SUNDAY, MAY 22, 2022
Giant-sponsored triathlete Gustav Iden erased the disappointment of having to miss the Ironman World Championships in St. George, Utah, by traveling back to Europe and winning “The Championship,” a prestigious middle-distance event held at the x-bionic sphere sports resort in Samorin, Slovakia.
Iden had planned on contesting the Ironman event on May 7, but after an untimely illness forced him to withdraw, the Norwegian switched gears and focused on The Championship, a middle-distance race with a €100,000 purse. As a two-time Ironman 70.3 World Champion, the 26-year-old is well-versed in middle-distance races, and as a late entry he was tapped as a favorite in Samorin.
Iden lived up the expectations, overcoming a tough swim and a flat tire in the transition area to put in a strong ride on his Giant Trinity Advanced Pro bike with a CADEX Aero WheelSystem and put himself in position to win on the run.
“I was struggling so much with the swim,” Iden said. “It was a sub-standard swim for me and then I had a low-pressure tire, but luckily I quickly got a pump from the volunteers. I struggled to keep up the power at the start of the bike, but slowly I got into it, and at the end I got there.”
Iden managed to make contact with a strong chase group on the bike behind the lead trio containing Richard Varga of Slovakia, who had the fastest swim, Miki Taagholt of Denmark, and Pieter Heemeryck of Belgium.
Iden was chasing with Thor Bendix Madsen of Denmark, Thomas Steger of Austria, and Kyle Smith of New Zealand. He ended up finishing the 90km bike about a minute and a half behind Heemeryck, who led out of T2.
Known for his devastating run, Iden looked comfortable and moved into the lead on the second lap of the 21km run, which wound through the x-bionic sphere complex on different types of surfaces. He went on to win with a time of 3:43:44, about a minute and a half ahead of Varga in second. Steger completed the podium in third.
“To take the win here is amazing,” Iden said. “It’s really tough to run on the grass here but I think I was suffering less than others. It’s so demanding, but I think I managed OK.”