Merle Brunnée and Seppe Odeyn claim the Zofingen LD Duathlon Worlds
Germany’s Merle Brunnée and Belgium’s Seppe Odeyn claimed victories at the 2021 World Triathlon Powerman Long Distance Duathlon Championships Zofingen, showing strong performances under extremely challenging conditions, rain and low temperatures. Jens-Michael Gossauerwon (SUI) & Matthieu Bourgeois completed the Men’s podium, while on the women’s side, it was Nikola Corbova (SVK) crossing the finish line in second place, while Sarah Noemi Frieden (SUI) took the bronze.
18 men lined up in the iconic town of the Swiss Alps to cover the 10km run, 150km bike and final 30km run, back on the calendar after the event had to be cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. The race went underway with the current title holder from Belgium, Diego van Looy, not able to start after he had a serious accident during training a few weeks ago. Due to illness, Frenchman Gaël Le Bellec, who had triumphed in 2014, 2015 and 2018, also had to withdraw at short notice. Thus, it was Seppe Odeyn, winner in 2016, and Russia’s Maxim Kuzmin, winner in 2017, who had all the eyes set on them.
Switzerland’s Jens-Michael Gossauer led the men’s race for the first segment of the run and most of the long bike course, ahead of Angelo Vandecasteele (BEL), Simon Jorn Hansen (DEN), Daan De Groot (NED), Seppe Odeyn (BEL), Matthieu Bourgeois (FRA), Michael Pfanner (SUI) and Yannick Cadalen (SUI).
With only the last run to go, it was Odeyn who took the lead to never leave that position, crossing the finish line in first place and claiming his second ever Zofingen victory, along with two silver medals in 2015 & 2017.
Odeyn tcrossed the finish line after 6 hours and 6 minutes and 41 seconds with a lead of over twelve minutes over Gossauer and Bourgeois. “I had not paid much attention to the weather forecasts. It was Belgian weather. Maybe that was an advantage for me,” said Odeyn. Jens-Michail Gossauer (SUI), claimed the bronze medal, while Daan De Groot (NED), Simon Jorn Hansen (DEN), Marco Corti (ITA) and Angelo Vandecasteele (BEL) followed on the line.
In the women’s event, reigning title holder Nina Zoller had to withdrawn halfway through the bike course, unable to continue due to hypothermia. Another local star, Daniela Schwarz (SUI) also gave up in the first half of the race. With only a few kilometers to go on the bike, Melanie Maurer (SUI) also ran out of energy and hat to abandon when she was leading the race, with over 12 minutes of difference with the chasers.
It was then when Merle Brunnée (GER) took the lead, followed by Sarah Noemi Frieden (SUI), Nikola Corbova (SVK) and Ann Schoot Uiterkamp (NED). When it all came to the final run, Merle Brunnée managed to extend her lead to finish the race to claim the World title, in her first duathlon ever. Corbova crossed the finish line 14 minutes later to claim silver, while Swiss Frieden finished in the third place.
Triple victories at short distances
The competitions over the short distance (10 - 50 - 5 km) were completely in Swiss hands. The men’s short distance was won by Valentin Gutknecht (SUI, Riehen). Second place was for Thomas Lecomte (SUI) and Jost Joller (SUI) was third. Anna Zehnder (SUI) won the women’s race. Silver went to Selina Ummel (SUI) and bronze for Irina Raschle (SUI).
About 700 sports enthusiasts took part in various competitions on the occasion of the World Triathlon Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships 18-19 Sep 2021. Saturday was entirely dedicated to popular sports with PowerKids (about 150 children) and CharityRun (100 participants), with athletes coming from 25 different nations.