Images from the 2018 Challenge Riccione

This weekend more than 700 athletes took part in the 2018 Challenge Riccione, and we now have beautiful images from this half distance event on the Adriatic coast in Italy - courtesy of José Luis Hourcade.

Course crowding seems to be not an issue here, and the view is fantastic. Even if you have no plans to race in this region, it certainly is well worth a visit.

Earlier that day the athletes lined up to go on a 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21.1km run adventure. There was also apparently a competition for the most serious game face.

Spectators look on as the first athletes exit the water and make their way towards T1 and the bikes.

Female pros led by eventual second place finisher Margie Santimaria fully focused on the task ahead.

Giulio Molinari quickly took charge of the men's race.

German Markus Hörmann with his head down and no one else in sight on the way to 8th place.

Yvonne Van Vlerken was considered the favorite and she full on delivered.

Margie Santimaria encounters another female pro on the beautiful Italian countryside.

German Frederic Funk battled hard and in the end was rewarded with the final podium spot.

Beautiful views no matter where the eye looks.

Domenico Passuello was in the thick of things on the bike but was no longer near the front at the end of the race.

German Julian Erhardt would eventually finish 25th.

The chasers bunched up on this climb, but Giulio Molinari was out of reach.

Markus Hörmann on the same climb, spotting one of the SH+ helmets that is rarely seen in North America.

Jaroslav Kovacic started the run in 3rd place but Frederic Funk was not far behind and eventually passed him.

Austrian Thomas Steger captured 2nd place.

Margie Santimaria had to settle for second place in the women's race.

Yvonne Van Vlerken captured the title in 4:37:18.

The happy men's podium.

And here are the top 3 women.