World Triathlon Winter Championships head to Skeikampen, Norway
Saturday 25 March will see the 2023 edition of the World Triathlon Winter Championships, the newest chapter for this most prestigious seasonal multisport event that has united the best run-bike-ski athletes on the planet since 1997.
The first triathlon to be held in Skeikampen, Norway, the region’s hosting debut reflects the strength of Scandinavian athletes in recent years, and the home crowds will be ready to roar on their heroes in the incredible natural setting of Svingvoll. The course opens with a two-lap, 4km run, transitioning into a two-loop, 6.2km mountain bike - both with two climbs and accompanying descents - before the two 3km-lap ski, all three segments repeated for a second time to the tape and titles.
The elite men and women can be seen in action live and on-demand over on TriathlonLive.tv from 10am on 25 March.
Women’s Champion in 2021, Sandra Mairhofer returns with gold in her sights once again having already earned the European title back in January. Also the reigning World Triathlon Cross Champion, Mairhofer is one of the most gutsy and versatile athletes on the circuit and even in this most unpredictable of formats she will be hoping to top the podium after silver in 2022.
The talented Norwegian duo of last year’s bronze medallist Elisabeth Sveum and the Winter Duathlon silver medallist Ine Skjellum will know the terrain well and how to convert their home race advantage into medal-winning performances. Sveum will want to put in good times over each of the 4km run segments to maximise her potent ski strength, while Skjellum’s bike segment was her only weakness in Andorra 12 months ago.
Like Skjellum, Austria’s Carina Wasle will have got a good look at two thirds of the course during Friday’s Duathlon competition and, having finished second behind Mairhoffer in Andorra’s European Championships, there will be added fire in her belly this time around.
Romania’s Maria Luisa Rasina is another regular on the winter triathlon circuit in recent years and, having burst onto the scene with U23 silver in 2020 and won Winter Cup silver in Asiago, will be hungry for a first Winter Triathlon Worlds medal here in Norway.
In the men’s race, there can be little doubt that Norwegian hopes will be pinned on Hans Christian Tungesvik, the 31-year-old who took gold on his winter triathlon debut in Andorra two years ago before then helping his country to the Mixed Relay title. Bad luck with a flat tyre last year saw a DNF in his title defence, but the prospect of a dual gold in triathlon and duathlon will be spurring on the home fans’ favourite.
A strong Italian team will be on a mission to stop the 2021 champion, the enormously experienced Giuseppe Lamastra among them. A Junior Worlds silver medallist back in 2003 and equally at home over cross triathlon as on skis and snow, the 38-year-old won bronze in Andorra but narrowly missed out on the podium as his compatriot Franco Pesavento stormed to the title last year.
It was Pesavento’s ever-impressive run that set him on course for that enormous win, and after winning the Europe Triathlon Winter individual title and relay in January, it looks set to be another mouthwatering battle for the biggest prize in winter triathlon.
The Czech national champion Marek Rauchfuss claimed silver in the last edition and again was one place behind Pesavento in January’s continental championship, making him yet another prime candidate to medal, while Frenchman Marin Gautier will want to build on his U23 bronze in last year’s world championships .
On Sunday, eight teams will battle it out to become the 2x2 Mixed Relay World Champions. The men go out first, completing a 1km run, 2km bike and 2km ski, before handing over to their teammate. She will then handover again after completing the same circuit, and pick up the final leg all the way to the tape. After taking the silver and bronze respectively last year, the Italian and Norwegian teams are going to be giving everything for that title, Sveum and Tungesvik having earned the golds back in 2021 ahead of Mairhofer and Lamastra after a blistering final leg from the Norwegian.