Incredible comeback by Nicola Spirig: 8th place in Hamburg
Only twelve weeks after the birth of her third child, Nicola Spirig made an extraordinary comeback. At the ITU World Triathlon Series in Hamburg, the 2012 Olympic champion showed again what she is capable of. After swimming 750 meters left the water in the first chasing group with a gap of 24 seconds and in 19th place. On the 21 kilometre bike course, the native of Zurich then even stayed in the top group. In the final run over 5 kilometres she was 35 seconds behind the top, which resulted in 8th place at the end. «It was difficult on the bike, very technical and relatively dangerous due to the rain,» said Spirig, who tried to always stay in the front of the field due to the danger of falling. In the final 5 kilometre run she crashed just before the finish. «But maybe that gave me the motivation I needed to keep the eighth place,» said the mother of three. She was very satisfied and finished eighth, 35 seconds behind.
The race weekend in Hamburg was an organizational challenge for Spirig. «Because I'm still breastfeeding Alexis, my biggest worry was that he won't be hungry during the preparation and the race. So I had to plan well when I could breastfeed him.»
Spirig's husband Reto Hug took care of the children Yannis (6) and Malea (2) in Switzerland and held the «Kids Cup by Nicola Spirig» in Bülach. Therefore, the parents Ursula and Sepp accompanied their daughter Nicola to Hamburg to take over the care of their grandson Alexis during the races. «For me, the most important thing is that my children are healthy and happy,» said Spirig after the individual race, which she had described in advance as an assessment of the situation.
Olympic qualification almost safe
With this top ten result, the six-time European champion has already fulfilled the most important qualification criterion for the Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo! Spirig must stay among the top 45 in the adjusted Olympic Qualification Ranking in order to meet another criterion. She is currently in 22nd place: «I am very, very happy and relieved after this weekend! I can now ideally plan the further competitions and trainings regarding the Olympic Games, regardless of the qualification. That's a big advantage.»
Bad luck for the Mixed Relay Team
The next day, the Swiss Mixed Relay Team had no luck. By the time Nicola Spirig had entered the race, the Swiss team had fallen so far behind that, despite Nicola's strong performance, it had to be taken out of the competition later due to overtaking. Starting athlete Jolanda Annen had left the Binnenalster in the second group. After her crash on the wet road on Saturday, she had bad luck again on the bike road in the team competition. She lost about two minutes to the top on both laps. Andrea Salvisberg had to start the race from the last place. Spirig was then able to overtake Mexico in swimming, but that didn't help: Mexico was taken out of the race due to overtaking shortly afterwards, Switzerland and South Africa a little later on the bike section. The Swiss final athlete Sylvain Fridelance was not allowed to finish.
The next chance to score points for the ranking for Tokyo 2020 is already two weeks from now in Edmonton (CAN). The first seven nations of the final ranking will each receive two starting places for men and women. Until May 2020, the best five results from two 12-month periods will be evaluated.
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