patrick Lange and Nils Frommhold. Another favorite, Magnus Ditlev, was 50 seconds behind them.
By bike, Lange and Frommhold quickly climbed up to Ceccarelli, but from behind it was above all Ditlev who sowed panic in front and had already passed everyone after 15 kilometers and had thus filled his swimming deficit. After 30 kilometers, he had even increased his lead and already had a gap of 1:12 minute on his three pursuers.
This clearly gave Ditlev wings, because in the following kilometers he only managed to roll further. After sixty kilometers, when two of the three bike laps were completed, the Dane was three minutes ahead of the same three pursuers. Behind these three athletes, Ruedi Wild and Strahinja Trakic won with a gap of 5:16 minutes.
In the last part of the bike stage, Ditlev continued to increase his lead and when he returned to the exchange zone after 2:06:00 he was still 4:33 ahead of Ceccarelli, Lange and Frommhold . At the start of the race, the Dane thus had a comfortable lead and it was obvious that these four men were going to compete for the medals.
Still, it became clear pretty quickly that there really was only one man in the race for gold, as Ditlev proved to be inimitable in the race as well. Halfway through the half marathon, his lead over Lange, who was second at the time, had already grown to no less than 7:27 minutes. After ten kilometers, it is Lange who, amazed, shouts: “How is that possible?”
There was an answer to that: Ditlev’s strong legs. The Dane pushed to the end and his victory was no longer in danger. After 3:41:29 he therefore crossed the line as the winner of CHALLENGEBUDVA-MONTENEGRO. Lange ultimately won the silver medal in 3:48:21. Wild, who passed Frommhold in the final kilometers, was third in 3:50:43.
Lucy Hall unstoppable
On the women’s side, it was Lucy Hall who, as expected, recorded the fastest swimming time and immediately took a good lead over the rest of the field. After 24:18 minutes she had completed her 1.9 kilometer swim and while she was already on her bike the next ladies only got out of the water. Emma Bilham followed with a gap of almost three minutes, directly followed by Margie Santimaria. One of the other favorites, Els Visser, came in fourth towards T1 and was then almost five minutes behind.
Cycling, Hall had a more difficult time at first, as she saw all the ladies come closer in the first thirty kilometers. The British top athlete was still in the lead, but Bilham was close to a 1:26 minute gap, with Visser in particular starting to move forward. After 30 kilometers, the Dutchwoman faced a gap of 3 minutes 20, considerably less than after the swim.
However, this situation changed in the thirty kilometers that followed. Not quite anyway, because while Visser started to lose time again and arrived at two-thirds of the cycling stage with a gap of 4:05 minutes – still third in position – it was Bilham who came closer. again from Hall. With her gap reduced to 1:17, she had perfect momentum at this point in the race. This situation remained almost unchanged in the final stages of the cycling stage; Hall started his half-marathon with a lead of 1:20 minutes over Bilham and 4:57 minutes ahead of Visser.
During the half marathon, Hall did exactly what she needed to do: make sure her lead was maintained and that she would not be compromised again. In terms of jet lag, not much changed and Hall took the win after 4:17:09. Bilham was second at just 2:14 minutes and Visser third with a gap of 4:32 minutes.