x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Gohner demonstrates his heart on home soil

The German produces a fine marathon leg of the triathlon to record a popular home victory in the Challenge Roth.

Michael Gohner produced a fine marathon leg of the triathlon to record a popular home victory in yesterday's Challenge Roth - one of Europe's premier events. With several of the world-class field in contention as they jostled for supremacy through the 3.8km swim and 180km cycle disciplines, the German upped the pace down the home stretch. The 29-year old ran the 42.4km marathon in a staggering time of t2nr 41.17mins to clock an overall time of 7hr 55.53mins - more than six minutes clear of second-placed Pete Jacobs.

New Zealander Richard Ussher, the two-time Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge winner, showed he is equally adept at solo endurance tests, clinching third-place. Ussher crossed the line just 14secs behind Jacobs to complete the podium. The pre-race favourites, Normann Stadler, and defending champion, Patrick Vernay, finished fourth and fifth place, respectively. The pair thrilled the Roth crowds with a stunning sprint finish. After eight, energy-sapping hours of exertion, they were split by a meagre three seconds.

Team Abu Dhabi Triathlon's Swen Sundberg failed to better his eighth place in last year's Roth showdown, finishing in eighth again - nearly 12mins behind runaway-winner Gohner. However, the pair were neck-and-neck until the marathon's 6km mark, when Sundberg, 35, began suffering cramps. "The conditions were perfect but my run was terrible," said Sundberg. "I was shoulder-to-shoulder with Gohner but then I got cramps and had to stop and stretch.

"Then around 40kms, the cramps were so bad I had to stop again, which cost me five or six minutes." The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority backed athlete intends to rest for a week before resuming his training for an Ironman event in Kentucky, USA, at the end of August. emegson@thenational.ae