Triathlon legend and On athlete Nicola Spirig continued her preparation for the Tokyo Olympics with a blistering performance at the Challenge Mogán Gran Canaria, declaring: “It’s always great to win a race.”
Spirig – who will now complete a three-week training camp on the Spanish island before competing in Lisbon, Portugal and Leeds, England – dominated from the early stages.
She emerged from the 1.9km swim only a few seconds behind Sara Perez Sala and overtook the Spaniard on the way to the transition. And once in the lead, Spirig’s position never looked threatened.
“I was the first athlete on the bike course and, to my surprise, nobody came to overtake me,” she said. “I felt quite good and just rode in my own rhythm, happy at every turn that Lisa Norden and Sarissa De Vries were still a bit behind. In the end, the gap seemed to get even bigger.”
Spirig revealed her coach had devised a pre-race plan that rested on her being in the front group at the start of the 21.1km run.
“He told me I should run the first 16km controlled, and only go fast in the last 5km. So I ran a comfortable pace, got into a good rhythm, and Lisa and Sarissa didn’t get closer. Then in the last 5km I tried to run faster, distance myself from the others a bit more and in the end had a very comfortable lead. I was happy with my performance and really enjoyed being able to race again.”
With her fifth Olympic qualifier just around the corner, the Swiss veteran and six-time European champion remains a formidable force. “I’ve had some good training weeks lately and this event was a chance for me to get some race practice and extra fitness.”
And Spirig wasn’t the only Swiss athlete to taste success at the Challenge Mogán Gran Canaria. Max Studer took the gold medal in the Olympic short course race with a time of 2:11:07 – more than 10 minutes ahead of second-placed Karim Balli (2:21:48)!