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Australians Triumph In The First Giants Of Rio


Australians Triumph In The First Ever Giants Of Rio

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caption: Felix Baumgartner’s celebrates the anniversary of his famous jump from the Statue of Christ five years ago at the start of the inaugural Red Bull Giants of Rio
- Photo credit: Christian Pondella

The inaugural Red Bull Giants of Rio that pitted 80 teams of the world’s top swimmers, mountain bikers, speed hang gliders and sand runners was a triumph for the Australians who led the whole way and fended off a strong challenge by Brazil in the final 100 meters to finish in 4 hours 26:41.

Aussie Ironman champion Ky Hurst put the team in front through the rough swell of the beach break swim on Copacabana beach saying he had “the easy part” because his teammates had to contend with the 30º C+ temperatures.

Hurst finished 1.5 minutes ahead of American Chad Carvin to set Aussie teammate Sid Taberlay up for the mountain bike leg, a torturous combination of urban and jungle climbs and downhill that circled the famous Rio landmark, the Jesus statue on Corcovado Hill. Taberlay’s superb ride gave his team almost 3 minutes advantage at the handover over to the Hang Gliders, who were delayed 30 minutes because of changing wind conditions.

Jon Durand, ranked 4th in the world for hang gliding, sailed down to Ipanema Beach to put Australia 5:22.00 ahead of Germany’s Guido Gehrman, then triathlete champion Courtney Atkinson, managed to hold off the challenges to finish just meters behind Brazil’s Raimundo Nonato, the strongest runner over the torrid 20km sand and asphalt final run.

The New Zealand team of Jonathan Wyatt (runner), Chuck Berry (hang glider), Chris Burr (mountain bike) and Nathan Saunders (swimming) finished in 38th place, out of a field of 80 teams.

The race, held under perfect blue Brazilian skies started with a heart-stopping free-fall, 1,000m plunge by B.A.S.E. jumper extraordinaire Austrian Felix Baumgartner who pulled his parachute just 50 m from the beach to launch this amazing team event.

The Australian team will take home US$12,000 of the total US$50,000 prize pool from the event.

For more information and results check out

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