In 2021, OTSO Challenge Salou was one of the last races of the year and when Lisa Norden won the race, the Swedish pro athlete immediately proclaimed she would return. Now, in 2022, she is putting her money where her mouth is and will do everything she can to defend her title in less than a month from now.
To achieve this though, Norden will have to be the best version of herself. The women’s field is arguably even strong than the men’s with dozens of names that all have a serious claim to victory. Last year’s runner-up, Els Visser (NED), for example, will also race and will no doubt push hard to get on the top step of the podium this year. Of course, both Norden and Visser will be watching Anne Haug (DEU) and Nicola Spirig (SUI); they are probably the biggest favourites for victory.
However, anything can happen during the race, with top athletes such as Kat Matthews (GBR), Fenella Langridge (GBR), Judith Corachan Vaquera (ESP), Laura Zimmermann (DEU), Elisabetta Curridori (ITA), Daniela Bleymehl (DEU), Justine Mathieux (FRA) and India Lee (GBR) all on the start line. They are all athletes who are perfectly at ease on the mostly flat Salou course and can generally handle the high temperatures on the Spanish coast.
Someone who certainly likes these conditions is the Frenchman Vincent Luis, the top favourite in the men’s race. Even though he doesn’t yet have much experience over the middle distance, his top speed is so high that he can hurt everyone. Yet it will not be an easy race for Luis either, because just like in the women’s race, there are literally dozens of world-class athletes racing. Adam Hansen (AUS) for example, who is known for his more than strong run, World Triathlon Long Distance Champion, Kristian Høgenhaug (DEN), but also Pieter Heemeryck (BEL), Nick Kastelein (AUS), Jan Stratmann (DEU), Patrik Nilsson (SWE), Giulio Molinari (ITA) and former professional cyclist Ruben Zepuntke (DEU), who was in the lead for a long time during DATEV Challenge Roth powered by hep last year.
Challenge Salou is the Challenge Family European season opener for 2022 and takes place on 3 April featuring over 80 professional athletes and 1,000 age group athletes across the weekend triathlon festival on the shores of the Mediterranean. For further information, visit https://challenge-salou.com/.