King of Winter Triathlon
Hans Christian Tungesvik normally competes in long-distance triathlons, but in (yet) a year, where almost all triathlon races have been canceled, he tried something different to keep motivated on his road to Kona: the 2021 World Triathlon Winter Championships in Naturlandia, the stunning natural park in Andorra.
Despite Hans Christian have been an elite cross-country skier, he surprised both himself and the rest of the field by taking home the gold medal in Andorra, in front of the pre-favorite: eight-time world champion, Pavel Andreev, who had to settle for second place (+0:59). while Italy’s Giuseppe Lamastra completed the podium (+1:03).
Skills Counted in the end
Despite Hans Christian being a rookie in winter triathlon, his cross-country background benefitted him at the end of the race, on the cross-country ski leg, where he changed the race upside down with his skills on the skis – surprisingly he moved from out of the top five and took the lead and won by a minute over the race favorite Andreev.
“I did not expect this. It is my first race of this level, so I knew I was in great shape but had no idea of how the others were and how I will be compared with them. I love skiing, and this circuit was amazing. I would love to race more winter tri races for sure”, said Tungesvik after the race.
And not only did Tungesvik win the individual competition on Saturday, he also won the mix relay on Sunday with Elisabeth Sveum.
Enroute Kona – Enroute Winter Olympics?
Winning the World Championship shows, that despite COVID-19 Tungesvik is developing in the right direction, towards the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Winning the Norsemann Xtreme Triathlon in 2019, breaking the Norwegian 200km ITT record and now he can call himself world champion in winter triathlon. A good indicator for the 2021 season.
“I am really proud of the specific effort I have put down together with my coach over the past 3 months to get ready for this championship. The course suited me perfectly, and the feeling of being able to enjoy the last lap of the skiing leg, taking it all in, was just incredible.”
Now Tungesvik’s curiosity is aroused to get to the Olympics if the Winter Triathlon comes on the program in 2026.
“I hope to be able to contribute to lift the sport further, and work towards the common goal of making it an Olympic sport already in 2026!"
Let’s cross our fingers, that the athletes can compete again soon. Tungesvik is ready!
Custom build Dark Matter
In Andorra, the bike leg was held on groomed skiing tracks, where grip is essential. The bike is required to have a flat handlebar, and it should have room for wider MTB tyres to be able to float on top of the snow.
Tungesvik got his Dark Matter customized with a flat handlebar and a Lauf Cycling gravel fork, some fat tires, and a GRX gravel groupset from Shimano. A bike that turned out to be quite suitable and fast for the job.
“My customized Dark Matter really showed how brilliant it was for the conditions we had in Andorra. On the firm and fast snow conditions on a hilly bike course, I got full use of the lightweight gravel geometry compared to the other MTB bikes in the field. The Lauf Fork proved to be great in this kind of terrain and surface. Even with a crash due to a personal error, losing about 20 seconds, I was still able to stay within reach of the front group, consisting of high-class mountain bikers.”
- Run: 6,5 km
- Mountain Bike: 11.3 km
- Cross-country Ski: 10 km
- Hans Christian Tungesvik (NOR) - 01:16:47
- Pavel Andreev (RTF) - 01:17:46
- Giuseppe Lamastra (ITA) - 01:17:50
- Franco Pesavento (ITA) - 01:18:07
- Marek Rauchfuss (CZE) - 01:18:45
Pictures: Olalla Cernuda, Sylvain Cavatz and Hans Christian Tungesvik