DATEV Challenge Roth: "All set up"

Arm in arm at the press conference, but rivals on Sunday: From left: Daniela Sämmler, Kaisa Sali, Andi Dreitz, Lucy Charles, Sebastian Kienle, Joe Skipper, Laura Siddall, James Cunnama and Yvonne van Vlerken.
Picture: Christoph Raithel / TEAMCHALLENGE GmbH 

An exclusive field of starters and great conditions await the spectators at Sunday's race

At least from a German point of view, the party in Russia is over. So now it is time to get ready for the next party! 5500 triathletes from 76 nations will compete in the DATEV Challenge Roth, among them, for the first time, three long-distance athletes from Fiji. But the race is not only about the big numbers, but also about the class, that is represented in them. Sebastian Kienle, winner in Hawaii in 2014 and two-time middle-distance world champion is carrying the burden of being considered the top contender. 

But is is really a burden to the 33-year old from Swabia? „I'd be downplaying it if I expected anything but a win here“ said a self confident Kienle at the kick-off press conference at the event location „Kulturfabrik“ in Roth. 

He has already won three of the, according to him, most important triathlon races in the world:

Hawaii, the 70.3-world championship and Frankfurt. In Roth he was only able to reach two second places in 2010 and 2011. Before his third attempt in Roth, he had looked at some old photos from that time: “The memories had started to fade a bit.” If he would be the first to cross the finish line in the “Rother Stadtgarten”on Sunday, after 3,8 km of swimming in the Main-Donau-Canal, 180 km of riding the bike in the southern part of the district of Roth and running a marathon on a, once again modified, course, he would have completed his personal “Grand Slam of Triathlon”.

However, his competition came well prepared: James Cunnama of South Africa has had kind of a strange preparation, but, as the pros know: “Roth is the race that counts.”, as Kienle put it. So he is keeping an eye on the winner of the 2012 race in Roth.

Just as he is keeping an eye on Joe Skipper from England, who has the exact same record in Roth as Kienle: two second places in two consecutive years: Kienle 2010 and 2011, Skipper 2016 and 2017.

And then there is another athlete, one who is not that well known yet, but one who, in 2017, had his first long-distance triathlon ever in Italy. And won it...

We are talking about Andi Dreitz, who is known to local triathlon fans as the athlete who routinely dominates the Rothsee-Triathlon. He might become the first Franconian in ages to win a place at the podium at DATEV Challenge Roth.

In the women's field there is a battle of the generations looming: 24-year old Briton Lucy Charles, second placed in Hawaii in 2017, is the favorite in Sunday's race. However, the lightening-fast swimmer is being chased by Yvonne van Vlerken (39), crowd favorite Laura Siddall (37) and the Finn Kaisa Sali (36). And then there is Daniela Sämmler, who has not been able to convince during her two starts in Roth, but who now feels “fitter than ever”. That's why she is aiming for at least a personal record time and, if everything goes well, a new German long-distance record. The old one has been at 8:47:26 hours for the last 10 years.

But DATEV Challenge Roth is more than a race for pros and the chasing of new record times. “If on Sunday, 5500 athletes can go home and say they've had the best triathlon experience of their lives, then I'm happy.” says race director Felix Walchshöfer at the press conference.

7000 volunteers stand ready to guarantee just that and also rest of the conditions is impressive: The price money, 200.000 Dollar, is the highest ever. Now that the town hall has been torn down, the finish area looks much more spacious. The running course has been optimized again: It is back to running along the canal  (up to the watergate in Leerstetten) and also to Büchenbach (Memmert turning point).

And it looks like the weather is going to be perfect, too: The forecast for Sunday expects 26 degrees, sunny skies, a zero percent chance of rain, and almost no wind.

Felix Walchshöfer: "It's all set up"

Verbal sparing at the press confernce: from left: Lucy Charles, Sebastian Kienle, Joe Skipper and Laura Siddall 
Picture: Christoph Raithel / TEAMCHALLENGE GmbH


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