© Sebastian Kuhn
© Sebastian Kuhn
3. Sep 2014

Challenge Walchsee-Kaiserwinkl

Michael Raelert runs onto the podium

Bronze medal at Challenge Walchsee-Kaiserwinkl – Good start after a long race-break – Only 44 seconds to the title in a tough final

Walchsee. After a long break from competition Michael Raelert has successfully returned to the racing scene. The Rostockian finished third at Challenge Walchsee-Kaiserwinkl in a very competitive race. Under rainy and extremely challenging conditions, the 34-year old crossed the line in 3:52:18. He finished close to the title and was beaten by just a few seconds. In 3:51:34 Italian Giulio Molinari celebrated the victory ahead of British Ritchie Nicholls (3:51:55) and Michael Raelert. "It was an incredibly tough race", Michael Raelert said, "but despite all that hard work it was great to be back into racing again."


Already during the 1.9 km swim in Lake Walchsee, Michael Raelert was leading his way. Although German Lukasz Wojt dominated the swim in 21:16 minutes, it was clear that he would not be among the best pro athletes at the end. The swim specialist is a former Olympian and an age-group world-record holder, but he was not regarded to play a decisive role in the race. Behind Wojt, Michael Raelert was setting the pace right from the beginning - he came out of the water in second position after 22:14 minutes. At this point some decisive gaps had already been made:  Giulio Molinari followed in third place (22:52) in front of Italian Alberto Alessandroni. 2013’s Ironman 70.3 European champion Ritchie Nicholls was in sixth position (23:57) and like others already something behind.


On the bike, Michael Raelert took over the lead early and then dominated the race for the first third of the 90 km long course until Giulio Molinari passed him. "His pace was extreme, especially regarding the cold and wet conditions," said Michael Raelert, who was riding on his own in the cold and rainy weather behind the Italian for the race of the challenging bike course. The Rostockian finally came off the bike with a good split of 2:10:34, he was 3:31 minutes behind the lead and still in front of strong Austrian biker Thomas Steger (+5:16 minutes). On the run, Michael Raelert tried to close the gap to the lead early. "I did everything, but the last punch was missing," Michael Raelert said. After a quarter of the half marathon course he was 2:59 minutes down on Giulio Molinari, but the Italian kept a steady pace. "I have only six weeks of a race-specific running in my box," explained Michael Raelert later, "so, the normal race pace is simply not available yet."


While Michael Raelert was able to gain more time on Giulio Molinari, he could also feel that Ritchie Nicholls was coming closer from behind on the second half of the run. Everything came down to a thrilling finish on the last two kilometers. Thanks to the best run split (1:10:34) Ritchie Nicholls flew into silver on the last meters. Michael Raelert ran a 1:16:38 and ranked third – only 44 seconds behind the title and 23 seconds behind second place. "Overall, I must be really happy," Michael Raelert said, "of course I'm missing some practice in racing and some freshness. Especially in my run I can see a lot of space for improvement. But it was a good start, it was great to hear a gun going off again."






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