Preview 34th Powerman Zofingen

Gathering of the last world champions

This year’s World Triathlon Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships promise to be very exciting. In the men’s category, all three world champions of the last three events are expected to start on 3 September. Last year’s winner Matthieu Bourgeois from France will be challenged by Belgian and two-time Powerman title holder Seppe Odeyn and Swiss Jens-Michael Gossauer, among others. In the women’s race, too, a top-class field of participants is fighting for the Duathlon World Champion title over the long distance. Germany’s Merle Brunnée wants to get back on top of the podium after finishing 3rd last year. Belgian Lotte Claes has already sniffed at the World Cup trophy with last year’s 2nd place. Due to an injury that has not yet been fully cured, it is not clear until shortly before the race weekend whether the Swiss defending champion Melanie Maurer will start.

 The 10 km run, 150 km bike ride and another 30 km run in and around Zofingen mean the toughest but also most beautiful duathlon in the world. After 1997, 1998, 1999, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022, to hold the World Championships at the same venue for the 15th time, nota bene, the 12th time in a row, is unique for the sport of triathlon and duathlon.

Although many familiar faces will be at the 34th Powerman Zofingen, the race will be a completely new experience for everyone. The course concept is new this year. Of course, the first running course and also the second one after cycling will lead over Zofingen’s local mountain Heitern. The courses are slightly longer and have less altitude difference. On the first run course there is a total of 54 metres less altitude difference and on the second run course 145 metres less altitude difference. In addition, there is the new location of the transition area on the Schützenwiese and the finish directly in front of the Kunsthaus. According to OC President Stefan Ruf, this will make the Powerman even more attractive for both participants and spectators. How these changes will affect the course of the race is one of the great unknowns before this year’s competition.

Odeyn wants to get back on the podium

However, it is already certain that several title contenders will be in Zofingen. Seppe Odeyn is aiming for another medal after his World Championship titles in 2016 and 2021. The Belgian is currently in 2nd place in the duathlon world rankings and wants to get back on the podium after finishing 4th last year, if possible on the top step of the podium. “At the beginning of the year I had a bit of trouble because of an injury. At the Ironman in Lanzarote I finished twelfth and at the Ironman Switzerland I came in 22nd,” the 36-year-old says. “I expect a faster race because of the course change with less altitude metres, but the Powerman Zofingen remains a special and brutal race where only the best can win on that day,” says Odeyn. Between now and race day, he has cycling races and lots of training on similar terrain to Zofingen on his agenda.

Bourgeois is in form

The Belgian will of course have competition in the fight for the World Championship title from the defending champion Matthieu Bourgeois. The 28-year-old Frenchman described his victory in Zofingen last year as the highlight of his career. No wonder the current leader of the duathlon world rankings is willing to defend his World Championship title. “Because of its reputation and great organisation, the Powerman Zofingen is an important race in my competition calendar,” says Bourgeois. “Defending the title will be difficult this year when I look at the list of participants.” In terms of form, however, the Frenchman seems to be on course. “I have the impression that I am stronger than last year. This season and also the training have been going well so far. I became French champion over the duathlon long distance.”

On the change of course, Bourgeois is pleased. “It should be an advantage for me because I am not the very fastest when it comes to uphill. If my form is right, I want to run very fast on the first run leg,” says the defending champion with a twinkle in his eye.

Gossauer, the Swiss trump card

A Swiss also wants to have a say in the World Championship title. We are talking about two-time duathlon runner-up Jens-Michael Gossauer. After the retirement of last year’s third-placed Michael Ott, Swiss hopes rest on the native of Davos, who finished second in Zofingen in 2019 and 2021. Last year he bit his way through the race and ended up in 6th place. Gossauer also needed a lot of staying power in the current season. “It has been a tough one so far. At the beginning of the year, a bike crash caused back problems until spring, and in the months of May and June this year I had intense allergy problems due to the heavy pollen load. So in the first half of the year I couldn’t train as I would have liked.” Since July, however, things have been looking much better in terms of preparation for the Powerman: “I was in Davos for the whole of July, where I spent a lot of time on the trails on foot and on my mountain bike. I’m confident that my form will be at its peak at the Powerman.” The 30-year-old takes a critical view of the course change: “I think it’s a shame that the course has fewer metres in altitude. So the Powerman runs the risk of losing part of its identity. For me as an athlete, the new course is probably a little less convenient.” Nevertheless, Gossauer is convinced that the course remains challenging and demands everything from the athletes.

It remains to be seen whether Diego van Looy will be able to compete at the front of the field. The 2019 world champion has had a difficult few years. In August 2021, the Belgian was run over by a truck during a training ride on his bike in Mallorca. As the 32-year-old writes on his homepage, he looked death in the eye. Despite several fractures, van Looy managed to make a comeback and now wants to compete in the race in Zofingen for the first time since his accident. On his way back to the top of the duathlon world, however, van Looy has had to accept setbacks. At the end of July, for example, he had to give up the Alpe d’Huez Triathlon.

Brunée wants second title

In the women’s race, the winner of 2021 and last year’s third-place finisher, Merle Brunnée, is the top favourite. The 28-year-old German will start with a lot of self-confidence. “The season has been full of highlights so far. With best times in the half marathon and the 10 km run, a German runner-up title in the middle distance duathlon and my first successful road bike races, I am optimistic that I can also perform well in Zofingen,” Brunnée sums up her successful season so far. When asked about the new course, the doctor at the University Hospital in Heidelberg says: “In the race, the muscles will probably be happy about fewer metres of altitude – even though the steep climbs have suited me well in the past.” The German is looking forward to the intense and well-organised race in Zofingen and is putting the finishing touches to it in a training camp in Engadin.

Maurer’s participation uncertain

Whether defending champion Melanie Maurer will be able to compete this year and challenge Merle Brunnée, is still unclear. The native of Wikon has been suffering from an injury for some time. “Due to my foot injury, which is still not completely healed, my participation in the Powerman Zofingen remains uncertain. I will only decide shortly before the race weekend whether I will start over the short or long distance,” explains the 35-year-old reigning long-distance duathlon world champion.

The reigning runner-up in the world championships, Lotte Claes, wants to start in Zofingen. The Belgian raced the women’s Vuelta in Spain this summer and came in fourth. She also finished third in the duathlon on the French Alpe d’Huez. The 30-year-old’s form curve with regard to Zofingen seems to be right. No matter how you turn it around: The absolute top of the duathlon world will be represented in Zofingen this year as well.

Register now!

The best way to register for the 34th Powerman Zofingen is via the homepage: REGISTER HERE. Apart from the world championship categories, you can register for each race online until 1 September and then on site until one hour before the start. This applies to all events of the “Powerman Experience Day” on Saturday, 2 September as well as to the Short Distance and the Long Distance Open categories on Sunday, 3 September 2023.

Text: Christof Gerber and Raphael Galliker


Photo right: Melanie Maurer from Wikon will only decide shortly before the Powerman Sunday on 3 September whether she will defend her World Championship title.
Photo left: Frenchman Matthieu Bourgeois knows that defending his title will be anything but easy.
Photos: Manuel/Toni Geisser

 Livestream and TV broadcast

On Sunday, 3 September 2023, the Duathlon Long Distance World Championships will be offered as a livestream in German and English on various channels. The easiest access is provided by the Powerman Zofingen homepage: The experts Natascha Badmann, Paul Groves, Michael Ott, Marc Widmer and Raphael Galliker will be commentating for eight hours starting at 7.55 am. In addition, there will be a two-hour live TV broadcast on Tele M1 and TV24 from 2 p.m. during the decisive final phase. On TV in the studio of NEP Switzerland AG in Volketswil, Raphael Galliker, member of the management board of the Powerman Zofingen, will commentate. Co-commentators are Michael Ott (World Championship bronze medallist in 2022) and Marc Widmer, Duathlon Director at the Swiss Triathlon Federation.

More info at