The second edition of KMD Challenge Aarhus saw an exciting sprint finish to the line to see Reto Hug (SUI) take the title while Camilla Pedersen (DEN) took her second Challenge win this year. Hug used his brilliant sprint speed from Olympic distance racing to take the 2012 title in an nail biting sprint finish against local hero Mads Vittrup-Pedersen who, despite a fantastic run effort, crossed the finish line two seconds slower. Mads Vittrup recorded the fastest bike (2:15:25) and run (1:12:27) splits of the day respectively but came short in the sprint after being shoulder to shoulder with the experienced Swiss athlete for the entire run. Last year’s winner, Rasmus Petraeus, came third around four minutes down. “The swim wasn’t too bad but I had some bike problems which meant I couldn’t use all my smaller gears. My chain came off twice so I hadn’t got an easy bike ride. I tried not to push it too hard the first 10 km on the run as I didn’t know Mads. I thought that I would have more speed than him coming from the shorter distance so I felt comfortable with running with him near the end. He tried to push hard in the last km and I felt comfortable and stayed with him. On the last 400 m I made a move because I knew I had a really good sprint,” Reto Hug said. Danish sprint champion Emil Dalgaard led the race after the swim and exited the water with Rasmus Petraeus in 23:47 but quickly opened up a gap on the defending champ out on the 90 km bike. Dalgaard kept putting heavy watts in the pedals and had a massive lead over his competition when the rain set in during the bike ride. The leader had a flat with 15 km to go and because his hands was so cold it took 8 minutes to change his tubular. The almost sure champion saw his title hopes vanish as the lead group came past him. In the women’s race there was only one lady out in front the entire day and Camilla Pedersen also came out as a glorious winner on the day. She had three minutes on the competition after the swim and pushed through on the bike to hold a seven minute lead out on the run. She could ease into a nice rhythm on the run and the win was never in danger. A fast moving Bella Bayliss (GBR) overtook Åsa Lundström (SWE) on the last 2km on the run to claim second while Lundström came third. “It was really great to get a win leading from start to finish as I did three weeks ago in Barcelona. I knew I should be able to get out of the water first and I had hoped that I could open up the gap on the bike and then control it on the run and that was what happened. I have had some good run performances these last few races but I was nervous about how I would on the run with this being my third half distance in three weeks. It was really great to compete on my home soil and I heard many cheering for me so that was a nice feeling,” Camilla Pedersen says.
Top-5 men 1) Reto Hug, Switzerland – 4:00:58 2) Mads Vittrup-Pedersen, Denmark – 4:01:00 3) Rasmus Petraeus, Denmark – 4:05:20 4) Dejan Petrcevic, Croatia – 4:05:33 5) Stephen Bayliss, Great Britain – 4:06:56
Top-5 women 1) Camilla Pedersen, Denmark – 4:31:33 2) Bella Bayliss, Great Britain – 4:38:21 3) Åsa Lundström, Sweden – 4:39:23 4) Linda Schücker, Germany – 4:44:52 5) Dana Wagner, Germany – 4:49:41