Swiss Melanie Maurer won the long-distance World Duathlon Championship in Zofingen. The local hero, who grew up in the region, stood on the top of the podium for the first time on Sunday. A dream of hers has thus come true. In the elite men’s race, Frenchman Matthieu Bourgeois took the world title. Germany’s Fabian Holbach finished second, and Switzerland’s Michael Ott was third.
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She finally did it: Melanie Maurer took the gold medal in the long distance (10 km running, 150 km cycling, 30 km running) at the Duathlon World Championships, which took place for the 14th time on September 4, 2022 in Zofingen (Canton Aargau, Switzerland). With this, the Swiss crowned an optimally run season. In spring, Maurer was already the winner in Denmark in the middle distance world championship. Maurer in a statement after the race: “I always thought: If I get the world championship title in Zofingen, then I will stop. Now, after this great season, I don’t know if I should actually quit.” Last year, Maurer had to give up because of hypothermia.
This time the weather conditions at the Powerman Zofingen were optimal, it was mostly sunny: in the morning, at the start, the temperatures were 13 degrees, in the afternoon it was 26 degrees warm. About 400 athletes took part in the competitions on Sunday.
Last year’s winner finished third
Last year’s winner Merle Brunnée (DE) finished third, Denmark’s Lotte Claes second. Melanie Maurer and Lotte Claes led the field of participants on the run course, followed by Merle Brunnée (DE), Antonia Luchini (AT), Sarah Noemi Frieden (CH), Ann Schoot Uiterkmap (NL) and Katrin Esefeld (DE). The gaps were small at first. This changed in the course of the race. After about two hours Maurer and Claes were still in the lead. On the bike course Merle Brunnée (DE) followed with a gap of four minutes. In the meantime Brunnée lost her orientation on the bike course and lost valuable time. Sarah Noemi Frieden (CH) followed with ten minutes gap and Antonia Luchini (AT) with 12 minutes gap. Katrin Esefeld (DE) already fell back strongly: her gap to the top was 18 minutes. Nina Zoller, winner of the World Championships in 2019, had registered but did not start.
After 62 kilometers, Maurer and Claes continued to pull away and took turns at the front. Brunnée tried again to close the gap to the leaders. However, the leading group was going too fast. By the end of the race, the gap to the leaders had increased by ten minutes. On the last 30 km run course Maurer attacked and finally distanced her competitor Claes by 4 minutes. Sarah Noemi Frieden gave up in the course of the race.
Favorites among themselves
In the elite men’s race, the favorites seemed to live up to their role. Even after almost two hours the field was close together: Daan De Groot Daan (NL), Holbach Fabian (DE), Fabian Zehnder (CH), Michael Ott and Matthieu Bourgeois were separated by only a few minutes. The other duathletes in the top ten also continued to have a chance at a top place: Michael Pfanner (CH), Jens-Michael Gossauer (CH), Baptiste Domanico (FR), last year’s winner Seppe Odeyn (BE) and Richard Lustenberger (CH).
When the elite started the run course, Ott, Holbach, Bourgeois and Odeyin remained close. Bourgeois then turned up the heat and took the lead position on the challenging 30-kilometer run course. In the statement, Bourgeois said, “Becoming world champion is a great feeling. I used to dream about the maillot jaune of the Tour de France; however, the world championship title is also great.”
Short Distance: Swiss among themselves
That the short distance – 10 km run, 50 km bike, 5 km run – will be a Swiss affair was already clear before the start: the field of participants was limited to a majority of athletes from Switzerland. Last year’s winner, Anna Zehnder, finished second, a few seconds behind Desirée Knecht. However, such a close finish could have been avoided. Apparently, Zehnder was not properly briefed by a course marshal. The men’s race was won by Léon Koller from Switzerland.
The next Powerman Zofingen will take place on September 2/3, 2023.