Norway's Tungesvik glides to gold at Winter World Championships Skeikampen
The men’s 2023 Winter Triathlon World Championships provided plenty of drama in the Skeikampen hills on Saturday afternoon, before the 2021 winner Hans Christian Tungesvik finally took control over the final cross-country ski to ensure a second world title in the snow would be his.
It had been a brave fightback from the Czech Marek Rauchfuss on the final bike segment, scything through the snow to carve out a useful lead just as he had in the first round of racing, but there was no answer to Tungesvik’s talent, the Norwegian shrugging off a pedal issues then hitting his groove once back on the favoured skis, last year’s champion Franco Pesavento with the bronze.
“It was an exciting day, some dynamic racing, and I had a few technical issues with the pedal coming loose halfway on the first bike leg so I was kind of panicking for a bit,” admitted Tungesvik, “but i’m happy I managed to stay calm and rational and get that fixed and on with the race – it definitely made it more exciting! I know Marek is world class on the bike but I felt good on the skis in the first round so I was always confident I would reel him in at the end. It’s one thing winning, but doing it here is an incredible feeling.”
Pesavento applies early pressure
A format change from the last time Tungesvik was champion meant a full repetition of the run-bike-ski course and four transitions to negotiate, and it was Franco Pesavento and Norway’s Endre Wigaard away fastest on the first run, making an early breakaway that suddenly saw a trailing group of six including Tungesvik, Rauchfuss, Giuseppe Lamastra and Alessandro Saravelle 20 seconds back.
Incredibly, Wigaard lost 30 seconds on Pesavento in transition, leaving the Italian to attack the first bike segment solo.
In true style, Rauchfuss was flying through the bike course though, hammering up to and then past Pesavento, Lamastra among the athletes hitting the deck early on as optimal speeds in the conditions took some getting used to.
The Italian and Czech pair maintained their advantage onto the first ski segment, Tungesvik 30 seconds back at the halfway point, Saravalle 42 seconds off the leaders, Oivind Bjerkseth (NOR) 52 seconds back, but the 2021 champion was gaining with every push of the poles and soon right on their heels.
Tungesvik flew past Pesavento on the downhill knowing that he had to use his strongest discipline to the maximum, Rauchfuss working hard to stay on the Norwegian’s tail, Saravalle still holding firm and patient in fourth.
Rauchfuss fights back
At the halfway point of the race, Tungesvik delivered a fluid transition to get out onto the second run segment with a 35-second gap now to Pesavento and Rauchfuss, 80 seconds to Saravalle, Viorel Palici (ROU) and Bjerkseth ten seconds further back.
The gap grew to 42 seconds and held over the final stages of the run, Rauchfuss now shifting his attentions back to the bike and after Tungesvik encountered pedal problems, suddenly only 25 seconds separated the two.
Rauchfuss soon caught Tungesvik on the first bike lap, Pesavento happily sitting in behind the Norwegian. A small error with his pedal then cost the Czech a few seconds, but the gap was out to 40 seconds by the end of the penultimate segment, the only question remaining if it a big enough lead to keep the 2021 Champion at bay.
The answer came quickly and it wasn’t the one Rauchfuss wanted. By the halfway point of the first ski lap the gap had halved, and by the end of lap one Tungesvik was back out front and gliding through the course with an ease of technique that the Czech simply couldn’t match. As the crowds lined the finish, Tungesvik was able to soak in the cheers, crossing a minute ahead of his rival after a superb battle, Pesavento with third ahead of teammate Saravalle, Bjerkseth in fifth.
For the full results, click here, watch the action back on TriathlonLive.tv.
Related Event: 2023 World Triathlon Winter Championships Skeikampen
|Results: Elite Men|
|1.||Hans Christian Tungesvik||NOR||01:40:17|
|Results: Elite Women|
|5.||Maria Luisa Rasina||ROU||02:10:39|
|Results: U23 Men|
|Results: U23 Women|
|Results: 2x2 Mixed Relay|
|1.||Team I Italy||ITA||01:00:15|
|2.||Team I Norway||NOR||01:01:12|
|3.||Team I Romania||ROU||01:02:11|
|4.||Team I Sweden||SWE||01:04:04|
|5.||Team I Germany||GER||01:05:39|
|Results: Junior Men|
|DNF.||Edvard Fossum Olstad||NOR||DNF|
|Results: Junior Women|
|3.||Sara Bergsholm Hoven||NOR||01:09:52|
|4.||Emilie Monica Cappelletti||ITA||01:13:21|
|Results: 2x2 Mixed Junior Relay|
|1.||Team II Norway||NOR||01:04:41|
|2.||Team I Italy||ITA||01:06:44|
|3.||Team I Sweden||SWE||01:08:29|
|NC.||Team I Norway||NOR||01:05:48|
|Results: PTS4 Men|
|Results: 20-24 Male AG|
|1.||Emil Andre Breivik||NOR||01:28:14|
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