Michael Raelert won the bronze medal at “The Championship” this Saturday in Samorin. "I'm not 100 percent satisfied," said the Rostockian after a fast world-class race at the Challenge Family event in Slovakia. Lionel Sanders from Canada won the middle-distance championship in 3:40:03 hours in front of Germany’s Sebastian Kienle (3:41:46 hours) and Michael Raelert who finished in 3:45:34 hours. "In general, my performance was okay today,” said Michael Raelert, “but during the run, the gap to the front was a bit too big. I had expected some more from my side today," said Michael Raelert after winning the bronze medal.
The swim was to the expected fast start into the competition in Samorin. Slovakia’s Richard Varga immediately put himself into the lead and hit an extremely high pace. Even the British top favorite and two-time Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee could not stay the enormous punch of the leader. Michael Raelert oriented himself next to Alistair Brownlee, but eventually he could not exit the water together with the British. Richard Vargas managed the 1.9-kilometer swim course in 21:31 minutes, Alistair Brownlee followed in runner-up position after 22:16 minutes while Michael Raelert finished the first discipline in 22:48 minutes. He was leading a first major chase group.
"On the bike, I wanted to get to the front," said Michael Raelert after the competition. He had a fast transition and hit the 90-kilometer bike course only a few meters behind Alistair Brownlee. While top swimmer Richard Vargas was caught quickly, Michael Raelert took the lead together with Alistair Brownlee and Andreas Dreitz from Germany. After about half of the way on the bike, Alistair Brownlee then made a slight move. At kilometer 70, the reigning Olympic champion was about 40 seconds ahead of Lionel Sanders and Sebastian Kienle who were coming strong from behind after a weaker swim. "Unfortunately, Alistair, Lionel and Sebastian put some time on me during the final 20 kilometers of the bike ride," explained Michael Raelert, "I could not stay their pace until T2."
Alistair Brownlee reached the second transition after 2:25:04 hours of race time ahead of Lionel Sanders and Sebastian Kienle, his advantage was a little more than half a minute. With a race time of 2:27:33 hours, Michael Raelert was about 1:45 minutes behind these two in fourth place in T2. Alistair Brownlee, who had to drop out of the race later, then got passed by Lionel Sanders and Sebastian Kienle at an unexpected early stage of the half marathon. "I tried to close the gap,” said Michael Raelert. “However, I did not have the right legs to attack today.” While Lionel Sanders took the lead and eventually dropped Sebastian Kienle, Michael Raelert had a solid running performance to take the bronze medal in front of Andreas Dreitz and world-class Olympic-distance specialist Richard Murray from South Africa.