Pablo Dapena Gonzalez (3:42:30) claimed 2nd place in Challenge Gran Canaria in a stacked field. The Spaniard raced all day long in the front of the race to snatch 2nd place after a hard charge in the final kilometers of the run. Jan Frodeno (GER; 3:41:21) won the race, with Nick Kastelein (AUS; 3:42:42) finishing 3rd.
The race started with an excellent swim for Pablo Dapena Gonzalez. He exited the water well inside the big leading group of 8 athletes.
In the early stages on the bike that group split in two with Pablo making the cut and ensuring his place inside the leading group. From that point onwards, the technical up and down bike course didn’t cause any further separation in the leading group. All 5 athletes entered T2 together with the race to be decided on the run. Pablo took off with an incredible pace to take over control of 2nd place. Just over the halfway mark, the BMC athlete got accompanied by Lange and Kastelein making it a three-way battle for 2nd place behind Frodeno. Dapena shortly dropped backed to 4th place, but he was preparing his final push. With an incredible final few kilometers, Pablo managed to break away from Kastelein and Lange to cross the line in 2nd place. A fantastic result for the BMC athlete.
Gave it all
Afterwards Pablo Dapena Gonzalez shared his thoughts on his 2nd place finish.
“The race was not easy. After 200m in the swim, I already felt my heart rate went too high and my body started to feel painful. At that moment, I thought I had lost the race. Not knowing what was happening, I continued swimming and made the connection with the front group again at the end of the first lap. There I stayed the whole second lap. That wasn’t easy, because of the age groupers we were swimming by.
The bike was hard. All the time up and down and even two guys just in front of me suffered a crash, because of a wet section on the road. On the hills, Heemeryck pushed really hard together with Ceccarelli and Molinari. I stayed with Frodeno and caught up with them again due to good downhill skills.
On the run, I suffered from up and down moments. The first 5k, I had a really good pace at 3:16km/h, but Lange and Kastelein were catching up on me. First, Lange passed me and I couldn’t match his pace. Then I got accompanied by Kastelein and we stayed together. We started to chase down Lange again and were able to drop him a few hundred meters later. With 4k to go, I had to let go Kastelein. In the final 2.5k, I passed him again though, pushed the pace even harder and was able to run it home to the finish line. I really gave my all to the line and didn’t leave anything in the tank. I am really pleased with the fight I put up today.”
4th place finish for Katrina Matthews in her season opener
In the women’s race Pablo’s teammate Katrina Matthews (4:14:06) came home in 4th place after a steady comeback race. Exiting the water in 8th place, Matthews was able to climb her way into 4th place, starting the run. She managed to get closer to 3rd place, but eventually had to settle for 4th position.
Fine with my result
After the race, Katrina Matthews looked back at her race with a positive feeling. “Really tough day for me out there, but a really good first race back. Feeling ready for the 2021 season. I had a fine swim, considering the difficulties of the last few months (closed pools). My bike performance was probably a little bit lower than I would have hoped. On the run, I started to get really hot, but again: absolutely happy with that. Today, I’ve got beaten by three really great girls and their performances were really impressive. So, coming home in 4th is absolute fine and sets me up well for the rest of the season”.