Gonzalez tops German duo in Gran Canaria, Van Vlerken dominates women's race

In the first "surprise" of the season Spain's Pablo Dapena Gonzalez beat Andreas Böcherer and Patrick Lange at Challenge Gran Canaria. Yvonne Van Vlerken was unstoppable on the bike and run to take the women's race.

| April 21, 2018 | NEWS

Photo >Fabian Eisenlauer

A small, but top-class field was on hand at Challenge Gran Canaria, where Spaniard Pablo Dapena Gonzalez won the race thanks to a strong half-marathon. He took a narrow victory over Andreas Böcherer, while defending Ironman world champion Patrick Lange took third in his season opener.
 
Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED) dominated the bike and run portion of the race to easily hold off the competition and add another Challenge title to her impressive resume.

Böcherer tries it alone

Dapena took second last weekend at Challenge Roma, but that race had some issues with organizational struggles and, after the race, a number of pros felt that other competitors were drafting. That was an issue again in Gran Canaria as the many observers of the race felt some of the elite athletes weren't following the draft rules, either.

But Andreas Böcherer knew how to avoid this problem by simply dominating the action from the front. Although Dapena Gonzalez swam about 20 seconds faster than the German, who led a group that included Patrick Lange into T1. 

On the bike Böcherer quickly caught up with the Spaniard and, after about 20 km, was able to get clear. By the 40-km mark Böcherer had a 50-second lead on Lange, Dapena, Sven Riederer (SUI) and Pieter Heemeryck (BEL). By the second transition, the lead was up to about two minutes on the chasing group which had become five thanks to the addition of Bart Aernouts (BEL).

However the lead was not enough as Dapena Gonzalez once again proved his running strength. He quickly broke away from Lange, Riederer and Aernouts, generally considered to be strong runners, and managed to catch Böcherer before the 10 km mark of the race. Although the German kept Dapena Gonzalez in sight, there was no stopping the Spaniard as he ran a 1:09:24 split to finish 17-seconds ahead of Böcherer.

Lange came in 35 seconds behind Böcherer for third.

"I'm super happy with that," Böcherer said after the race. "The equipment and the new position on the bike were good. I managed to have my own race, even though the winner passed me and Patrick got closer, I felt in control.

Challenge Gran Canaria 2018 | Men

April 21, 2018 | Gran Canaria, Spain

Name

Country

Total

1.9 km Swim

90 km Bike

21 km Run

  1

Pablo Dapena Gonzalez

ESP

4:00:25

26:05

2:21:31

1:09:24

  2

Andreas Böcherer

GER

4:00:42

26:29

2:18:44

1:11:50

  3

Patrick Lange

GER

4:01:17

26:32

2:20:49

1:10:39

  4

Bart Aernouts

BEL

4:02:32

29:36

2:17:49

1:11:37

  5

Sven Riederer

SUI

4:05:07

26:38

2:20:58

1:14:12

  6

Pieter Heemeryck

BEL

4:06:47

26:35

2:21:15

1:16:03

  7

Gustavo Rodriguez Iglesias

ESP

4:08:13

29:17

2:20:46

1:14:14

  8

Manuel Küng

SUI

4:21:00

26:42

2:30:58

1:19:45

  9

Denis Sketako

SLO

4:21:27

31:05

2:32:04

1:14:35

  10

Thomas Davis

GBR

4:24:40

26:27

2:37:50

1:16:54

Swipe me

Van Vlerken dominant

In the women's race, Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED) was more successful with her offensive bike tactics. After trailing Celine Schärer (SUI) by three minutes after the swim, Van Vlerken quickly moved to the front and had a lonely bike ride. With about four minutes advantage into T2, Van Vlerken managed to open up even more time on the competition during the half marathon, finishing five minutes ahead of Ewa Komander (POL) and almost eight minutes ahead of Spaniard Anna Noguera Raja.

Challenge Gran Canaria | Women

April 21, 2018 | Gran Canaria, Spain

Name

Country

Total

1.9 km Swim

90 km Bike

21 km Run

1

Yvonne Van Vlerken

NED

4:38:41

31:38

2:40:09

1:23:17

2

Ewa Komander

POL

4:43:45

31:38

2:43:54

1:24:27

3

Anna Noguera Raja

ESP

4:46:21

31:31

2:50:12

1:20:49

4

Celine Schaerer

SUI

4:56:13

28:12

2:52:35

1:31:02

5

Frederica DE Nicola

ITA

5:06:02

33:20

2:54:14

1:31:02

Swipe me