Wins for Jack Moody and Els Visser at Challenge Taiwan

Over 8,000 athletes lined up in spectacular Taitung this weekend with Jack Moody (NZL) and Els Visser (NED) taking out the 12th Challenge Taiwan titles in 3:49:16 and 4:08:39 respectively.

The day started overcast and warm with high humidity levels and a water temperature of 24C meaning no wetsuits for the pro athletes.

Joe Begbie (AUS) took the lead in the swim, exiting in 23:49, just four seconds ahead of Filipe Azevedo (UAE) with Australians Kurt McDonald and Caleb Noble hot on their heels just a couple of seconds down. By 20km on the bike McDonald had taken the lead with Azevedo and Begbie riding together 45 seconds down. Two minutes behind them, was the Antipodean contingent with Moody, Noble and Sam Osborne (NZL) all working to close the gap to the leaders. As the men reached halfway on the bike, McDonald had extended his lead to 1:30 over Azevedo and Begbie while behind them, Osborne and Moody had dropped Noble but they had also lost nearly a minute to the lead. As they came into T2, Osborne and Moody had closed the gap to Azevedo and Begbie to under a minute but McDonald was looking like the man to beat with a 3:30 lead as he headed out onto the run through the Taitung National Park. However, Moody had other plans and by the 3km mark had moved up into second and taken almost a minute out of McDonald. He continued to eat into McDonald’s lead, but it seemed the Australian was just too fast, and the win was his. That was until he took a disastrous wrong turn in the final 5km, leaving the win wide open for Moody to take in 3:49:16 with Azevedo crossing the line in second, just under a minute later in 3:50:10 while Joel Wooldridge (AUS) rounded out the podium in third in 3:57:52.

In the women’s race Alanis Siffert (SUI) was first out of the water in 24:22 with a clear lead of 1:47 over Lottie Lucas (UAE). A group of three, led by Samantha Kingsford (NZL) with Nina Derron (SUI) and Visser  were a further 2:15 down. However, by 20km on the bike, Visser had made light work of closing that gap and securing herself a 1:12 lead over Siffert while Lucas sat in third, 1:55 down on Visser. By the halfway point, Visser had more than doubled her lead while Lucas had moved up into second, 2:51 down while Siffert slipped to third with a gap of 3:58. Visser continued to extend her lead in the second half of the bike, coming into T2 with a clear four minute lead over Lucas. It was clear this was her race to lose as she looked on target to claim her third win and sixth podium of 2024. Throughout the run she continued to pull away, taking the win in 4:08:39, securing that third win of the season. Behind her, the battle for second and third played out in the final half of the run with Siffert coming out on top, taking second in 4:14:20 while Lucas took third in 4:18:48.