Nicola Spirig impresses at Olympic dress rehearsal
Only a week ago, Nicola Spirig had described the middle-distance race (1.9 km swimming, 90 km cycling and 21.1 km running) as an «overly long race», as the Olympic triathlon (1.5/40/10) is a lot shorter than the half Ironman. Nevertheless, the mother of three was able to win her seventh European title overall – her first over the middle distance. «The half Ironman fit my plans very well», the Swiss explained, «and I had already included such a race in my preparations for London 2012 and Rio 2016. » Spirig medalled in both those competitions, winning Olympic gold in 2012 and silver four years later.
In Walchsee, Spirig managed an outstanding swim. Together with the Spain’s Sara Perez Sala, she got out of the water three minutes ahead of the competition. The Zurich native used a normal racing bike for the hilly bike course and soon left Perez Sala behind. «I prefer it hilly instead of completely flat, that definitely suited me», the Olympic champion summed up.
With a six-minute lead, Nicola Spirig was able to tackle the run course. With such a lead in hand, she made a strategic decision to run the first three of four laps in a controlled manner, before increasing her pace over the last five kilometres. «I was able to stick to our pre-race plan for such a situation», Spirig said happily, crossing the finish line five minutes ahead of German Ironman winner Anne Haug.
Following the race, Nicola Spirig travelled back to St. Moritz immediately and will continue to train in altitude until departing for Tokyo.