Kristian Høgenhaug takes 3rd in Challenge The Championship in Samorin

Kristian Høgenhaug BMC

Kristian Høgenhaug produced another outstanding performance to finish 3rd at Challenge The Championship in Samorin after a perfectly paced race. A strong swim, a blisteringly fast bike ride, and a convincing run saw the BMC athlete cross the line in a time of 3:29:56. Kyle Smith (NZL; 3:27:10) won the race, with Frederic Funk (GER; 3:29:24) taking 2nd place.

Only one week after his 5th place and bike crash in IM70.3 Mallorca, Kristian Høgenhaug toed the line at Challenge The Championship in Samorin. Not for the first time this season, Kristian had a very strong swim and exited the cold water as part of the big leading group. Already in the first kilometers of the bike, Kristian powered his way to the front to control the race from there. He managed to open up a small lead but didn’t really get much space.

Kristian Høgenhaug BMC Samorin

Led by Funk, a group of 11 athletes closed down the gap at the turnaround point. Pushing around 370 watts on average till that point, Høgenhaug knew he had to be smart to save his energy for the run. So, for the second part of the bike, the BMC athlete settled in the group and didn’t try to respond to Funk’s attack in front. After a blistering bike ride of 1:50:56, Kristian reached T2 in 4th place together with 5 other athletes. He started the run 1’40” behind leader Funk.

Being less than half a minute down from 2nd position, Høgenhaug knew he would need a strong run performance to secure a podium finish. The Dane started running at a solid pace in 6th place, keeping the athletes in front of him in his sights. Halfway through the run, Kristian had moved to 5th position, trailing Stepniak in 4th by less than 10 seconds.

Kristian Høgenhaug Samorin BMC

One lap later, with 6 km to go, Høgenhaug made his decisive move. Not only did he overtake 4th place, but he also managed to push on and overtake Bogen in 3rd place as well. Stepniak kept Kristian on his toes in the final few kilometers as the gap hovered around 10 seconds. The BMC athlete kept pushing hard and had enough energy left to bring the bronze medal home. A very strong, well-paced performance and the second Challenge podium for Høgenhaug in a month's time.

Really happy

After the race, Kristian Høgenhaug reflected on his performance. “I was trying to start hard on the bike. At the turnaround point, I was riding in front for almost the entire time and noticed 370 watts on average on my power meter. Then, frustratingly enough, I saw the big group catching up. From that point, I decided to settle in the group and try to save some energy as I had spent quite a bit in the first half.

Halfway through the run, I started to realize a podium finish would be possible. I still felt really strong and I could hear some guys, who had passed me at the start of the run, breathing hard and working hard. First, I caught up with Bishop and noticed Stepniak was breathing hard as well. After that, I saw Bogen fading. Nevertheless, it was such a tough battle because although I passed Stepniak, he was still holding on. Really tough racing today, but that makes it even sweeter to get on the podium.”