October 2, 2011 - Spain’s Clemente Alonso has taken the title and a new course record at Challenge Barcelona this weekend in a race that saw him lead from the start of the swim. Australia’s Michelle Mitchell took out the women’s title after a long battle with Erika Csomor that ended in a decisive win for Mitchell
Exiting first from the water in 48 minutes, Alonso set a blistering pace on the bike which none of the chase group was able to match. By 90km, he was three minutes ahead of Stephen Bayliss (GBR) and Anton Blokhin (UKR) and by the time he exited T2 he had built a comfortable eight-minute lead.
However, he paid the price for pushing so hard on the bike and his marathon became a case of mind over matter as he steadily lost time to Per Bittner (GER) who had run up into second place. However, he managed to hold on to secure the best victory of his career and break the course record by 12 seconds.
“I have never suffered so much in a competition,” said Alonso. “Sometimes I thought I couldn’t win because Bittner ran too fast and I had a lot of pressure but I have got to keep the difference. The tactic in the bike segment was very brave and normally it’s a sport suicide but this it time got a big result. I am very proud and I want to enjoy this big victory in a fantastic competition”.
The women’s race could have been anybody’s in the swim and bike but it was Michelle Mitchell who proved the strongest runner on the day. Erika Csomor couldn’t respond to Mitchell’s attack in the last 10km that saw Mitchell cross the line in 9:15:00, 3:37 minutes ahead of Csomor.
"I am very proud to get this victory, it’s a great competition and Erika and Lucy were both here to win here", said Mitchell.
Challenge Barcelona is part of the Challenge Family series of long distance triathlons which features 13 races over three continents, including the world’s largest iron distance race, Challenge Roth.