Another podium place for Fabio Spiteri
Deep blue sea, white fine sandy beaches in the Mediterranean island of Sardegna were the scene for Fabio Spiteri’s 16th middle distance triathlon.
Challenge Sardegna, with its challenging and technical course lived up to its name when even prior to the race the whole experience was proving to be challenging. However, the perfect weather conditions – sunny with no wind, made up for the flight delays causing the Maltese group to endure a very uncomfortable 14hour sea crossing without luggage and bikes, arriving a few hours just before the race!
Spiteri, photo, who is no newcomer to such races, nevertheless felt confident. Having fully recovered from a nagging injury, Spiteri was in the best shape he could possibly be for the Italian race.
The men’s group, nearly 1,000 strong, saw a strong field and saw Spiteri get into the second pack in the 1.9k swim to make his way in the front on the bike segment. The bike course was challenging with over 1,400m of elevation.
Spiteri made a determined attack on the hills to gain the lead as much as possible. His running background came to good use in the undulating half marathon segment to clock a time of 1 hour 29 minutes.
A sprint finish in the last 100m enabled Spiteri to ward off another athlete who was in the same age group enabling Spiteri to claim third place in his age group (40-44). Spiteri completed the 113km distance in 04:43:43.20.
Spiteri’s performance saw him qualify for the 2017 Challenge World Championships, his second World Championship qualification in a short period of time.
“I was elated to see my result – 28th overall from a pool of around 900 athletes (pros and amateurs) and 3rd place in my age category. Although delighted to have qualified for the 2017 World Championships, I had to decline the slot since the would be too close to my Double Ironman next year” remarked Spiteri.
Challenge Sardegna was Spiteri’s last race for the 2016 season.
A short break will be followed by the start of a strict training regime in preparation for Ironman Australia in May, Double Ironman in Germany June and finally the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Chattanooga, Tennessee in September.
“2016 has tested my limits – initially with the injury that seemingly would not be shaken off and of course with the effort that one puts into such races. I am very pleased to have ended on a very positive note which fills me with optimism for 2017. I am grateful for all the support I get, in particular Garmin Malta (Medcomms Ltd),Go&Fun Mochika, Wheel Wizard, Kinetika, Festina and Special Eyes,” concluded Spiteri.
Josef Bonavia was also a participant in Challenge Sardegna. He completed the race in 05:10:04.10 to finish 12th in his category. Josianne Bonavia completed her first ever sprint distance (750m swim, 20km cycle, 5km run) in 1 hour 36 minutes.