Pablo Dapena Gonzalez takes 2nd place in Challenge Daytona after an epic battle
Dec 16, 2019
Pablo Dapena Gonzalez finished 2nd in his final race of the season in Challenge Daytona. Pablo challenged for the win until the final meters in an epic battle with Sanders to come home in a time of 2:23:32. Lionel Sanders (USA; 2:23:02) won the race with Jason West (USA; 2:27:32) snatching the final podium spot.
For a final time this season, Pablo Dapena toed the line in Challenge Daytona. In a nice scenery with the sun setting in Daytona, Pablo jumped in the water to give his all for the final time. After the Australian exit, he re-entered the water in 3rd place, as part of the leading group together with 3 other athletes. In the second lap, that group enlarged to a total of 5 athletes nearing T1.
The bike course consisted of 15 laps around the Daytona International Speedway track for a total of 60k. Early on, Dapena kept riding strong in front of the race as co-leader. The danger came from behind with Starykowicz closing down the gap towards the front. Meanwhile Pablo was able to shake off Maloy, just before Starykowicz made the connection. The BMC-Vifit athlete decided to stick to his own pace on the bike and not to follow the hard charging American. In the final part of the bike, Pablo got accompanied by Sanders as they entered T2 together. From that point onwards, it was obvious it would go down to the wire on the run. Another 2 laps around the race track, marked the run course of 13k. Dapena and Sanders charged hard towards the front from the very first meters as they took over the lead of the race within the first 5k of the run. Neither showed signs of weakening as they kept running shoulder-to-shoulder. It was only until the very last kilometer that the difference was made. Sanders was able to push up the pace even more and broke away towards the finish line. After a fantastic battle and fierce challenge for the win, Pablo Dapena came home in 2nd place. A fantastic end to an incredible first season for Pablo Gonzalez as BMC-Vifit athlete.
Afterwards Pablo Dapena looked back at his performance: "Mission accomplished. I had a fantastic battle for the win today. A shame I had to settle for second in the final meters, but I am proud of my performance today. With my second place I also secure 3rd in the Challenge World Bonus ranking. I felt very strong today. It is not every day you can say you held the same bike pace as Starykowicz for a lap or you can fight for the victory until the final meters with Lionel Sanders. It is a race I will never forget. I am very pleased the way I could end the season here in Daytona. It has been a fantastic year racing for BMC-Vifit and I look forward to the 2020 season".