She receives her DATEV Challenge Roth powered by hep winner’s medal from very special hands
ROTH. Daniela Ryf and Anne Haug were in agreement before DATEV Challenge Roth powered by hep: whoever wins the triathlon classic this time has to set a new world best time and beat Chrissie Wellington's now 12-year-old standard. Both Hawaii winners had already won Roth twice: the 36-year-old Swiss athlete in 2016 and 2017, the 40-year-old local heroine from Bayreuth in 2021 and 2022. The only question was, who was it going to be? In the end, following a solo effort on the bike course, it was Daniela Ryf who crossed the finish line in 8:08:21 hours, almost 13 minutes ahead of Anne Haug.
"It was a very special day for me," said the five-time Ironman World Champion after the race. "The field was super strong. The 8:08 hours felt like two hours. It was tough, but I had the best feet in the swim." Twice before, she said, she had tried to break Chrissie Wellington's world best time. "I thought to myself, 'If I don't do this today, I never will.' But then I felt like I was flying over the course." On the bike course it seemed Daniela Ryf actually had wings as she beat her own bike record on the two-lap circuit through the central Franconian district of Roth.
Although the world best time already seemed within reach during the bike, Ryf did not focus on that, but on beating the competition. "That helped me to rise above myself." In her last race in Ibiza, she had been well prepared and had a poor race, she said. "So I wasn't sure if I could run that home today. It worked out though." She was also not certain because after a good start to the season just under two months ago, a virus knocked her off her stride. "The last two weeks it went well again, so I was already confident." On the bike, she had built up such a big lead that it was uncatchable for her competitors. At the finish line, the now three-time Roth winner was overjoyed, "It was a perfect day. That was my best performance ever."
Haug wants to race again in 2024
Last year's winner, Anne Haug, was quite satisfied with second place: "I knocked everything out of my body that you can knock. Daniela was from another planet. That's why second place feels like a victory." During the swim and the bike, the Bayreuth local had to dig deep, she said. "You have your own performance in your hands. I gave everything I could give. That's why I'm satisfied - and also happy because of the atmosphere. You couldn’t even see Solarer Berg, for example. With all the spectators, at some point you just get spat out at the top!" This year will definitely not be her last start in Roth: "I'm the class granny now," the 40-year-old joked. "But I don't see any reason yet why I should stop."
In this world-class field, it was an enormous achievement for Laura Philipp to finish third on the podium. "It was an incredibly tough day for me," the 36-year-old summed up. "Personally, I didn't have the best day. I was on my own a lot." During the swim in the Main-Danube Canal she lost connection to the lead group, also on the bike course she had to fight a lot alone. "But with third place, I still left one of the three Hawaii winners behind me." In fact, 2022 winner Chelsea Sodaro from the USA, dropped out on the run course.
"It's insane what was going on from the swim start to the finish," says Laura Philipp. "I have never experienced such enthusiasm." That's also why she managed to do her thing and not give up, she says. Of winner Daniela Ryf she only talks appreciatively: "Daniela has ushered in a new era. That was a mega performance. Now we all have to go home and see what we can do better."
The previous world best time holder, Chrissie Wellington, was on the Roth finish line, this time as a visitor, and did not miss the opportunity to present Daniela Ryf with her winner's medal. Wellington had already predicted: "The world best time will fall. I am sure of that. I have held it long enough. I'm so happy that I'll be there when it's broken today."