„Aiming for the podium, dreaming of victory“

„Aiming for the podium, dreaming of victory“
Impressions from DATEV Challenge Roth's kick-off press conference

ROTH – All the latest news about next Sunday's DATEV Challenge Roth, interesting statements from the athletes and last but not least the announcement of a, now more palpable, world record. All this was part of the kick-off press conference, held at the “Kulturfabrik” in Roth.

An exciting race in the men's field, the chase for a new world record in the women's field and all that on a race course that includes new sections. When DATEV Challenge Roth calls, one can be sure, that a very special triathlon festival awaits. At the press conference, the stars of the triathlon scene gave a careful preview of the race day.

In the men's field there are about half a dozen candidates for victory – unlike last year, when Jan Frodeno dominated the race on his way to a new world record.

Nils Frommhold and Timo Bracht are among the top contenders. Both have shown in the past, that they are able to win the race in Roth. Frommhold has had a good past 6 months and is equally strong in all three disciplines. And since his victory in South Africa he knows, that he “doesn't have to be the first off the bike to win the race.” Which means, the athlete residing in Freiburg, who was already able to finish first, second and third in Roth, has improved his skills as a runner even more. This gives him confidence for the race: “My aim is to reach the podium, but my dream is the victory.” At least one other starter among the roughly 3400 single starters and 1950 relay team starters from 71 nations would be happy to see him succeed: His brother Sven, a police officer, who will also be in Sunday's race.

However, Nils Frommhold is not the only one dreaming of victory. There is Timo Bracht for example: The 41-year-old wants to finish his last long distance race as a professional athlete with a bang. Unlike Frommhold, he doesn't have my results from this past year to show. But that doesn't bother him: Since November, he has been focused and working towards his personal final. He is  planing for a smart and tactical race, which has served him well many times during his 20 years as a professional athlete."I'm ready and can attack when it counts.” This moment might very likely come on the marathon course. Bracht knows: “With the hot temperatures that are expected for Suday, it's gonna be a brutal battle.” 

Press conference at DATEV Challenge Roth 2017 with Heather Wurtele, Yvonne van Vlerken, Laura Siddall, host Andreas Groß, Daniela Ryf, Nils Frommhold and Timo Bracht (f.l.t.r.).


TEAMCHALLENGE was able to win Nils Frommhold and Timo Bracht for this showdown, but it is quite possible that other contenders might have a say in the final result as well. Fast-as-lightening-Kiwi Terenzo Bozzone has given out 7:50 hours as his aim at the press conference and Briton Joe Skipper, last year's second placed, wouldn't mind getting showered by bubbly on the podium once again.

In the women's field, the roles are defined a lot clearer: It would be a huge surprise if the Swiss Daniela Ryf would not be able to repeat her triumph from last year. After all, the 30-year-old is the most dominant female athlete on the long distance (3,8km of swimming, 180km of biking, 42,195km of running) right now. Last year, at her premiere in Roth, she was almost able to reach Chrissie Wellington's 6-year-old incredible world record. If Ryf is able to be 4 minutes faster than in 2016, she would pass Wellington's world record of 8:18:13 hours.

But for this to happen, everything has to go perfectly. Most of all: Ryfs body has to perform. And that's exactly what he did not do for three months this year and that's why she doesn't feel as good yet as she felt when obliterating Wellington's record for Hawaii in the island's 2016 race. “But my recovery has taken leaps forwards in the last few weeks” Ryf told the journalists at the “Kulturfabrik” in Roth. That's why on Thursday, she didn't want to talk about setting world records, but about “finding out, how fast I can be and how well I can get my body to perform.”

How fast one can be depends also on external factors: Ryf is familiar with the external factors of the channel and with the ones on the bike course. According to the forecast, Sunday will be quite hot, but there will hardly be any wind to bother the athletes.

However, DATEV Challenge Roth's marathon course is going to be different this time. The course won't lead along the narrow but level pathways next to the “Main-Donau-Channel”, but for the first time to the town of Büchenbach. This 20km long round-track is tricky: While most of the course is tarmaced (which is good for speed), the athletes also have to overcome a much bigger difference in altitude. And instead of one time, they now have to pass the cobblestone streets in the center of Roth four times.

But at least, there is going to be once again, lots of support: 17 fan-hotspots between the “Kanallände” (most eastern point) and the pond in Büchenbach (most northwestern point) have been announced. This means, there is going to be one big party alone the course.

Race director Felix Walchshöfer explained the change of course with security concerns: In the last years, there were several collisions between runners and fans on bikes on the narrow pathways next to the channel. 

This also means a more compact race for the spectators at Bavaria's biggest 1-day-sports- event (some 260.000 fans are expected). And who is still confused can just go online: all the top athletes are wearing trackers that show their position in real-time. This was possible thanks to the support of the event's main sponsor, DATEV. The software company from Nuremberg provides the tracking system for their own starters (25 relay teams and 10 single starters) and was also, on a request from the race organizers, willing to equip the top athletes with this technology.  After all, it was announced at the press conference, this is a “partnership and not just sponsoring” for this long-distance race.

Press confernce at DATEV Challenge Roth 2017 with the top contenders Daniela Ryf and Nils Frommhold.

Photos: TEAMCHALLENGE, Christoph Raithel


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