Frederic Funk and Simone Kumhofer claimed pro victories at the 2022 running of Challenge Walchsee on Sunday.
Kumhofer ensured a home victory in the women’s pro race, finishing just over a minute ahead of Dutch star Lotte Wilms.
Funk meanwhile held off the fast-finishing Sam Long to win the men’s race by more than two minutes.
The swim, as ever, left Long with work to do as he came out of the water more than three minutes behind leader Sven Thalmann of Switzerland. More importantly he was also well behind the dangerous German pair of Funk (1:42) and Florian Angert (+2:40).
The second leg was the decisive period in the race as Funk – in the post-race words of Long himself – “absolutely ripped that bike” to take almost another three minutes out of the American star.
Any illusions Long might have had of storming back to take the win were then extinguished in T2 as he picked up a one-minute dismount penalty.
‘The Big Unit’ did make some inroads on the run, posting the fastest split of the day (1:12:45) but it was not nearly enough to claim the win as Funk prevailed by a little over two minutes.
There was a notable story in the race for the final spot on the podium too as 19-year-old Greek Bitados Panagiotis came through to claim third in his first pro race over the middle distance. One for the future!
Pro Women – Special win for Kumhofer
Kumhofer was well of the pace after the opening swim – exiting the water in Austria more than five-and-a-half minutes behind Wilms.
The Austrian though would put her rivals to the sword with a blistering 2:13:48 bike split which saw her completely turn the race around.
Simone entered T2 with an advantage of more than three minutes over Wilms and while the Dutch star did close she could bring it down to less than a minute. It was the biggest win of Kumhofer’s career and on home soil too – no wonder there were tears of joy.
American Amy Cymerman produced the fastest run split of the day – a 1:25:22 to come through and claim the final spot on the podium.
Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee 2022 results
Sunday 26 June, 2022 – 1.9km / 90km / 21.1km
1. Frederic Funk (GER) – 3:36:01.2. Sam Long (USA) – 3:38:07.3. Bitados Panagiotis (GRE) – 3:42:20.4. Barnaby Gregory (ITA) – 3:43:24.5. Florian Angert (GER) – 3:43:48.
1. Simone Kumhofer (AUT) – 4:17:112. Lotte Wilms (NED) – 4:18:173. Amy Cymerman (USA) – 4:21:304. Sarah Schönfelder (GER) – 4:24:415. Lara Gruden (USA) – 4:36:47
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