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Margirier and  Pohle Take Inaugural Titles at Challenge Vieux Boucau

The rain and the wind played its part at the inaugural Challenge Vieux Boucau, but the drama was at the finish line with Mathis Margirier (FRA) taking the home win in a thrilling sprint finish with Mika Noodt (DEU) while Caroline Pohle (DEU) came out on top to take the inaugural women’s title.

Dorian Coninx (FRA), who was racing his first middle distance, led the field out of the water in 24:02 but he had some pretty serious company with Aaron Royle (AUS), Rico Bogen (DEU), Alistair Brownlee (GBR) and Margirier all within six seconds of him. Out on the bike and Margirier took an early lead with Brownlee never far behind, the two swapped the lead position multiple times while behind the group also contained Frederic Funk who rode up from 11th out of the water to fourth, Bogen and Noodt with Royle bringing up the rear. With the 20m drafting rule in place, and closely monitored by the French Federation officials, the fast flat bike was a fair test for all. In the final 10km Noodt made his move and took the lead, flying towards T2 at 45kph, trying to create a gap. He did enough to come off the bike and out onto the run first. For almost the entire run, it appeared it was his race although Bogen was not making it easy for him, never far behind. In the final of four laps, things started getting interesting. Brownlee was making up serious time having been running neck and neck with Margirier throughout. He dropped Margirier and ran into second, just 20 seconds behind Noodt and for the first time Noodt’s victory was under threat. However, behind him Margirier was gaining fast. As spectators cheered Noodt to victory on the red carpet Margirier was sprinting up behind him, Noodt’s legs could not respond and he stumbled less than a metre before the line and Margirier flew through to take the win in 3:38:10. Noodt was just a second behind him in 3:38:11 with Rico Bogen rounding out the podium in third in 3:39:42.

Margirier said it was a tough day for him. “It was really hard today, I wasn’t feeling good on the bike so in the middle of the bike, I was just waiting for the finish. The first lap of the run was so hard, I had no energy. But when I saw Mika slowing down, in the last 10m I was second, I could sprint and he couldn’t so I finished first!”

Noodt was philosophical about the result saying, “That’s racing! I gave it everything I had!”

In the women, Pohle led out of the swim with over a minute on Imogen Simmonds (SUI) who was aiming for three from three after back-to-back victories at Challenge Barcelona and Challenge Peguera-Mallorca. It wasn’t until just over the 50km mark that Simmonds caught and overtook Pohle and started putting time into her. Behind them in third place, Emilie Morier was over three minutes down. Simmonds led into T2 and out onto the run but Pohle quickly managed to make up her deficit and after 5km both women were running together, before Pohle pulled away creating a 30 second gap. Despite both women’s best efforts, Pohle was not able to increase her lead, nor was Simmonds able to close the gap and Pohle took the win in 4:04:43 over Simmonds in 4:05:02. Charlene Clavel rounded out the women’s podium in a time of 4:11:36.

“I’m really proud of my achievement as I had a really difficult time after the world championship with injury,” said Pohle at the finish line. “I’m really happy as Imo was really strong and she pushed me to my best.”

Today’s results also have an impact on the Challenge Family World Bonus with Mathis Margirier taking the lead after sitting at equal first with Caleb Nobel after his podium in Mallorca. Imogen Simmonds retains her second place and Caroline Pohle moves up into the money in fifth place.

Finish Line Interviews

Mathis Margirier – https://youtu.be/I5_EKEn6ze8

Caroline Pohle – https://youtu.be/ZK-UI61Vz3U

For full results, go to https://www.klikego.com/external/live5/dashboard.jsp?reference=1599610745249-33. For further information, visit www.challenge-vieuxboucau.com.