Racing in Australia: It’s something Els Visser loves anyway, and next weekend she can race again during the first edition of the Canberra Challenge. Among a strong group of participants, the best Dutch athlete is immediately one of the favourites.
A big battle is expected for both women and men, with Fenella Langridge and Daniel Beckgaard being the biggest favorites. Langridge has had a fantastic season, this season finishing 7th in the Championship, 4th in the Roth Challenge and taking a thrilling win in the London Challenge. Britain’s top athlete wants to add another victory to 2023 and will therefore set about challenging Canberra with confidence. Langridge knows all eyes are on her, but she knows better than anyone how to handle the pressure and probably performs a little better.
On paper, Langridge’s biggest competition is Radka Kalfeldt. The Czech national has lived in Australia for years and also holds that citizenship, so he’s certainly enjoying his home country’s fans. Most importantly, Calfeldt had a more than excellent season, finishing second in no less than five major competitions. However, there is still hope for victory in 2023, so Kalfeldt will want to change that in Canberra.
In addition, many eyes are focused on Els Visser. The Dutch athlete of the year also had a fantastic season, culminating in winning the European long-distance title at the Almere-Amsterdam Challenge. The pressure was great in front of the home team’s fans, but Visser dealt with it excellently and achieved the victory in an amazing way. At the Canberra Challenge, she will do everything in her power to take her place on the top step of the podium once again. Visser (fourth) and Langridge (eighth) also rank highly in the Challenge Family World Bonus rankings, all the more reason for the top ranking in Canberra. Other women to look at include Chloe Hartnett, Kate Gillespie-Jones and Cassie Heaslip. All Australians.
Baekkegard is the favorite in the men’s race
Among the men, the biggest favorite is Daniel Beckgaard: the Dane is 15th in the Challenge Family World Bonus rankings and could move up several places – and therefore prize money – with a win. With several impressive performances under his belt, including a third place at Clash Miami and a fourth place at Challenge Roth this year, Baekkegard is still waiting for his first win in 2023. So the pressure will be high at Challenge Canberra, but he will do it just as well. She’s proven multiple times that she can handle this well.
The biggest competition is expected to be from four Australians: Curt McDonald, Caleb Noble, Benjamin Hill and Jarrod Osborne. These guys might also pay extra attention to each other, because in your country it’s cool to be the first Australian to cross the finish line. Of course, the main focus remains winning the Canberra Challenge, because the Australians would then win the double outright.
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