34. Powerman Zofingen: 2023 ITU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships
Danish premiere and German revenge – Jörn and Brunnée win world championship gold
Denmark’s Simon Jörn Hansen and Germany’s Merle Brunnée triumph at the Powerman Zofingen 2023 and secure the duathlon world championship title over the long distance. This year’s race took place in the best weather and a different course with fewer metres in altitude. Last year’s winner and native of Wikon, Melanie Maurer, took the World Championship silver medal this time. In the men’s race, defending champion Matthieu Bourgeois from France and Jens-Michael Gossauer from Switzerland gave up the race.
“It’s a dream come true. I can’t believe it yet,” declares world champion Simon Jörn Hausen shortly after he crossed the finish line first in Zofingen. For the 32-year-old Dane it is the premiere victory, after a fifth place two years ago. The triumph was hard-earned. On the bike course, four athletes were close for a long time. Besides Jörn Hansen, the German Fabian Holbach, the Frenchman Émile Blondel-Hermant and the Slovakian Ondrej Kubo showed that they were to be reckoned with today. But that the victory would go through Simon Jörn Hansen was shown by the mere fact that the Dane, as leader on the bike, lost his visor and turned around to get it. A short time later, Jörn Hansen took the lead again. The final decision was made on the run course, where the Dane clearly had the most energy reserves and was able to pull away from Blondel-Hermant and Holbach. “I tried to manage my energy well,” Jörn Hansen reveals. Finally, he reached the finish line in a new record time of less than six hours. In addition to the good race conditions, the new course with fewer metres of altitude certainly made this dream time possible. Frenchman Émile Blondel-Hermant came in second. The German Fabian Holbach made it to the podium in third place after his second place last year. Slovakia’s Ondrej Kubo was fourth and the Powerman winner of 2021 Seppe Odeyn from Belgium had to settle for fifth place. The best Swiss was Fabian Zehnder in eleventh place
Thrilling duel in the women’s race
The women’s race was marked by the thrilling duel between the winners of the last two years, Merle Brunnée and Melanie Maurer. Brunnée took the lead after changing to the bike. During the entire 150-kilometre bike course, Melanie Maurer, who was born in Wikon, stayed on the heels of the German, only a few seconds behind. The two athletes tackled the final run together. On the run, Brunnée was able to distance herself from her Swiss opponent. For the 30-year-old German it is the second World Championship gold in Zofingen after 2021. “I don’t know what to say. I have trained so hard in the last weeks and months, that it now pays off with the World Championship title is unbelievable,” says an overjoyed Merle Brunée and says about the exciting race: “It was a neck-and-neck race with Melanie Maurer and even very exciting for myself. That’s why I’m overwhelmed with how it turned out.” So the German could take revenge after her third place last year. For second-placed Melanie Maurer, the race felt harder compared to last year: “Almost seven hours of a really hard and exciting race with great support from the crowd. It was mega nice.” Even though it looked like she was intentionally staying in lurking position on the bike course, this was not the case. “Ninety per cent was suffering and 10 per cent was tactical. I didn’t have enough power to overtake Merle Brunnée,” explained Melanie Maurer, who was satisfied with her World Championship silver medal. Belgian Lotte Claes came third, so it was the same three women on the podium as last year – just in a different order.
Favourites with racing problems
The race did not go according to plan at all for the defending champion Matthieu Bourgeois. The Frenchman started the bike course in second place and then continuously lost time to the leaders. Finally, Bourgeois gave up the race on the second bike lap. Swiss hope Jens-Michael Gossauer also had to abandon the race during the bike lap. “I had to go out because of a strain I have had since the beginning of the week. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out any more,” the 30-year-old from Graubünden said disappointedly. Gossauer won World Championship silver in 2021 and 2019 over the long distance. Due to stomach problems, Switzerland’s top athlete Petra Eggenschwiler had to withdraw at short notice. “When the alarm clock rang in the morning, I had a bad stomach. So it was quickly clear that I would go back to bed instead of competing in Zofingen,” says the 2018 Powerman winner.
German and Swiss win the short distance race
In the race over the short distance (10 km running / 50 km cycling / 5 km running), the German Julian Zenke took a start-finish victory and relegated the two Swiss Valentin Gutknecht and Marc Widmer to second and third place with a clear lead of about 10 minutes. In the women’s race, Switzerland’s Olivia Keiser secured victory ahead of Poland’s Kinga Bazan and Switzerland’s Cindy Pennaforte.
Beautiful weather and many participants
The 34th Powerman Zofingen took place in beautiful weather and temperatures of up to 27 degrees. OC President Stefan Ruf was satisfied with this year’s edition: “The new location of the start-finish area on the Schützenwiese and the new routing on Zofingen’s local mountain Heitern were well received by the participants and the spectators.” There were gripping duels in the women’s and men’s World Cup races. So it seems that the change of course with fewer metres of altitude will lead to even more excitement. With around 800 athletes, there were more participants at the start of the Powerman race weekend than last year.
Powerman Experience Day
There was already a great atmosphere on Saturday at the Experience Day to kick off the 34th Powerman Zofingen. 250 participants had fun at the PowerKids, the Aargauer Schüler-Duathlon, the Swiss Championship Youth and Juniors or at the Powerman Charity (run, bike tours and hike). On the Powerman Experience Day, spectators and participants were able to get a first positive impression of the new Powerman Arena. For the first time, the start and finish were no longer at the Stadthalle and the Gemeindeschulhaus, but on General-Guisan-Strasse and the Schützenwiese. The response was mostly positive. The spectators emphasised that the new arena was more familiar, the Expo exhibitors had more customers than before because of the central location, and the athletes immediately found their way around the new area.
Text: Christof Gerber
34. Powerman Zofingen 2023 ITU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships
(10 km Laufen / 150 km Velofahren / 30 km Laufen)
Results long distance
1. Simon Jörn Hansen (DEN) 5:55.39, 2. Émile Blondel-Hermant (FRA) 6:02.49, 3. Fabian Holbach (GER) 6:03.51, 4. Ondrej Kubo (SVK) 6:08.36, 5. Seppe Odeyn (BEL) 6:12.15, 6. Daan de Groot (NED) 6:16.46, 7. Sander Heemeryck (BEL) 6:18.46, 8. Bernd van Snick (BEL) 6:19.29, 9. Maxime Bargetto (FRA) 6:20.40, 10. Wout Driever (NED) 6:24.54, 11. Fabian Zehnder (SUI) 6:31.56
Aufgegeben: Matthieu Bourgeois (FRA), Jens-Michael Gossauer (SUI)
1. Merle Brunnée (GER) 6:45.03, 2. Melanie Maurer (SUI) 6:48.34, 3. Lotte Claes (BEL) 6:53.47, 4. Maja Betz (GER) 7:00.11, 5. Ai Ueda (JPN) 7:09.19, 6. Nelly Rassmann (GER) 7:14.07, 7. Antonina Reznikov (ISR) 7:20.52, 8. Sarah Noemi Frieden (SUI) 7:35.27, 9. Debbie Sanders (BEL) 7:56.20, 10. Ramona Rieder (SUI) 7:56.20
Results short distance (10 km Laufen / 50 km Velofahren / 5 km Laufen)
1. Julian Zenke (GER) 2:11.31, 2. Valentin Gutknecht (SUI) 2:21.31, 3. Marc Widmer (SUI) 2:24.57
1. Olivia Keiser (SUI) 2:33.36, 2. Kinga Bazan (POL) 2:34.31, 3. Cindy Pennaforte (SUI) 2:35.06
More results : https://www.datasport.com/de/
Captions: Siegerin Merle Brunnée, Sieger Simon Jörn Hansen, Podium WM-Rennen Männer, Podium WM-Rennen Frauen, Jörn Hansen auf dem Velo, Melanie Maurer auf dem Velo und Elite-Frauen auf der Laufstrecke (Fotos von Manuel Geisser)
Powerman Zofingen on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PowermanZofingen
Bilder on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/powerman-zofingen/
The next Powerman Zofingen will take place on 7/8 September 2024.