Vicente Hernández of Spain and Heather Wurtele of Canada took top honors at the half distance Challenge Forte Village Sardinia.
Hernández combined a second-best swim, second-fastest bike split and the by-far quickest run to finish in 3:57:15 with a 3:53 margin of victory over Bart Aernouts of Belgium and 4 minutes over 3rd place finisher Rodolphe Von Berg of the U.S.
Heather Wurtele combined a women’s second-best swim, third-fastest bike split and best run to finish in 4:27:46 with a 50 seconds margin of victory over Laura Siddall of Great Britain and 9:38 over 3rd place Marta Bernardi of Italy.
Hernández and Wurtele took home 3,500 Euros for their victories.
Inaki Baldellou of Spain led the swim in 22:49, which gave him a 32 seconds lead on Hernández, 34 seconds on Ryan Fisher of Australia, 41 seconds on Giulio Molinari of Italy, 51 seconds on Jonathan Ciavattella of Italy, 56 seconds on Von Berg, 1:03 on Mathias Petersen Lyngs of Denmark, and 1:04 on Daniil Sapunov of Ukraine. Top cyclist-runner Bart Aernouts of Belgium began his day 4:17 off the leader.
After a second-fastest 2:19:38 bike split, World Triathlon Series star Hernández arrived at T2 with a 22 seconds lead on Molinari (2:19:48 bike split) and 23 seconds on Aernouts, who made up gobs of ground with a race-best 2:16:13 bike split. Fisher arrived 4th, 2:39 off the lead, Trevor Wurtele came 5th, 3:01 arrears, and Von Berg was 6th, 3:09 off the pace.
Hernandez, who competes equally with countryman and two-time WTS World Champion Mario Mola on the run, jetted away from all challengers with a sizzling 1:08:30 half marathon that was 4:14 faster than the next-best effort of Alessandro Degasperi of Italy. Aernouts took charge of the runner-up slot with a 7th-fastest 1:15:07 run that brought him home 3:53 behind the winner. Van Berg’s 5th-best 1:14:44 run split brought to him 3rd place, 4 minutes behind Hernández and 7 seconds behind Aernouts.
Degasperi, a victim of his 25:36 swim and 2:26:15 bike split, could only advance to 11th place after his race-best run.
As things turned out, you could say that Wurtele won it on the swim as her women’s-best 27:51 split – 1 second better than Judith Corachan Vaquera of Spain – gave her a 42 seconds lead on her eventual strongest challenger Siddall.
After her women’s-best 2:34:14 bike split, Siddall arrived at T2 just one second behind Wurtele, who clocked a women’s second-fastest 2:34:55 bike split. By then the duo were in a league of their own, 2:18 ahead of Simone Kumhofer of Austria, 5:36 ahead of eventual 3rd place finisher Marta Bernardi of Italy, and 7:34 ahead of Yvonne Van Vlerken of Netherlands.
As it came down to the race of truth – the run – Wurtele’s women’s-fastest 1:22:22 split won the day as the Canadian finished 50 seconds ahead of the Brit and 9:38 ahead of 3rd place finisher Marta Bernardi of Italy.
Van Vlerken ran 1:25:38 to finish 4th, 11:17 behind Wurtele. Judith Corachan Vaquera ran 1:23:46 to finish 5th, 3:05 behind Van Vlerken.
A death in the swim
Sadly, a 54-year-old Dutch amateur suffered cardiac arrest during the swim and was transported to the beach by water bike. According to local police, rescuers tried to resuscitate the man with a defibrillator but those efforts failed.
Challenge Forte Village Sardinia
Santa Margherita di Pula, Sardinia, Italy
October 29, 2017
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Vicente Hernández (ESP) 3:57:15 – 3,500€
2. Bart Aernouts (BEL) 4:01:08 – 2,100€
3. Rodolphe Von Berg (USA) 4:01:15 – 1,400€
4. Giulio Molinari (ITA) 4:01:47 - 1,150€
5. Trevor Wurtele (CAN) 4:02:04 - 850€
6. Ryan Fisher (AUS) 4:03:33 – 500€
7. Arnaud Guilloux (FRA) 4:03:38
8. Mathias Petersen Lyngs (DEN) 4:05:36
9. Tim Meyer (GER) 4:06:28
10. Per Bittner (GER) 4:07:15
1. Heather Wurtele (CAN) 4:27:46 – 3,500€
2. Laura Siddall (GBR) 4:28:36 – 2,100€
3. Marta Bernardi (ITA) 4:37:24 – 1,400€
4. Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED) 4:39:03 – 1,150€
5. Judith Corachan Vaquera (ESP) 4:42:08 - 850€
6. Tine Deckers (BEL) 4:42:32 - 500€
7. Katrien Verstuyft (BEL) 4:43:43
8. Simone Kumhofer (AUT) 4:44:37
9. Simona Krivankova (CZE) 4:45:14
10. Gabriella Zelinka (HUN) 4:48:20