Two-time Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee won by a decisive margin and two-time ITU Duathlon World Champion Emma Pallant left behind race favorite Daniela Ryf and eked out a 6 seconds margin of victory over Lucy Charles at the middle distance Challenge Mogán Gran Canaria.
After an off-form performance at the multi-day sprint distance Super League Triathlon last month, two-time ITU World champion Alistair Brownlee found his stride with a dominating win in his first try at longer distance triathlon.
Arriving in good health – in sharp contrast to his illness-plagued outing at Hamilton Island - Brownlee finished within 4 seconds of swim leader Davide Giardini and just ahead of an eight-man pack.
In his first outing on his new Scott Plasma after a long stint with Boardman bikes, Brownlee took the race by the throat, finishing the highly technical 56-mile bike leg with a 5:19 lead on nearest pursuer Pieter Heemeryck of Belgium, 9:49 on Manuel Küng of Switzerland and 9:56 on Mark Buckingham of Great Britain.
Brownlee then calmly increased his lead with race-best 1:11:16 half marathon split that was 2:31 better than Buckingham and 2:55 better than Heemeryck.
While the Challenge Gran Canaria men’s field was not in Brownlee’s class, the results showed that the two-time ITU World Champion was comfortable in the non-drafting format - indeed his bike power often wore down ITU fields with his unrelenting pace and now he will not be towing lesser riders. Thus he appears to be a formidable force in his quest to take the Ironman 70.3 crown in September. And he will challenge Sebastian Kienle for the title of fastest Scott rider in the middle distance events.
Brownlee finished in 4:03:09 with an 8:14 margin of victory over Heemeryck and 12:27 on 3rd-place Buckingham. Brownlee stripped 10 minutes 15 seconds off the men’s course record and was pleased with his long course debut.
“This is my first attempt at a middle distance race and there is a lot to learn,” Brownlee told Challenge media. “I chose Gloria Challenge Mogán Gran Canaria as my first middle-distance race because I really like what Challenge Family is about and considering we are coming into the summer race season the timing is perfect."
After domination of the biggest races in the Ironman and 70.3 distance races the past two years, Daniela Ryf arrived at Gran Canaria as the favorite but met far stiffer resistance than Brownlee faced.
After a second place swim (in such swift times that the course was likely shorter than standard) to Lucy Charles, Ryf charged the bike to a 1:16 lead on Charles and 4:44 on Emma Pallant at T2. Whereupon Pallant used her Duathlon World Championship foot speed to pass Charles and Ryf and finish in 4:35:15 with a nail-biting close 6 seconds margin of victory over Charles and 3:20 on 3rd-place finisher Ryf.
Pallant broke the women’s course record by 7 minutes 15 seconds.
Gloria Challenge Mogán Gran Canaria
Mogán, Gran Canaria, Spain
April 22, 2017
S 1.2 mi/. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Alistair Brownlee (GBR) 4:03:09
2. Pieter Heemeryck (BEL) 4:11:23
3. Mark Buckingham (GBR) 4:15:36
4. Julian Mutterer (GER) 4:18:26
5. Manuel Küng (SUI) 4:19:30
1. Emma Pallant (GBR) 4:35:15
2. Lucy Charles (GBR) 4:35:21
3. Daniela Ryf (SUI) 4:38:35
4. Lucy Gossage (GBR) 4:47:54
5. Judith Corachan Vaquera (ESP) 4:50:46
7. Natascha Badmann (SUI) 4:56:39
8. Corinne Abraham (GBR) 5:09:14