Jan Frodeno, Nicola Spirig win Challenge Gran Canaria

A pair of former Olympic Triathlon gold medalists took top honors at the half distance Challenge Mogan Gran Canaria Saturday.

The 2008 Olympic gold medalist and three-time Ironman World Champion Jan Frodeno of Germany won the men’s crown by 69 seconds and Nicola Spirig, the 2012 Olympic champion, won the women’s title by a comfortable margin at Gran Canaria.

After a tight battle among five triathletes in the swim and bike legs, Frodeno streaked ahead on the half marathon to finish in 3:41:21 with 1:09 margin over home country favorite Pablo Dapena Gonzalez and 1:21 over the Frodeno’s training partner and third place finisher Nick Kastelein of Australia.

Nicola Spirig and Sarissa De Vries began their day 10 seconds after the 24:55 split of women’s swim leader Sara Perez Sala of Spain. After a long transition, Spirig led the way into T1 by 2 seconds over Perez Sala, 17 seconds over De Vries, 58 seconds after Lisa Norden of Sweden, 1:18 over Anna Best Pohl, and 2:19 over Judith Corachan. By the end of the bike leg, Spirig opened a 2 minutes lead on De Vries and Norden. Steadily increasing her lead throughout the run, Spirig crossed the line in 4:05:52 with a 5:25 margin over De Vries and 5:49 over third place finisher Norden.

Men’s race

Andreas Salvisberg of Switzerland led the men’s swim in 21:43, followed by Sam Laidlow of France, Frodeno, Kastelein, Pieter Heemeryck of Belgium, and Dapena Gonzalez. Pre-race favorites Patrick Lange of Germany (+46 seconds) and Frederic Funk (+1:06) lagged further behind.

Starting the hilly bike leg, Frodeno, Heemeryck and Laidlow broke away, but by 12 kilometers were caught by Giulio Molinari and Dapena Gonzalez. Soon thereafter Mattia Ceccarelli of Italy joined the lead pack while Laidlow crashed and lost touch. In the final kilometers Germans Andi Boecherer and Nils Frommhold charged into the leading slipstream so seven men started the run in a pack of seven.

After 4k of the run, Frodeno broke into a one-minute lead on Gonzalez Dapena, followe3d by Boecherer (+1:14), followed closely by Molinari, Lange, Kastelein, and Heemeryck. Shortly thereafter, Lange and Kastelein broke away from the slower chasers, advancing on Gonzalez Dapena.

With 8 kilometers to go, Lange passed Dapena Gonzalez and Kastelein and chipped away at Frodeno’s lead. Approaching the finish, Lange fell back while Dapena Gonzalez and Kastelein advanced. Frodeno finished in 3:41:21 with a 1:09 margin on Dapena Gonzalez and 1:21 on third place finisher Kastelein.

Women’s race recap

As she did in Challenge Miami, Sara Perez Sala of Spain led the 1.2-mile swim in 24:55, followed 10 seconds later by Spirig and Sarissa De Vries of Netherlands.

At the start of the challenging hilly two-loop bike course, Spirig charged ahead of De Vries and Perez Sala. Shortly thereafter, Lisa Norden used her climbing skill to advance to second place in a duel with De Vries while Perez Sala fell back to 4th.

With 7 miles to go, Spirig increased her lead to 90 seconds over De Vries and Norden.

De Vries and Norden dueled fiercely with one another until the final kilometers when De Vries pulled away from her Swedish rival to silver by 24 seconds. From the start of the run to her finish in 4:05:52, Spirig steadily increased her lead to 5:25 over De Vries and 5:51 over third place finisher Norden.

Race splits not available

Anfi Challenge Mogan Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria, Spain
April 24, 2021
S 1.2 mi. / N 56 mi. / R 123.1 mi.

Pro Men

1. Jan Frodeno (GER) 3:41:21
2. Pablo Dapena Gonzalez (ESP) 3:42:30
3. Nick Kastelein (AUS) 3:42:42
4. Patrick Lange (GER) 3:43:05
5. Andi Boecherer (GER) 3:45:36
6. Alberto Moreno Molins (ESP) 3:46:57
7. Andrea Salvisberg (SUI) 3:47:33
8. James Teagle (GBR) 3:48:23
9. Nils Frommhold (GER) 3:48:30
10. Giulio Molinari (ITA) 3:48:33


1. Nicola Spirig (SUI) 4:05:52
2. Sarissa De Vries (NED) 4:11:17
3. Lisa Norden (SWE) 4:11:41
4. Katrina Matthews (GBR) 4:14:06
5. Judith Corachan (ESP) 4:20
6. Sara Perez Sala (ESP) 4:23:52 S 24:55 T1
7. Anna-Lena Best-Pohl (GER) 4:24:33
8. Alexandra Tondeur (BEL) 4:25:42
9. Maja Stage Nielsen (DEN) 4:25:58
10. Diede Diederiks (NED) 4:27:28