Nicola Spirig and Frederic Funk Dominate European Middle Distance Triathlon Championships in Austria | Elite News
The pre-race headlines were all about an Olympic triathlon champion (Nicola Spirig), against an IRONMAN world champion (Anne Haug) in Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee Challenge, the race also serving as Europe Triathlon (formerly ETU) European Middle Distance Championships.
They finished first and second as planned, but Spirig was in full control for four hours. Well, less than four hours because it only took her 3:58:00 to complete the course.
On the men’s side, Frederic Funk (GER) continued his momentum, repeating his performance last month (also in Austria) at the Challenge St. Poelten.
Nicola Spirig at the helm from the start
For Spirig of course, his number one goal is the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, which will be his fifth start at the sport’s most sought-after event. Making sure his swim is on point is always a priority, so is his strength on the bike and the race, and all looks good there too. She came out of the swim with Spain’s Sara Perez Sala, and from that point on it was over, especially since she was already three minutes ahead of Haug with less than a half. -time of race finished.
As she did at the Challenge Gran Canaria (another win), Spirig was riding the Specialized Tarmac SL7 road bike that she will use in Tokyo rather than a specific TT bike, but that doesn’t make a difference. She looks great on it and also powered the fastest bike. Still three minutes faster than Haug and the German, even with her running skills, was never going to close more than six minutes on the London 2012 champion. She regained around 90 seconds, but it was ultimately about a Spirig masterclass and another European Championship to add to the six she already has on the Standard distance.
Already two Olympic medals, make no mistake, Nicola Spirig will be a threat next month at Odaiba Marine Park.
Funk up front all day
Still only 23 years old, Team ERDINGER Alkoholfrei Frederic Funk has been a regular on the TRI247 pages for several years, especially in Challenge Family racing. Twice second before at Walchsee, he would improve that on Sunday.
Fourth in the swim, he quickly found himself in the lead of the race and was riding with the Italian Giulio Molinari. The German quickly ditched the Italian on the stunning roads of the Kaiserwinkl region, but was eventually joined by his compatriot and former professional cyclist, Ruben Zepuntke. They started the race together with a big lead.
Their efforts on the bike were rewarded, but also necessary, because behind them Thomas Steger (AUT) flew running, his 1h08’35 ” was five minutes faster than the 1h13’38 ” of Funk. Regardless, Funk was still a clear winner.
The bronze medal was awarded on the final blue carpet, where Bart Aernouts, the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship silver medalist was finally able to catch up and overtake Zepuntke to complete the podium.
No real surprises, it’s the trio of athletes that I highlighted in my pre-race overview.
Results of the European medium distance triathlon championship in Europe
Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee, Sunday 27 June 2021
1.9 km / 90 km / 21.1 km
- Frédéric Funk (GER) – 3:36:56
- Thomas Steger (AUT) – 3:38:51
- Bart Aernouts (BEL) – 3:42:05
- Ruben Zepuntke (GERMANY) – 3:42:09
- Gregory Barnaby (ITA) – 3:43:38
- Giulio Molinari (ITA) – 3:44:57
- Lukas Kocar (CZE) – 3:46:02
- Julian Erhardt (GER) – 3:46:19
- Nicolas Mann (GER) – 3:46:26
- Alexey Kalistratov (RUS) – 3:46:57
- Nicola Spirig (SUI) – 3:58:00
- Anne Haug (GER) – 4:03:03
- Marta Bernardi (ITA) – 4:09:53
- Anne Reischmann (GER) – 4:12:01
- Sara Perez Sala (ESP) – 4:12:28
- Giorgia Priarone (ITA) – 4:13:19
- Lena Berlinger (GERMANY) – 4:14:19
- Laura Jansen (GERMANY) – 4:15:15
- Diede Diederiks (NED) – 4:18:52
- Simone Kunhofer (AUT) – 4:19:55