Skjellum and Tungesvik score double winter duathlon glory for Norway

by on 23 Feb, 2024 01:09 • Español
Skjellum and Tungesvik score double winter duathlon glory for Norway

Overnight snow and glorious sunshine made for a beautiful first day of competition at the 2024 World Triathlon Winter Championships Pragelato-Sestriere, with the duathlon titles the first on the line for the weekend in Italy.

A two-lap 3km run, two-lap 5km ski course was repeated twice, and after narrowly missing out on gold on home soil last year, it was the Norwegian athletes who took revenge on their Italian rivals as first Ine Skjellum and then Hans Christian Tungesvik got to grips with the icy conditions to take the titles.

Skjellum delivers run-ski masterclass

It was Slovakia’s Margareta Bicanova and returning Czech talent Natalie Brlicova setting the early pace, but it was Brlicova with a brilliant transition to head out onto the first ski in front.

From there, the Norwegians began to show their cross-country prowess, defending U23 champion Julie Meinicke and Ine Skjellum hauling their way back into the reckoning on the fast, icy downhill.

It was on lap one of the second run that Skjellum’s patience paid off, passing Brlicova and from there she never looked back. Another fluid Czech transition kept her in the hunt, but even a ten-second equipment penalty for the Norwegian just before the finish chute couldn’t derail her title charge.

“I think the opening pace was too hard,” said Skjellum. “I know it’s always hard to pace the start and then the ski can be tiring, so I wanted to hold the pace the whole way. The uphill was really tough and it was pretty icy today so you use a lot of energy just to stay up, but we Norwegians are used to that and we have practiced that loop a lot this week. The course suited me well and it’s great to get gold at the third effort.”

Tungesvik takes title after Italian battle

The early momentum looked all Italian as the men took to the course, Franco Pesavento hoping to dilute his Norwegian rival’s ski power early on and after putting 15 seconds into Tungesvik over the first run lap, the lead was doubled by the time he and Endre Wigaard hit the skis.

Wigaard’s compatriot then set about hauling in the leaders, his technique on the flat seeing Pesavento’s lead dissolve and as Wigaard fell back and Romania’s Viorel Palici hit third, it began to look like a two-way battle for the title.

Tungesvik was able to stick with Italy’s 2022 Winter Tri champion to the conclusion of the second run and that made the result almost a forgone conclusion. First the Norwegian sat on Pesavento’s shoulder up the draining ski climb, then he managed to pull clear over the second half, soaring clear to the tape to win by nearly 30 seconds, Palici with the bronze and Italy’s Guglielmo Giuliano crossing in fourth and earning the U23 world title in the process.

“I thought if I was within half a minute off the first run I was okay, but I also felt I could make up ground on the ski,” said Tungesvik. “The long uphill section really took its toll, the altitude as well, and it was a really tight battle so really happy to bring it home. On the flats was where I made up time today but he was really strong uphill, so I had to try and be smarter. I have two triathlon titles already, but it was fun to take the duathlon today.”

For the full results, click here.

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Related Event: 2024 World Triathlon Winter Duathlon Championships Pragelato - Sestriere
23 - 24 Feb, 2024 • event pageall results
Results: Elite Men
1. Hans Christian Tungesvik NOR 00:52:00
2. Franco Pesavento ITA 00:52:34
3. Viorel Palici ROU 00:54:43
4. Guglielmo Giuliano ITA 00:55:21
5. Sebastian Neef GER 00:55:27
Results: Elite Women
1. Ine Skjellum NOR 01:03:40
2. Natalie Brlicova CZE 01:04:30
3. Julie Meinicke NOR 01:04:33
4. Stina Meinicke NOR 01:05:39
5. Maddalena Soma' ITA 01:07:37
Results: U23 Men
1. Guglielmo Giuliano ITA 00:55:21
2. Sebastian Davare ITA 01:01:32
Results: U23 Women
1. Julie Meinicke NOR 01:04:33
2. Maddalena Soma' ITA 01:07:37
3. Margareta Bicanova SVK 01:08:04
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