1st Swiss at WTS Grand Final Lausanne
The best world champs by far!
The best world champs by far! Amazing organisation, incredible fans and THE toughest triathlon course out there.
I’d been excited for this race for more than a year now and I knew it would deliver a show like no other. So many friends came to watch the race and told me how exciting it was to see all the top athletes battle it out over the Olympic distance here in Lausanne. The feedback from friends, fans and the family was always the same; “when can we come watch another race like that?” The amazing weather and the breathtaking backdrop just made the day perfect for the spectators.
I was so nervous before the race! So many people came to support me, so I had to be up there challenging the best athletes. ALL the top guys were on the start line - nobody was missing. It was going to be a tougher field than when I competed at the Olympics. So it was going to be difficult, to deliver a great result. But I was confident and ready to go all out.
The 1500m swim was a perfect start to the race! After 100m I was already leading with Varga on my left (Varga is generally considered one of the fastest swimmers – oh, and check out his interview with me!). At the first buoy I was sitting in 3rd place and felt relaxed in my head knowing that; “I will be in the lead group on the bike!”
My transition was clean and fast and so I started the bike leg with the front group. A few of meters of flat terrain and then the first hill. I was getting ready to sprint up that hill like we did last year. But nothing happened, the athletes just rode with the same speed into the hill and nobody attacked! So I decided to make a move and bring some action into the race but I saw they weren’t chasing me. Of course I don´t want to break away alone on such a course, so I settled down a bit and “waited” for the others to join me. My goal was to break the group apart to create a time advantage later in the run and was happy that my tactic worked. The fans were going crazy on every hill we pushed up! The people were shouting so loud, that I couldn´t even hear my breathing. Now I know how the riders feel, riding up Alp D´Huez! Goosebumps and 100% adrenalin made me sprint up that hill every time - thank you for pushing me ;) Many athletes dropped off and after 3 laps we had a lead group of 22. Not perfect, but at least we were riding away from the chasers. Every lap we put more time into the chasers and after 40km it was over 2min…awesome.
Still, amongst the 22 in the lead group there were a lot of good runners, but my training in St.Moritz had been going very well and I’ve become a strong runner. I was excited to show my speed and knew I could reach my goal of a top 20. Unluckily, I had some issues in the transition. My bike kept falling out of the box and I had to fix it twice. I lost important seconds and started my run last of my group. Time to catch up, but with a great feeling! After two laps I was really close to the Top 10 and was so happy with how many athletes I passed along the way. But right there I fell into a hole in my mind and lost control over my race. I ran with Knabl and Van Riel, we pushed each other, but at that short moment I couldn´t keep up and lost that important group. I struggled for half a lap, until I found my rhythm again and managed to get back into race speed. But it was too late, the boys had created a gap and were heading for a Top 10. I was now running in a great position in the Top 15, but the second of the Swiss competitors. Adrien Briffod was just one position ahead of me and I saw him struggling like I had a couple minutes ago…but he was still far head. I told myself, let´s go and pick him off. I got closer and closer and that made me push more and more! At about 1km before the finish I bridged up to him. I was in such a race mode, that I didn´t wait to recover behind him. I used the speed and sprinted right passed him. He had no chance to follow me and so I finished 14th, first swiss and in the Top 15. Not the Top 10 I need for the qualification towards Tokyo, but close ;) I was happy and made a big step towards Tokyo 2020.