During the long weekend on the Baltic Sea, enthusiasts of active leisure time took part in the 2nd edition of the world series of triathlon competitions LOTTO Challenge Gdańsk. In the prestigious middle-distance competition of professionals – 1.9 km swimming, 90 km cycling and 21.1 km running – Spaniard Pablo Dapena Gonzalez won, and the third was the best of Poles, Kacper Stępniak. Among the PRO players, the Italian Margie Santimaria turned out to be the best, ahead of the Polish Paulina Kotfica. A total of almost a thousand men of steel took part in all the competitions of the Gdańsk triathlon festival.
– The greatest reason to rejoice? Firstly, the turnout, which was 20% higher than a year ago. Secondly, the satisfaction of the participants, from whom we heard that they will definitely come back to us next year. It means that they had fun – smiles Adam Greczyło, director and organizer of LOTTO Challenge Gdańsk.
Triathlon weekend in Gdańsk
It was an intense three days on the Baltic Sea. Professionals and amateurs faced three triathlon distances. Beginners tested their strength in a sprint, in which they had to swim 750 meters, bike 20 kilometers and run 5 kilometers. The more advanced took part in the Olympic distance (1.5 km – 40 km – 10 km), and the bravest covered the middle distance, which consisted of 1,900 meters swam in the waters of the Baltic Sea, as much as 90 kilometers on two wheels and a half-marathon run. – Just like last year, for which we received the “Race Of The Year” award, we managed to combine several things that are important for the competitors. On the one hand, the route was fast, thanks to which the event was successful in terms of sports. On the other hand, the participants praised the attractive route and the level of organization. From the third, whole families had fun with us throughout the weekend, which is also very important to us – assures Adam Greczyło.
Speed in the “City of Freedom and Solidarity”
In terms of sports, the Gdańsk edition of the Challenge cycle was at a really high level, and the excellent weather was conducive to achieving good times – especially on Saturday it was fresh and windless, so the surface of the Baltic Sea was smooth as in a swimming pool. On Saturday, a lot was happening on the routes from the morning – at eight o’clock the sprinters started the competition, and two hours later the Olympic distance started. The men’s sprint was won by Tymon Horsten from Gdańsk, who covered the route in 1 hour, 1 minute and 58 seconds. Filip Szymonik (Stalowa Wola) lost just 0.13 seconds to the winner, followed by Dawid Mielke from Bazanowice with a time of 1:02.34. Among women, the fastest was Agnieszka Gadomska from Zielona Góra (1:10.41), ahead of Karolina Szalast from Rumia (1:13.17) and Izabela Wujkowska from Olsztyn (1:16.27).
The classic Olympic distance was completed by 320 athletes. The first to cross the finish line at the pier in Gdańsk Brzeźno was Piotr Łazaronek from Stara Sikorska Huta (2:06.43), Dawid Jankowski from Gdańsk arrived 2 minutes and 22 seconds later, and 5 seconds later the competition was completed by Marek Janisz from Gródek nad Dunajcem (2: 09.10).
– Three years ago I took 54th place here, I worked hard and today I am first. The conditions were perfect, the water was calm, and that was what I was most afraid of. With today’s time, you can already be tempted for the top six at the European Championships. Today my plan was to swim well and then thresh the bike hard. I really wanted to check the effect of working for the last 10 months on improving power, strength and endurance. And it was good, the average speed was well over 40 km/h. In August I will try to fight for the Polish championship in Białystok. Thank you very much to the fans for motivating cheering – said the winner of the Olympic distance Piotr Łazaronek at the finish line.
The fastest woman over the Olympic distance turned out to be Maja Bużycka from Mława with a time of 2:16.45, the second was Ola Korulczyk (2:22.49), and the podium was completed by Aleksandra Sypniewska-Lewandowska (2:24.07).
– I always feel best in swimming, and I am most afraid of the second stage on the bike. I think that today the organization of the competition was at the highest level, the fans carried me here to the finish line, there was someone cheering at every corner, it was really great and helped – said Maja Bużycka.
– Last year, the bar was set very high by the organizers, but you can see that the event is still developing. For me, Gdańsk is the sports capital of Poland and today’s competition is a confirmation of that. Tomorrow I will ride my bike in the relay and I’m happy about it. There is no better opportunity to assess the competition than to watch the competition from the inside – said Zibi Szlufcik, president of Challenge Family, during Saturday’s decoration of the winners.
Sunday was marked by competition on the most prestigious middle distance. Among the men, the Spaniard Pablo Dapena Gonzalez turned out to be the fastest with a time of 3:44.47, and 4 minutes and 35 seconds later the Ukrainian Sergiy Kurochkin finished. The podium was completed by the best of the Poles, Kacper Stępniak (3:51.02).
“It was an amazing race for me. I have short legs and I have to admit that it was difficult for me to keep up with the leaders while swimming. But we managed to be the first group and on the cycling route the three of us cooperated, of course in accordance with the regulations, which was very cool. I also want to thank the fans for their great support along the entire route – admitted today’s winner.
– Last year I was seventh here, today I managed to win a much better place. Although there was a desire for a higher place, because the three of us were riding a bike with a significant advantage over the rest of the rate. Pablo was unbeatable today, but the second place was within reach, unfortunately today the disposition did not allow it – said Kacper Stępniak.
The women’s competition was dominated by the Italian Margie Santimaria (4:20.02), ahead of the Polish women – Paulina Kotfica (4:27.17) and Maria Cześnik (4:28.54).
“This is my first Challenge Family win, so I am very happy. Swimming wasn’t great, but cycling and running were very good. The fans and volunteers supported me fantastically, I thank them very much for that – said the winner.
– I’m very happy, I didn’t do well in swimming today and I lost, but luckily I managed to catch up with other competitors. On the bike, I tried to ride as hard as possible to catch up as much as possible. Unfortunately, Margie had a so-called “horse day” and left us for over 4 minutes, which was impossible to catch up on the run. I am happy with the second place, the more so that a week ago I also competed “half”, so my body was not 100% rested. I confirm that after this season I am ending my professional career – said Paulina Kotfica at the finish line.
Beautiful views and good fun
LOTTO Challenge Gdańsk is not only a fight for breaking records, but also good fun and a way to spend time actively in a picturesque location on the Baltic beach.
– The weather was kind to us today, but also the organization of the competition was perfect. And I say this from the point of view of a competitor, although as a competitor I am often critical. Today there were no shortcomings from the player’s level. Although I also believe that those who do not develop and perfect their skills are going backwards. And certainly with the director Adam Greczyło, as we usually do, we will discuss everything calmly, so that next year we will raise the organization to a higher level, to the delight and satisfaction of the athletes – said the director of the Gdańsk Sports Center, Leszek Paszkowski.
Friday’s competition was marked by the Trefl Aquathlon Gdańsk competition, in which youth and children from 7 to 17 years of age took part. Young participants competed in swimming and running competitions, at distances adapted to their age and abilities.