Croneberg, Eberhardt Win Inaugural Challenge Nakhon-Nayok
Asian-based pros Fredrik Croneberg (SWE) and Anna Eberhardt (HUN) won their respective elite categories in the inaugural Challenge Nakhon-Nayok. Croneberg finished with a time of 3:53:11, a 5 minute-42 second margin over Kiwi Mike Phillips. Anna Eberhardt won in 4:32:15, a 9 minute-12 second margin of victory over Julia Grant (NZL).
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Phillips and Croneberg swam together, with Phillips coming out of the water first in 26:09, a 1 second lead over Croneberg. The duo basically rode together, matching their pace throughout the 90km bike course. Phillips had the day’s best bike split at 2:08:40, and Croneberg would not budge, and was only a second slower on the bike. Unfortunately for race leader Phillips, he was stopped at T2 for a penalty (5 minutes).
With a headstart on the run course, Croneberg would register the day’s best run split at 1:16:00 and claim the first title in the inaugural event. Phillips was runner-up, finishing in 3:58:53. Aussie David Mainwaring was 3rd at 4:19:50.
Recently-turned pro Imogen Simmonds (CHE) led the swim in the women’s elite category, coming into T1 at 28:39, gaining a hude lead over Kiwi Julia Grant by 4 minutes and 17 seconds. The other two pros, Anna Eberhardt and Carole Fuchs (FRA) came out in 34:22 and 35:11 respectively. In a dominant display of bike power, Simmonds did not waste time padding on the lead, registering the women’s best 2:20:59 bike split, a split which was 5 minutes 49 seconds faster than any woman on the course. Simmonds was on her way to a wire-to-wire victory, already with a huge lead, but had to stop on the run near the 15km mark. Eberhardt later grabbed the lead, combining her 2nd best bike, and women’s best run split of 1:27:35. Grant followed her, finishing in 4:41:37. French Carole Fuchs completed podium for third.
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